April is National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month, and at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), the Sexual Harassment & Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP) is working to educate students. 

“April is definitely a busy month for us! We plan tons of programs throughout the year, but I’d say our event calendar this month is more dense than most,” said Prevention Specialist for SHARPP Kate Gladstone. She mentioned that SHARPP does have other month-long campaigns to spread awareness for other forms of violence as well. 

“We work hard to make our services widely accessible, and I hope that people who seek support from SHARPP find that we are easy to get in touch with,” said Gladstone. 

The UNH SHARPP website includes events that are coming up in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Throughout the month of April, there have been many events provided by SHARPP. Just one of the events is Direct Action for Incarcerated Survivors: Letter Writing, where you can “join SHARPP’s Direct Action sessions this spring to learn more about incarcerated survivors, ways you can help, and strategies on writing letters.” 

“Although COVID resulted in us needing to move our programming to be completely virtual this SAAM, we were able to get creative with our offerings,” said Outreach & Training Coordinator for SHARPP Erica Vazza. 

SHARPP is a UNH program that is supervised by the Office of Student Life. They are dedicated to providing free services to survivors of interpersonal violence. They have direct services that include a 24-hour phone help line, online web chat, crisis counseling and more. 

“I have heard many great things about SHARPP and the resources they provide. Sexual assault awareness needs to be talked about more, because it is an issue that I hear more and more of each day,” said UNH sophomore Maggie Eaton. 

The 2020 UNH Annual Security Report And Fire Safety Report provided by UNH’s Department of Statistics was prepared by the UNH Police Department. Statistics were collected from the Office of Human Resources, Health & Wellness, SHARPP, and more. 

The statistics show that 44 students were raped and 22 were fondled in 2020, whether it was on campus property, on campus student housing, or off campus. Statistics of domestic and dating violence are also included in the report. 

To further help survivors, the Freedom Café in Durham focuses on sexual assault and human trafficking awareness. This café is “dedicated to ending human trafficking and the commercial exploitation of all people,” as stated on their website. With their “pay-what-you-want café,” they fundraise to help spread awareness through certain programs they hold. 

“I just think it’s great that the UNH community continues to focus on sexual assault survivors and spreading awareness for it. It makes me feel more comfortable to be here,” said Eaton. 

Photos courtesy of UNH SHARPP.