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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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SLIDE hosts annual sexual assault awareness program

SLIDE+True+Life
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SLIDE True Life

The sophomore leadership organization, Sophomore Leaders Impacting, Developing and Educating, or SLIDE, will host its fourth annual sexual assault awareness program, True Life in a virtual format.
Hosted by SLIDE and organized by the Sexual Assault Awareness Month, or SAAM, subcommittee, True Life will include a panel of sexual assault survivors and representatives from Health Promotionsand the Sexual Assult Resource Center. Following the panel, there will be a question and answer portion of the night, where attendees may choose to ask questions anonymously. The event will be held as a Zoom Webinar on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.
Nutrition junior and executive of SAAM Kateryna Desheva said True Life is important because it opens up the conversation about sexual assault and helps educate those who might need to be made more aware of its prevalence.
“True Life is a panel of sexual assault survivors, advocates and educators, which facilitate the conversation about sexual assault and violence and share their survivor stories,” Desheva said. “Just because it is such a difficult topic doesn’t mean people should shy away from it because sometimes those uncomfortable topics are the most important ones to have.”
Desheva issued a trigger warning to participants and said that while it is very important to be educated on these topics, it may be difficult for survivors of sexual assault.
Anna Sentmanat, biomedical sciences sophomore and member of SAAM, said she’s looking forward to True Life because although it is on a different platform this year, the importance of the message still remains.
“[True Life] is important because sexual assault is something no one really wants to talk about since it’s uncomfortable and talking about it means confronting a lot of things that we, as a society, have normalized or accepted,” Sentmanat said. “It’s a big deal to have a conversation that other people listen into so they know how to facilitate that conversation with other people in their lives.”
The event will have several panelists, including Denise Crisafi, Health Promotion coordinator, who will be sharing her story and educating participants about on-campus resources for survivors of interpersonal violence. Crisafi said this is her third year in attendance and second year speaking on the panel, but True Life is consistently one of her favorite programs held on campus.
“Having something unique like True Life on a college campus is important because it gives a forum for students, staff and even some community members to have a real, raw conversation about experiences of sexual assault, how they happen, the trauma [survivors] experience and how to cope with it,” Crisafi said. “Even though we know sexual assault can affect populations regardless of identity or location, we do know that the risk for college-aged students is much higher compared to other age range groups.”
Since college-age students are more likely to experience sexual assault than any other age group, True Life offers a place to find resources, education and a reminder to survivors that they are not alone, Crisafi said.
“Right now, more than ever, we need students to be willing to engage in these conversations, be willing to learn and be willing to step outside their comfort zone,” Crisafi said. “Talking about these issues is uncomfortable. It’s also very empowering to be in a space with other students who want to do something to address this.”
To RSVP for True Life, fill out the form here.

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