SASA, By Mimi Weber

Out of Montana State University’s many clubs, SASA is one of the oldest.
For over 20 years, Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA) has done numerous projects focused on preventing domestic violence and sexual assault.
While SASA is a student-run club, there are plenty of ways for others to get involved.
“We welcome community members to come to meetings or help us out with any projects,” says club president Ryan Chauner.
In addition to attending meetings, many of SASA’s events are open to all community members. “One of our main events is the Bozeman Monologous which are held every spring,” Chauner explains.
“They are sort of a spin off of the Vagina Monologues. Students and community members that write their own poems or short stories about sexuality and gender, or their experience with violence.”
The Bozeman Monologous are held at the Emerson, and, according to Chauner, generally raise several thousand dollars for the Survivor Fund. The 2017 Monologous are set for March 30th at 7 PM.
SASA is the outreach section of MSU’s Voice Center, which focuses on providing education to the MSU community and advocating for survivors of sexual assault.
Chauner explains that one of the club’s main goals is to raise money for the Survivor Fund, which directly helps survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking.
Chauner, who has been president for a total of three semesters, explains that in addition to hosting frequent, free documentary screenings in the Procrastinator Theatre, SASA also organizes the annual Take Back the Night Rally- an international march that is organized by local communities in April.
“It’s a very visual display for the city to see that we won’t tolerate sexual assault, but it’s also a lot of fun and brings some laughter and happiness to a subject that isn’t always that happy.”
The rally features a survivor speak out; “people gather in the sub ballroom, and anyone who wants to get up and share their story can do so,” Chauner says.
Afterwards, the marchers make their way to the Baxter Hotel, carrying signs and led by Chicks With Sticks, a social justice group that also serves as “Bozeman’s premier bucket band,” according to their Facebook page.
The rally typically concludes with music by Rock Against Rape, which Chauner explains as a way to end the Take Back the Night rally and march on an “uplifting and positive note.”
Chauner elaborates, “it’s a gathering of students and other Bozeman residents who want to create a more supportive community for survivors. It’s held in the upstairs of the Baxter and there’s music and pizza.”
The clubs’ meetings are relaxed and casual; “If we don’t have an event coming up, a lot of times we just meet and eat candy and talk about articles we read, what has been bothering us, and how to talk about these things.”
Chauner explains that it is important to simply have a platform for open discussions about sexual assault, and, in Chauner’s words “hanging out in solidarity.”


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