Raising Awareness of Sexual Violence in College on RAINN Day

RAINN Day brings awareness to sexual violence on college campuses. Learn how you can find help or become an ally on RAINN Day and throughout the year.
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Kim-Ling Sun has 20 years of teaching experience, with 12 years teaching in community colleges. She is also a published poet, a community activist, and a writer covering topics related to the Asian American community and education. She holds an MA in...
Published on May 11, 2023
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Disclaimer: If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, please seek legal counsel. If you are experiencing a life-threatening situation, seek help or dial 911.


  • RAINN Day is a day chosen each year to raise awareness about sexual violence on campuses.
  • But raising awareness and taking action shouldn't be limited to a single day in April.
  • Raising awareness includes educating others and elevating survivor stories year-round.
  • Resources can help survivors deal with the physical, emotional, and legal issues.

Recent statistics show that 13% of college students report having experienced sexual assault or rape. It's something most people prefer not to talk about, but it is something everyone must talk about.

Survivors need to know they are not alone, and students can be part of the solution by learning how to become allies.

Speaking about sexual violence is important. It is not only a matter of comforting survivors, which is vital. But speaking out can also expose assaults, make people more aware, educate the campus community, and not allow perpetrators to get away with bad actions because many in society find the topic of sexual violence embarrassing or painful to discuss.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Each year, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, designates a day of awareness for college students known as RAINN Day. In 2023, that day was April 18.

You are encouraged to educate yourself, become an ally, and advocate to effect policy on RAINN Days — and throughout the rest of the year as well.

What Is Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence is any kind of sexual act, whether in-person or online, that is unwanted. It often involves intimidation, coercion, manipulation, and includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape.

Sexual violence can happen to anyone regardless of gender identity. Whether male, female, or nonbinary, all college students are at risk. Sexual violence also impacts the LGBTQ+ community. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people can become explicit targets due to their sexual orientation or gender identity; sexual violence can also occur within the LGBTQ+ community.

How to Raise Awareness About Sexual Violence on Campus

Sexual violence is a widespread problem in our society. Even if you do not experience sexual violence personally, its impact is felt on your college campus. The more we all participate in ending sexual violence, the more we can limit its prevalence on our campuses.

Here are seven actions you can take to make a difference and raise campus awareness:

1. Educate Yourself and Other Students

One of the greatest ways to become an ally is to educate yourself and others about the not-so-obvious signs of sexual violence. Key red flags to look out for in someone who may have experienced sexual violence are signs of depression, self-harm, failing grades, increased alcohol or drug use, avoidance of specific situations or places, or increased anxiety.

2. Create a Campaign

Start your own campaign and educate others about sexual violence. A student-voiced campaign helps survivors understand they are not alone. You can start an online hashtag campaign, sponsor an information booth at your campus' student center, and even partner with your campus radio station to get the word out.

3. Attend a Support Group

As an ally in the campaign against sexual violence, you can show support by being present. By listening to those who have survived sexual violence, you support their strength and increase their outreach. Taking the time to attend a campus support group meeting lets survivors know you care and are there to listen, and it gives you practical experience in supporting survivors.

4. Establish an Accessible Information Kiosk

Collaborate with organizations and student government on your campus to operate a permanent kiosk at the university center. There, students can learn more about the warning signs of sexual violence, get information about support groups, and find out what campus resources are available if someone needs help.

5. Share Important Articles and Resources

College students can bring great awareness to the issue of sexual violence through their daily interactions on social media. Retweeting or resharing articles and resources helps disseminate this crucial information quickly and efficiently. It also provides people anonymity in their access to resources should they need help but wish to remain anonymous.

6. Elevate Survivor Stories

Students can really impact how sexual violence survivors feel on campus by breaking the silence around assaults. Encourage your college to provide a safe space on campus for survivors to share their stories that also prioritizes their safety. This “safe space” is essential to creating a healthy environment of support.

7. Student Activism

Students can sign petitions and hold rallies demanding that campus administration reevaluate, rewrite, and enforce current codes of student conduct. Holding campus police and administrators accountable for their lack of strict enforcement will encourage survivors to speak out and receive the help they need. Promoting a safe campus environment is a win-win for everyone.

Resources for Sexual Violence Survivors

Making resources readily available is essential to combating sexual violence. RAINN statistics show that 1 in 5 college-aged female survivors received assistance from a victim services agency. Easy access to sexual violence prevention resources is a must.

RAINN

RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-HOPE), and it also operates the Department of Defense Safe Helpline. RAINN's website has great resources for survivors including survivor stories, access to immediate help, and information on allyship.

On-Campus Mental Health Services

Every college student can use the mental health services available on their campus. Seeking help through talk therapy can be beneficial for many who have had to deal with sexual violence. Campus mental health services are just as confidential as off-campus ones, and therapists are able to refer you to outside specialists, should you need them.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

The sole mission of the NSVRC is to provide leadership in preventing and responding to sexual violence. In addition to survivor support, it provides research and tools that help educate the community. The organization has a wealth of resources for advocates working on the frontlines combating sexual violence.

VictimConnect Resource Center

The VictimConnect Resource Center offers a call-and-chat referral helpline providing services to all crime survivors, including those who have survived sexual violence. Its trauma-informed services and referrals help survivors navigate the physical, emotional, legal, and financial consequences of experiencing a crime.