March raises sexual assault awareness on UD campus
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 03:05
Students and faculty members marched down The Green and throughout campus to spread awareness about sexual assault on college campuses last week during the Take Back the Night event on Thursday night.
Members of the student group Students Acting for Gender Equality have hosted the event since the 1970s, according to senior Helen Turkel, the group’s president. She said the march is important because it allows university students to speak openly about the topic.
“It encourages so many people to raise their voice and remind them that they’re not alone,” Turkel said.
Senior Kinnethia Tolson, one of the group’s vice presidents, said the march was a reminder to women that they should feel comfortable, confident and safe when they travel at night without fear of being harassed. She said the event also addresses the taboo of sexual assault.
“The march is a way to break the silence and bring out the pink elephant in the room,” Tolson said.
Senior Sarah Foster, the group’s vice president, said the event allows students to vent and speak freely about the issue, which she said is often a difficult topic for some people to discuss.
“It’s a really empowering event for UD and the community to show their passion for the issues about sexual assault,” Foster said.
Slam poet Stacyann Chin, an LGBT political activist who identifies as a lesbian, who performed before the march, said the medium allows her to openly express her emotions regarding sexual assault and discrimination.
“It is an art of screaming, resisting, claiming the voice and redefining who we are,” Chin said.
Senior Brandon Granados, who attended the event, said Chin’s poetry was intense.
“She stood up on the seats and put me right in the spot that she was in all those years ago,” Granados said.
Gabrielle Foreman, an English and Black American studies professor, said men can also be victims of sexual assault.
“I believe everybody, women and men, should be safe from sexual violence and intimidation,” Foreman said.
Following the poetry and march, survivors of sexual assault joined together and sat down in a circle with dimmed lights to discuss their personal experiences with sexual assault, Turkel said.
“The speak-out allows a dynamic group of successful people to get together, feel safe and discuss their thoughts and experiences with sexual assault,” Turkel said. “As a community we should remember to support and protect each other.”