Levenson shares expertise and tips during Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Students hosting panel discussion, screening of videos and The Clothesline Project to raise awareness of sexual violence and prevention

Published Apr. 04, 2011

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center designated April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Throughout the month, groups around the country sponsor events to raise awareness of sexual violence and discuss tactics for prevention.

“Sexual assault is an uncomfortable topic,” said Jill Levenson, associate professor of human services in Lynn’s College of Liberal Education who is often quoted for her expertise and views on sexual offenders and the prevention of sexual violence. “However, by talking about sexual violence, we can promote healthy and responsible sexual behavior.”

Sexual assault awareness is particularly important for college students. “College age women are in the highest risk group for rape,” said Levenson. “In addition, there are a number of myths that permeate our society and reinforce victim-blaming, non-reporting and community apathy.”

Levenson offers tips for prevention of sexual assault:

  1. Create a "buddy system" and watch out for each other.
  2. Don't take a drink you haven't seen poured or leave a drink unattended.
  3. Don't be afraid to be assertive about your own sexual boundaries and limits.
  4. Remember if you are sexually assaulted, it is never the victim's fault – no matter what you were wearing, what you were drinking or where you went.
  5. If you think you have been victimized, talk to someone. For example, Lynn Women's Center and Counseling Center are available for free, confidential, compassionate assistance. Make your own decision, but be aware that medical, psychological and legal assistance is available.

Lynn’s human services students are working to promote awareness and prevention of sexual assault through a variety of events this month.

Lynn’s SAAM events:

April 4: Senior students will kick-off SAAM with a showcase of their capstone projects at 4 p.m. in Lynn’s Amarnick-Goldstein Concert Hall in the de Hoernle International Center. The projects include a series of educational YouTube videos created to promote awareness and prevention of sexual assault. Prior to the screenings, there will be a panel presentation with a rape survivor who will speak about her experience, recovery and healing.

April 7-9: Lynn students, staff and faculty will perform The Vagina Monologues on Thursday, April 7 – Saturday, April 9. The performances will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held in the Amarnick-Goldstein Concert Hall in the de Hoernle International Center on Lynn’s campus. Tickets are $10 for the general public, and can be purchased at the door or reserved online through Lynn’s ticket office at www.lynn.edu/tickets or call 561-237-9000.

April 11-15: Lynn will participate in The Clothesline Project, a national event where survivors of sexual assault decorate t-shirts in a way that depicts their pain and healing. The shirts will be displayed across campus and in the Lynn Student Center as a powerful reminder of the prevalence of this problem and its far-reaching effects.

More on Levenson:

Levenson is an associate professor of human service at Lynn University and a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years of experience treating sexual abuse victims, survivors, perpetrators and non-offending parents. Her academic focus is on sexual abuse and how offenders are categorized and treated.

Currently, Levenson, Lynn University and Debra Ainbinder, an associate professor of psychology at Lynn, are partnering with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) on a community safety implementation project to help prevent sexual assault.

Levenson is a nationally known expert on sexual violence and has become a respected authority on, among other things, laws aimed at protecting children while punishing, tracking and rehabilitating sex offenders. She has been quoted in national publications including the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, among others. She has published over 60 articles about sex crime policy and offender treatment.