Editorial: Building on Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Events and community building are a strong start, but more institutional support is needed


Evan Harris

Notes of encouragement to survivors are displayed at the Safe Office Crew’s March 30 Speak Out event.

Editorial Committee

Wake Forest’s sexual assault awareness month events focus on building a community for survivors while educating others about the severity of sexual assault and its effects on students. The Safe Office is heavily involved in participating and hosting events, as several students have found refuge through their resources. In partnership with the university, it uses this month to emphasize the importance of awareness and prevention.

Consistently showing their support for students, the Safe Office spreads awareness for events, hosting a speak out for survivors, a letter-writing activity and workshops on consent. The Safe Office continues to remain a confidential space with professionals who are equipped to help survivors process trauma and develop healthy coping skills. Aside from this, the Safe Office gives students resources about confronting their assaulter, support in court and utilizing the CLASS Office for formal excuses, all of which have proven to be incredibly beneficial for survivors.

While we commend the Safe Office and its partners for putting these events on and creating healing community, the Old Gold & Black recognizes that sexual misconduct is still far too common on this campus. As we have seen through multiple protests and have heard from survivors, Wake Forest still has a good deal of work to do if it wants to do right by survivors.

A whopping 55.4% of respondents to the 2022 Campus Climate Survey, completed in April 2022 and released last November, said they had experienced sexual misconduct. In the survey, 16.3% of respondents reported that they had experienced “non consensual or unwanted sexual contact.”

Furthermore, the expectations that students must adhere to each day, such as attending classes or meetings, completing homework or participating in clubs and social events, are extremely difficult for survivors of sexual assault. The fast-paced and rigorous environment of Wake Forest can easily make any student overwhelmed, but for survivors, this environment is even more of a challenge to navigate.

It is vital that every student, professor, administrator and office around campus understand the effects of sexual assault and learns to give grace to survivors. Wake Forest’s sexual assault awareness month is certainly a strong beginning to that work, and the Old Gold & Black hopes that campus leaders will build on the steady foundation that has been laid.

The Old Gold & Black’s editorial committee writes the paper’s weekly editorial. The above editorial expresses its opinions and the editorial voice of the paper. The committee is chaired by Online Managing Editor Aine Pierre and also comprises Opinion Editors Shaila Prasad and Lauren Carpenter and Staff Writers Sophie Guymon, Ashlyn Segler and Hope Zhu. The content of all editorials is reviewed by the Executive Board of the Old Gold & Black before publication.