President’s Posts

Michael Rao, Ph.D.

Today’s guest post is by Kaylin Tingle, MSW. Kaylin aims to create a safer, healthier, and more inclusive campus community through their work at VCU’s Wellness Resource Center (The Well) as the Violence Prevention Health Educator. Kaylin approaches this work through a trauma-informed, anti-oppression lens, with a passion for addressing and ending violence within and against marginalized communities, including LGBTQIA+ communities, communities of color, and people with disabilities.


During the course of this year, sexual violence has been an ongoing topic of conversation: from live testimonies to comment sections, from headlines to dinner tables, from #MeToo to Title IX. It seems that everyone has an opinion to share. At VCU, we are clear on where we stand. We will continue to support survivors, and continue to work towards a campus where all members of our community feel safe, affirmed and are free from violence.

As we honor Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in April at VCU and across the country, we urge our community to continue to reflect on how to eliminate violence and increase healthy interactions in our relationships and communities. One necessary strategy is to ensure we respect physical and emotional boundaries of everyone around us by asking for consent and checking in. We can recognize and normalize all the ways we practice consent on a daily basis – for example, asking to borrow something from a friend or negotiating what TV show to watch. We can work to treat others as they want to be treated which can be determined by asking them. We must also take into consideration how power dynamics play into someone’s comfort to say “no.” The complicated relationships between our roles, identities, and histories can create barriers in someone’s abilities to assert their boundaries.

Join the conversation by sharing how you ensure a clear, informed, non-coerced, enthusiastic “yes” in your life in sexual situations or daily interactions by posting how you practice consent using #RamsAsk on social media throughout the month. (Remember to make sure you have consent of others involved before posting identifying information!) Show your support and learn more by attending SAAM events, such as:

  • Take Back the Night: Join VCU for our annual survivor speak-out and rally on Wednesday, April 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the University Student Commons, Richmond Salons.
  • African American Women and Sexual Assault: Join the University Counseling Services Advocacy Program for a forum discussing sexual assault as it pertains to black women and why they under-report and are often not believed. The event will take place on April 22 at 6 p.m in the University Student Commons, Virginia Rooms C-D.
  • VCU Denim Day: Wear denim on Wednesday, April 24 to show solidarity with survivors of sexual violence and challenge victim-blaming narratives. Post photos of you, your office, or your organization wearing denim on social media using the hashtag #VCUDenimDay.
  • Wellness Wednesdays: Find your Peer Health Educators (PHE) around campus on Wednesdays and visit for times and locations.


To learn more about Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the resources available at The Wellness Resource Center, follow @TheWellVCU on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat or visit For more information about Title IX at VCU, visit To access confidential support services on campus, email or visit


Categories 21st-Century University, Community, Diversity, News, Periodic update, To VCU
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