The Students Taking Action Against Sexual Violence group on campus will be presenting Sexual Assault Awareness Week from April 19-24. According to Samantha Sheppard-Gonzales co-director of STAASV, “The ‘It Affects Me’ campaign exists to promote campus policies that support prevention, recovery and justice, rather than silencing or victim-blaming. ‘It Affects Me’ encourages USF students to be active friends, not bystanders, and to think critically about the definition of ‘consent.’ Sexual violence is a community issue – not a women’s issue or a strictly heterosexual issue.”
From Monday to Wednesday there will be a clothesline project where any student can decorate a t-shirt about sexual violence and empowerment in any way they choose. There will be tables in front of the cafeteria and Parina lounge on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 p.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The shirts will be displayed in every hall, the cafeteria, and the library.
On Sunday and Monday, April 18 and 19, educational workshops will take place in the residence halls. On Sunday they will be in Pedro Arrupe and Phelan Hall, and on Monday the workshops will be conducted in Gillson (for Hayes-Healy residents as well) and on Lone Mountain, for Loyola Village residents as well. The workshops will take place from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. both days.
Tuesday is dedicated to Create Against Rape, a night of empowerment for the USF student body through arts and personal expression. It will take place in UC 222 from 7 p. m. to 9 p.m. Poetic Engagement will host a writing workshop as well as perform original pieces of spoken word to encourage discussion, and anyone who comes will be able to convey their thoughts through multiple mediums, including collaging, zine-making, painting, knitting, writing and performance, button-making, and decorating t-shirts for the Clothesline Project. Food will be served.
Tuesday and Thursday will each feature a bake sale in Harney Plaza during dead hour, 12:15pm to 1:15pm. There will be tasty treats available and the proceeds will go to the San Francisco Women Against Rape (SFWAR) Walk Against Rape.
On Wednesday there will be A Dialogue for Men, in a to-be-determined location from 7pm to 9pm. This will be a space facilitated by students where men can speak frankly about their experiences as men at USF. Topics of discussion include sex, violence, and masculinity.
Thursday is Take Back the Night from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., a march and rally by candlelight, which was inspired by an 1877 rally in London where “women protested the fear and violence they experienced in the nighttime streets” (www.takebackthenight.org). The USF community will join together to support survivors of sexual violence and declare that violence of any kind is not tolerated here. In addition to the march through campus, there will be an open mic for survivors of sexual violence, supporters of survivors, and advocated against violence to share thoughts and stories. Food will be available for a small donation to the Walk Against Rape, and t-shirts and supplies will be available to contribute to the Clothesline Project.
The final event during Awareness Week is the Walk Against Rape, which will take place on Saturday. Anyone from USF who wishes to participate should meet outside Gleeson Library at 9 a.m., and we will leave by 9:30 a.m. The walk is just over three miles and begins at Justin Herman Plaza at 10 a.m. and will conclude with a rally in Dolores Park at noon.
The rally will include speakers, performances, vendors, fundraising prizes, information and resources from several community organizations, the Clothesline Project on display, as well as food and drink. All proceeds from the day go toward San Francisco Women Against Rape.
Resources for anyone who is dealing with or has dealt with rape or sexual assault are always available at the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Student Resource Center (GSWSRC) located in front of the Market Cafe in UC 200.