Next week, ETSU’S Outreach and Advocacy Sexuality Information for Students program will take back the night as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
In 2009, President Obama designated April as the official month for Sexual Assault Awareness, but events dedicated to just that have been happening long before then both worldwide and on ETSU’s campus. On April 10-12, OASIS will host three events in Borchuck Plaza to raise awareness of sexual and relationship violence that occurs specifically within our campus community.
Each day, the Clothesline Project will be set up in the plaza. You can stop by to find information on OASIS and gender violence at the table. You can also choose to share your #MeToo story on a t-shirt, which will be hung in the plaza as a visual symbol to promote awareness.
“[The t-shirts are] very moving because it’s all ETSU students and staff who fill them out,” said OASIS coordinator Kate Emmerich.
On Tuesday from 7-9 p.m., the Sexuality and Gender Alliance and the Gender Equality Movement will host a Take Back the Night candlelight vigil and march. Gather in the plaza at 6:30 p.m. for sign making, then participate in a march around campus followed by story sharing and a reception.
The week’s capstone event, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: the International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence, will be held Thursday, April 12 from 5-8 p.m. This event, which requires a $5 registration fee, asks men to literally step into a woman’s heels and walk a mile.
“The whole idea is that in a very small, visual way we want the people participating and watching to gain a representative understanding of the pain girls and women experience just by virtue of being girls and women in our culture,” Emmerich said.
You can rent a pair of shoes for $5 or bring your own. There will be a demonstration on how to walk in heels properly, then the mile-long march across campus begins. This and the other events are about more than just promoting awareness of sexual violence, but affecting lasting change in our community.
“The reality is it’s so much more complicated than that and it involves us on an individual level so much more than that,” Emmerich said. “My hope is through hearing what I’m saying and then having that physical experience, that changes a person even just a little bit.”
For more information about registering or volunteering for the Take Back the Night events, contact OASIS at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach the ETSU Counseling Center at (423)439-3333.