Thursday, April 10, 2014

Guest Post: April is Alcohol Awareness Month by Rebecca Rouse

The spring semester is down to the wire and we are all anxious to get outside and start enjoying the warmer temperatures. How will you spend your time? Did you know that April is Alcohol Awareness Month? Many communities and organizations plan events to sponsor Alcohol Awareness during the month of April. These events began in 1987 when the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) started its sponsorship of the first Alcohol Awareness month. Alcohol awareness month highlights events, which focus on raising awareness and prevention of underage drinking and alcohol abuse (NCADD, n.d).

How Can I Make A Difference?
Raise your personal awareness of alcohol abuse and how it impacts individuals, families and communities. According to (2013),  over 1800 18-24 year old students attending college will die from an alcohol related incident, over half a million will fall victim to assaults as well as more than 3 million 18-24 year old students will drive under the influence.

How Can I Help Others?
Use the month of April to raise awareness among your family and friends through popular social media outlets; such as, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to spread the word about Alcohol Awareness Month (, 2013). Additionally, (2013) suggest the following tips:

1.    Partner with a local high school or youth organization to host an event about alcohol abuse prevention.
2.    Host an alcohol-free community block party to show how much fun can be had without drinking. Invite local restaurants and a local radio station to provide free food and music.
3.    On April 11, National Alcohol Screening Day, partner with a local health clinic to offer free or low-cost screenings for alcohol abuse.
4.    Partner with your local police station and host a Family Information Night. Share free information on preventing alcohol abuse and provide demonstrations. For example, use drinking goggles to show how drinking too much can affect vision.
5.    Post information on bulletin boards at local community centers, places of worship, the library, and post office.

Where Can I Find More Information?
The following websites provide the tools you are your organization need to plan, promote an Alcohol Awareness event. Additionally, if you or someone you know is drinking beyond what is considered the recommend limits, please contact your local health provider or Alcoholics Anonymous.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2013). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved     from

College Drinking Changing the Culture (2013). A snapshot of annual high-risk college
    drinking consequences. Retrieved from

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.(n.d.) Alcohol Awareness
    Month. Retrieved from

National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2012). Risky drinking can put a chill on   your summer fun. Retrieved from  

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2013). Alcohol Awareness Month. Retrieved

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2013). Alcohol Awareness Month Toolkit.
    Retrieved from

You might also like:
Alcohol Awareness Month: Interview with Sonia Redwine, Assistant Director of Health Education

Rebecca Rouse is a 2nd year TWU Health Studies doctoral student focusing on higher education. She received her BS and MS in Health Promotion from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Currently, she is the Assistant Executive Director for the Commerce Housing Authority as well as an adjunct instructor in the Health and Human Performance Department of Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Save Someone - Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Save Someone, Be Aware

The spring season is finally here and with it brings warm weather, new life, and a reminder that sexual assault is all around us. April is a month dedicated to Sexual Assault Awareness and this year’s motto is It’s Time…To Talk About It. So sit back, grab a friend, and let’s talk about it.

What is sexual assault? Most definitions of sexual assault involve a person experiencing unwanted sexual activity or contact without consent. Sexual assault can happen to anyone of any age, identity, or lifestyle which is why being aware and spreading awareness is so important.

Sexual assault is not a behavior that only happens to a specific group of people, but it is an unwanted action that can occur to anyone. The facts that support this concept are both eerie and disheartening. Take a look for yourself.
·         1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls will be a survivor of sexual assault before the age of 18.
·         44% of all sexual assault survivors are under the age of 18.
·         Someone in the United States is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes.
·         1 in 6 women will experience attempted rape or rape in their lifetime.
·         Sexual assault is the most under-reported crime. Only 46% of sexual assaults have been reported over the last 5 years.
·         Two-thirds of sexual assaults are committed by someone the survivor knows.
·         Girls ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely to be targets of attempted rape, rape, or sexual assault.

There is no one particular target for sexual assault and there is no one particular type of perpetrator. People who commit sexual assaults come from all different economic, social, and ethnic backgrounds. Perpetrators of sexual assaults are not prompted by motives of receiving sexual gratification, but instead are motivated by dominance and control; therefore, sexual assault has been categorized as a crime of violence and not a crime of passion.

Experiencing sexual assault is a hardship that no one should have to go through, and it is a hardship that does not end for the survivor. A child who experiences sexual assault is likely to have poor health in their adulthood. The year following a survivor’s experience of being sexually assaulted the survivor’s health care services increases by 18% and 56% in the second year. Not only is a survivor’s health affected by their experience, but women who encounter sexual assault account for 50-95% of post-traumatic stress disorder cases.
So now that we know the facts, what can we do to stop sexual assaults? Your voice is actually a powerful tool that can help influence change. 
The teal ribbon represents awareness for sexual assault, and with Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) approaching try to implement this ribbon into your life. Tuesday, April 1st is SAAM day of action that is nationally recognized; so get involved by posting awareness across social media channels.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, use your voice and get help. Below are some resources that may be helpful.

National Sexual Assault Hotline:

Texas Women’s University Crisis Center
940-898-3801 (Denton Location)
214-689-6655 (Dallas Location)
713-794-2059 (Houston Location)

Denton County Friends of Family

For more information on Sexual Assault, visit these sites.

Do Something Movement

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Texas Association of Sexual Assault

Texas Women’s University Counseling Center