RAINN Day, in a flood of unawareness


Blake McMillan, Co-Editor in Chief

“On average, there are 463,634 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States.” 

1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.” 

“1 out of every 10 rape victims are male.” 

These are some statisitics you may see around the campus of Buena Vista University. Wednesday, April 13, was Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) Day of Awareness. BVU students used their voices to make noise about the day of awareness on campus. Even though it was a week ago, some of these messages have stayed up around the Forum. 

“It’s a day to raise awareness about sexual assault on campus and everywhere else,” said criminology and psychology double major Joshua Dunsenberg. “It’s the most underreported crime that we have here in the United States. Giving people an understanding of what sexual assault is, how often it happens, that it can happen to anyone, that’s so important.” Dunsenberg explained that sexual assault is filled with stereotypes and that it isn’t as black as white as most think. “Most cases [of sexual assault] are not like a ‘stranger jumps of a bush’. This can happen to anybody, by their friends or their family,” he added. “Everybody thinks, ‘Not me, it couldn’t happen to me.’ It’s a real thing and it can happen to anybody by anyone.” 

Around campus, students put booths in Siebens Forum the week before RAINN Day. At tables, posters with statistics and other information show how common sexual assault is. On RAINN Day itself, mini cocktail umbrellas — playfully RAINN-themed, with rain’s relationship to an umbrella — were put up around tables in the Forum, library, and the Serve. Members of the Student Association of Social Workers (SASW) wore teal ribbons, symbols of awareness for sexual assault. Chalking events were planned, but due to inclement weather this week, were postponed and almost immediately washed away by the rain (nearly fitting with the cause’s name). 

Social work major Brayden Bergum, and current Co-President of BVU’s Student Association of Social Workers, said that he looks to go into advocating for these types of issues. “I’m interested in human trafficking advocacy,” he said. “So hopefully, getting a job with a nonprofit, or an agency that can combat that with certain types of media or help survivors.” These passions overlap with some of the core ideas of RAINN Day. When asked what advice he would offer to anyone struggling with sexual assault, he said, “There’s not enough being done to both help those survivors and spread awareness about what’s going on, and what’s right and what’s wrong. I think RAINN Day really emphasizes it and spreads it out there for people so they can learn more about it. Or, you know, hopefully take some time to learn more about it.” He said that resources are available at RAINN.org. Students on campus in need of additional resources can find help in BV’s community with Team Wellness in Dixon-Eilers.