Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Love Safe Day raises awareness about sexual violence

Friday, February 18, 2022

Editor’s note: This story has been edited to include Jessica Stunk's name. When this story first published, Strunk was misidentified and her quotes were misattributed. The mission of Redhawks Rising has been edited to include their focus on education. The mission of the Zonta Club of Cape Girardeau has also been edited to state their focus on all types of women's rights. The Arrow regrets these errors.

The Student Activities Council (SAC) and Redhawks Rising raised awareness about sexual violence during Love Safe Day in the UC Ballroom Feb. 17. The event was part of SAC’s celebration of Valentine’s Day, which they hosted activities for throughout the week of Feb. 14 through 18.

Vice President of Redhawks Rising Haley Hawkins presents on sexual violence at the Love Safe Day event Feb. 17. The event was a partnership between Redhawks Rising and SAC.
Photo by Kate Haussman

Redhawks Rising alumna Jessica Strunk said the club is a student organization that gives support to sexual violence survivors. The organization’s focus is to provide education on sexual and domestic violence.

“We focus on sexual assault and rape on campus and raise awareness for that. [We] give survivors a place to go,” Strunk said.

Love Safe Day raised awareness and provided education about domestic abuse, sexual assault and violence. Vice President of Redhawks Rising Haley Hawkins started the event with a short presentation explaining the signs of domestic abuse and how to help survivors of sexual abuse.

“Sadly, we know that many individuals will experience sexual violence in their time,” Hawkins said. “What's really important to remember is there are no rules; everyone heals in their own time.”

Once Hawkins finished speaking, audience members visited tables set up by local sexual violence organizations and sexual assault support groups. Safe House of Southeast Missouri, Redhawks Rising, SEMO Network Against Sexual Violence (NASV) and Zonta Club of Cape Girardeau hosted tables at the event.

Safe House of Southeast Missouri and SEMO NASV are organizations for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. SEMO NASV Development Director Alix Gasser said the two organizations work together to find the best help for survivors.

“If SEMO NASV gets someone with a history of domestic abuse, we send them to Safe House, and when Safe House gets someone with a history of sexual abuse, they are sent to us,” Gasser said.

Zonta Club of Cape Girardeau is an international service organization that advocates for women’s rights. They also have a support group for women survivors of sexual assault, and the group gives them a safe place to talk about their experiences.

“Zonta is the women’s club in my community,” Strunk said. “It’s really cool. It’s a lot of strong… women who want to do some good.”

Love Safe Day worked to educate attendees on what to look for and what to do if sexual violence occurs. For more information, visit the websites for the Safe House, Redhawks Rising, SEMO NASV and Zonta, resources to help survivors of sexual violence or domestic abuse.