According to the director of SHARPP Amy Culp, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center estimates that one in five women and one in 16 men will be sexually assaulted while they are in college. Culp sees sexual violence as a serious health issue.
On Thursday, April 13, from 12:30 – 2 p.m., SHARPP will host their annual Anti-Violence Rally and Walk, which will start at the Great Lawn in front of DeMeritt Hall.
According to Culp, the rally was originally started as a part of Sexual Assault Awareness month that is recognized annually in April. Culp adds the purpose of this month is to bring awareness to the issues of sexual violence and the importance of prevention, education and response.
“We bring the UNH community together to show our collective support of survivors and the issues that they face. Sadly, there is still an unbelievable amount go [there is still] shame and stigma attached to being a victim of sexual violence, and we hope that this rally lets survivors know that they are not alone — there are many people who are standing behind, and alongside, of them,” Culp said.
Culp stated that the rally has grown every year since the start and SHARPP is expecting more than 1500 people from the UNH community to participate in the “rally and walk” on Thursday.
Culp believes the issues of sexual violence are still seen as taboo, and, because of this, it is difficult for survivors to share their experiences publicly. UNH holds events such as the rally walk in order to show survivors there is a community of people beyond SHARPP.
“This rally brings a visual representation to the many people—students, faculty, and staff—on campus who care and support survivors,” Culp said. “Additionally, it highlights the campus initiatives, beyond SHARPP, that help to prevent, and end, sexual violence.”
In addition, Culp voiced SHARPP’s need for support from the community and student body.
“SHARPP needs the support of our community, including our students. We have several volunteer opportunities, including peer advocate and peer educators, and encourage students to get involved,” Culp said.
Students, faculty and staff who are interested in volunteering for SHARPP can find more information at http://www.unh.edu/sharpp/volunteering.
According to SHARPP’s website, on the day of the Anti-Violence Rally and Walk, participants can also use Snapchat filters designed for the event. #UNHRALLYWALK and #UNHWRC are the encouraged hashtags to be used on social media when sharing pictures from the event, according to the SHARPP website.