A month of ‘No More’

A+month+of+No+More

Allegra Gold, Contributing Writer

Combating sexual assault

Over the years, sexual assault has become one of the most prevalent forms of crime on college campuses. The combination of the drinking and hook-up culture unfortunately has made college campuses a breeding ground for cases of sexual assault. Sexual assault deeply violates individual victims as well as communities, and the rape culture that goes hand-in-hand with sexual assault creates ignorance, suffering, and disrespect.

This tragic social issue reinforces gender norms and stereotypes and creates a wall of silence among thousands of assault survivors all around the world. However, the means to an end begin with awareness and preventative skills. As an elite, thriving college campus, members of the campus community have the power to shift the culture and put this pressing conversation in the spotlight. Multiple University organizations hosted events this October for “No More Month” to shed light on this pressing issue and support its students.

SToPP 5K

Students have access to resources and skills that give social issues the proper attention they deserve in order to make a difference on a broad scale, and many organizations on campus strive to be an environment that brings issues right to campus and gives both students and faculty the opportunity to partake in making a change. Groups such as SpeakUp Bucknell and other student-initiated off-campus partnerships have made sexual assault a topic that students are familiar with and have brought events to campus to drive a passion in students on the issue.

One such event was the SToPP 5K Walk/Run held on Oct. 16. SToPP is an event through the The New Agenda Foundation, which is an organization “dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls by bringing about systemic change in the media, at the workplace, at school and at home.” By traveling to college campuses, this event allows young people to contribute to a cause that affects their age and demographic in dramatic ways.

“It was really great to see the Bucknell community come together on a Sunday morning to raise awareness for an issue that is so relevant to college students all across the nation,” Christina Sweeney’19 said. “Throughout the run there were volunteers holding signs up that said facts about sexual violence on campus, which was a great way to remind participants throughout the race of the importance of the cause they’re supporting.”

One Student

Another successful event hosted in support of sexual assault prevention was OneStudent. The Oct. 17 event was organized and co-sponsored by multiple Greek organizations.

“It’s a topic that people don’t really think is important until it happens to them or somebody they know. Since sexual assault is such an issue on our campus it’s important to have these conversations, especially since the Greek community has so much power to change our campus culture,” Alpha Chi Omega-Eta Chapter president Jess Abruzzese ’17 said.

One Student is a non-profit organization that seeks to engage with the topic of sexual violence. The organization’s founders, Kelly Addington and Becca Tieder, visited the Weis Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, Oct. 17. The duo gave an inspiring talk about the reality of sexual assault and emphasized the importance of consent, and how that must be a topic of frequent conversation on campuses. They shared their own stories and experiences with sexual assault, and discussed strategies and skills for coping. In particular, they stressed the importance of resources, on both the local and national level.

SpeakUp Bucknell

SpeakUp Bucknell is the leading organization on campus that works to address issues of sexual misconduct and assault. It consists of student volunteers who are responsible for prevention, education, and awareness campaigns on campus.

“Being in SpeakUp has been amazing so far. We have in-depth, open, and honest conversations about the culture on campus around sexual assault and how that affects each one of us,” SpeakUp peer Lisa Bernstein ’19 said.

Bernstein described how SpeakUp members continue to brainstorm ways for the campus to get more involved and gain awareness of how to maintain healthy relationships.

SpeakUp does a remarkable job of making its presence prominent on campus by talking to incoming freshmen classes during orientation each year, endorsing various campaigns around campus such as the Red Flag Campaign, which works to help individuals identify actions that may signal unhealthy relationships and sexual assault, and their event; Take Back the Night.

Take Back the Night is an event organized by SpeakUp in which student leaders and sexual assault survivors are given a platform to speak out against sexual assault. Hundreds of students and faculty unite in a common effort to stand up for this cause and make a real change not only on campus but globally. This year, Take Back the Night will take place on Oct. 27 and will serve as a chance for University students to stand by their peers in solidarity and support for the cause of preventing sexual violence and creating an environment of consent and healthy relationships.

As another way of raising awareness about sexual assault, the University takes part in the Clothesline Project, a national event that allows women exposed to sexual assault to share their stories. For the project, any women who was either personally effected by sexual assault or knows someone who was a victim of sexual assault can decorate a shirt that represents their story via written word or art. Each shirt color represents different cases of sexual assault. The shirts are hung on a clothesline and displayed somewhere public so that everyone can understand the severity of this issue.

The University is one of 500 communities around the world that take part in the Clothesline project. Since 2012, University students have created their shirts and hung them in the Bertrand Library staircase for all students to see. The project has helped survivors of sexual assault feel supported and safe in our campus community. This year, shirts will stay hung in Bertrand until Oct. 30.

 

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