Story by Kirsten Fedorowicz, Reporter
Photo courtesy of news.psu.edu
The prevention of sexual assault is on all of us, every single month, but the month of April is dedicated to spreading awareness and empowering students to end sexual violence.
Aquinas is no different, and has some events planned to make its student population aware and ready to spearhead healthy relationships. The National Week of Action, starting on Monday, April 4 brings some great events to campus. On Wednesday, April 6, the film “The Hunting Ground” will be shown in the Wege Ballroom at 9 a.m. The film shows footage from on-campus sexual assault survivors. A post-film discussion about on-campus assault will follow.
On Thursday, April 7, the event Walk A Mile in her shoes will take place. Students are encouraged to wear red shoes throughout the day to support the end of sexual violence. Starting 4 p.m. in Wege Ballroom, there will be various workshops on ending the cycle of sexual violence. Marissa Ebels, a freshman and one of the student leaders of the event talked about the importance of these workshops and the activities at large;
“Empowering students to take a stand is the first step. We shouldn’t be afraid to take action against perpetrators, and having a dialogue speaking about this, preventing bystanders, and working towards a safe community is ultimately the goal at large.”
There will be an “It’s On Us” banner signing in the AB lobby all week to empower students to take the pledge and become serious about ending sexual assault. There will also be sessions to empower students to build healthy relationships on Monday and Tuesday, also in the AB lobby.
Even if you aren’t able to attend any of these events, junior Zoe Gipson is using National Week of Action to kick off many more “It’s On Us” activities and awareness across campus. She talked about why she’s passionate about sexual assault awareness;
“Sexual assault and violence are unacceptable and it is on us as a college and community to put an end to it. My stance is that our culture and society have sat back and let views dominate and create rape culture, which needs to be addressed for real change to begin and be permanent. That’s what this week is about for us — education and challenging harmful stigmas.”
If you have been assaulted or know someone who has, please talk to Campus Safety, who can help escort you to the YWCA, and Counseling Services. Off campus, the YWCA is a safe contact, and please consider talking to the Grand Rapids Police.