Not in my Nest – UIW Observes Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April 29, 2022

Alexandria Salas, UIW director of Title IX“I hope that students can learn how to identify sexual misconduct, stand up for what’s right, learn to protect the health and safety of their fellow Cardinals, and speak out against sexual violence.”

These are what Alexandria Salas, UIW director of Title IX, says are the goals of the University’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign, called #NotInMyNest, each year. The annual awareness month is observed every April on college campuses across the nation, and UIW is no exception. But after the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to close their physical doors and go virtual, the Title IX office and its campus partners were limited to sharing their #NotInMyNest campaign messaging on social media.

“I took over as the Director of Title IX in September 2019, right before the pandemic,” explained Salas. “My first year trying to do events for SAAM were purely done via social media and our office didn’t have much of a following at the time.”

In its first year back on campus, Salas says the response to the office’s in-person awareness campaign has been overwhelmingly positive. To kick things off at the beginning of the month, students were invited to sign a banner symbolizing their pledge to take an active role in preventing sexual violence on campus. In the following weeks, the Office of Title IX offered events like “Coffee and Consent” and “Dos and Donuts of Healthy Relationships.” Both events offered an unintimidating forum for students to discuss consent, recognize red flags in relationships and identify healthy relationship behaviors. Title IX also worked with campus partners from UIW Behavioral Health and Women’s and Gender Studies to share its #NotInMyNest message at campus events like Let’s Taco-bout Mental Health and Denim Day, a national observance that encourages support of survivors by wearing denim to combat victim-blaming mentalities.

“The response from students has been phenomenal,” said Salas. “This year, we’ve had so many students come to us, thanking us for hosting these events on campus and bringing awareness. We have students saying they knew what consent was, but had never had that conversation with their parents, and that just getting a handout explaining it to them was helpful.”

It wasn’t only students who appreciated the informative campaign. Salas shared that even faculty and staff stopped by events and information booths.

“We had faculty and staff that came up to get information because they know how important it is and want to have it on hand in their office in case a student needs it,” she explained. “It’s amazing to see what this campus can do when everyone gets behind an important cause like ending sexual violence.”

Students and UIW community members can find more information by visiting the UIW Title IX office webpage.