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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

But it’s a 365 day-a-year problem

Following on the heels of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues,” CSU Monterey Bay students continue their campaign to end sexual violence against women with two performances of “The MENding Monologues.”

Both a bookend and male response to Ensler’s play – which has been produced at CSUMB for 11 years – Derek Dujardin’s production borrows the monologue format, featuring stories of how men are affected when violence is waged against women.

Performances will be held at 8 p.m. on April 25 and 26 in the Black Box Cabaret. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 general.

“Men are stepping up to take part in ending sexual assault, an issue that many are beginning to recognize affects them as well,” said MENDing student producer Margo Flitcraft.

One of those men is student Mark Weddle, co-director of the play along with Destiny Mattson.

“I wanted to direct The MENding Monologues so I can have a more active role in ending sexual assault and violence against women,” Weddle said.

He thought it would be difficult to get men to audition, but that proved not to be the case. “We had 32 people audition and selected a cast of 24, 19 men and five women. The cast of this year’s Vagina Monologues proved immensely helpful in talking with the men in their lives and encouraging them to come out.”

The MENding Monologues is just one of a series of programs and events that have been organized at CSUMB to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month, raise public awareness of the issue and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent it.

How pervasive is the problem?

The National Institute of Justice found that about 1 in 5 women and 6 percent of men are victims of sexual assault while in college. According to data collected under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Crime Statistics Act in 2009, college campuses reported nearly 3,300 forcible sex offenses. (Source: United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights))

At CSUMB, Health & Wellness Services took the lead in convening a committee of student clubs and organizations and campus departments to organize activities throughout the month. Some events are sponsored by student groups, others by Health and Wellness Services.

The first event was held April 2 on the Main Quad. The “Time to Stop Rape” flag display was intended to get the campus community talking about the issue.

Other events include:

April 12, noon to 2 p.m., in front of the library: “It’s Time to Talk,” which will address sexual assault stereotypes and prevention

April 17, 7 p.m., Cross Cultural Center: showing of “Boyhood Shadows,” a film about male victims of child sexual abuse, and panel discussion

April 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Main Quad: Denim Day, when women are urged to wear jeans with a purpose, as a sign of protest against the myths surrounding sexual assault

April 25 and 26, 8 p.m., Black Box Cabaret: "The MENding Monologues"

April 27, 1 to 6 p.m., Student Center and Main Quad: “SlutWalk,” a worldwide protest prompted by remarks from a Toronto police officer that women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized

“Health and Wellness Services has been a leader in sexual assault prevention efforts at CSUMB because we realize that we must do more than increase students’ knowledge about the issue,” said Gary Rodriguez, health promotion and prevention specialist.

“We – students, staff and faculty – must work together to empower our campus community to take action to stop sexual assault,” Rodriguez said.