ETSU’s Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and Women’s Studies organizations held their third annual One Billion Rising Event on Feb. 12.
The event, which shows solidarity and support for sexual abuse victims and survivors, was held at The Willow Tree Coffeehouse and Music Room.
The event rose over $300 from entry fees or donations that were collected at a minimum of $5.
All proceeds are going to Abuse Alternatives Inc. and Crisis Center Inc.
These organizations are resources for providing support, shelter, confidentiality and healing to sexual/domestic assault survivors in the Tri-Cities and Bristol communities.
One Billion Rising is an organization that raises awareness that 1 in 3 women will experience domestic assault in their lifetime, equaling 1 billion women and girls worldwide.
The campaign, launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, is focused on participating in art and dance in order to rise against domestic violence.
ETSU student and One Billion Rising event organizer Caroline Locke stressed the importance of having a group to be a part of when discussing feminism, gendered violence and inequality.
“Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there is a whole world out there that doesn’t care about this or just don’t know,” Locke said. “We need to continue to raise awareness, and to educate people who don’t understand the magnitude of sexual assault.”
The event held different acts such as spoken word, poems and songs by students and local musicians. In between each act, there was an amount of time for those attending to socialize, listen to music or grab a coffee from Willow Tree.
Della McGuire, an ETSU graduate, performed a spoken word piece titled “There Is No Perfect Victim,” that expressed the fact that any person can be a victim a sexual assault. McGuire is also the sexual assault program director at Crisis Center Inc.
McGuire told the full room that they have the “power to be their own jurors.” The saying refers to rape and assault cases every year where juries, judges, or prosecutors will fail assault survivors and victims by not handling their cases with empathy or by not knowing different types of trauma that happens after assault that can impact a victim’s memory of the event.
“Listening to survivors and believing them is the first step in changing the conversation,” Locke said.
One Billion Rising changes each year; last year was “One Billion Rising for Justice” and this year is “One Billion Rising for Revolution.”
“We are a part of that change [that is happening] globally,” Locke said. “Just by having this event, we are joining so many people all over the world who believe in this cause.”