Elizabeth Smart kicks off Sexual Assault Awareness Month

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Elizabeth Smart has faced many trials in her life. She hopes to help end sexual assault on campus with her address Friday.  (Elizabeth Smart)

BYU has invited child safety activist and sexual assault survivor Elizabeth Smart to kick off their Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Smart will speak at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 31, in room 140 of the Joseph Smith Building on campus. The event is being sponsored by the Title IX office and Women’s Services and Resources on campus.

Smart will share her experiences with sexual assault as well as what people can do to help prevent it from happening on campus.

Recently hired Title IX Coordinator Tiffany Turley said Smart was the clear choice to be the keynote speaker.

“Elizabeth is a powerful speaker with an even more powerful message,” Turley said. “She is an incredible example of overcoming adversity, abuse and sexual assault.”

Women’s Services and Resources Campaign Coordinator Madison Fullmer said Smart’s relevance will invigorate involvement in this month’s upcoming events.

“She’s a name that most of us have heard and so that sparks an interest within students because they’ve heard that name before,” Fullmer said. “She has great experience that we don’t all have, but that we can all learn from.”

Smart’s remarks will start a week of events and activities to bring awareness to the dangers of sexual assault. These events include a sidewalk chalk activity, another guest lecturer and a couple workshops.

Fullmer, along with the WSR office, hope that all this will help students see that sexual assault is a problem that impacts them even if they haven’t experienced it and prepares them to believe someone who comes to them in the future.

“One in five women college age women are sexually assaulted; one in 16 college age men are sexually assaulted,” Fullmer said. “We are encouraging people to start by believing, to support and to help.”