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Local

NIU to host interactive presentation to start Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Karli Johnson's 'Asking For It' is from 6-8 p.m. in the Holmes Student Center

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University graduate student Karli Johnson will kick off Sexual Assault Awareness Month on Monday with an interactive presentation titled "Asking For It."

The presentation is free and open to the public and will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday in NIU's Holmes Student Center, 340 Carroll Ave. in DeKalb. Topics covered will include sexual assault, sexual harassment, bullying and consent.

Johnson attended NIU from 2007 to 2011 and returned in 2016 to pursue a master's degree in education and women and gender studies.

Johnson is a survivor of dating violence, stalking and rape during her undergraduate years and is now a nationwide speaker and educator on those issues. Her public speaking career has included a TEDx Talk at NIU titled "I Pooped My Pants."

She said the event will include sharing her story and taking questions from audience members as well as a game of "Safe Sex Bingo" with funny, sex-related prizes.

Johnson said she is very open about her experiences so students will feel comfortable asking questions about topics that are often stigmatized.

"I've gotten asked things like, 'Can you find love after [an assault]?' or 'What happened to the person who did this to you?'"

Johnson said the title "Asking For It" for Monday's event is meant to inspire humor about a serious topic and will lead into conversation and skill-building activities on asking for consent.

"The biggest thing I get asked is why do I speak about this," Johnson said. "I just think, 'Why wasn't I taught this?' I didn't have anything like this in high school."

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