Sexual Assault Awareness Week empowers, educates

The week of April 27 marked Geneseo's second Sexual Assault Awareness Week, with events dedicated to raising awareness about sexual assault and providing outlets for creative expression and empowerment.

This is only the second year that there has been an entire week devoted to sexual assault awareness. In the past, the only event had been Take Back the Night.

"A few of us started planning a whole week because we felt that one day wasn't providing enough awareness," said senior Fiona Murray.

Monday began with the Day of Awareness, during which organizers handed out ribbons and information in Milne Library.

Wednesday's Day of Expression on the College Green featured a number of presentations, including performances from Hips 'n Harmony and Geneseo Bhangra, as well as lectures from various speaker including President Christopher Dahl, Dean of Residential Living Celia Easton and former dean Susan Bailey, among others.

Bailey provided information about Canada's fight against sexual assault to remind the crowd that this problem exists outside the U.S. "This is clearly a worldwide problem," she said. "We need to work with women in other countries in addressing issues of sexual assault and domestic violence."

Several tables were set up by campus and community organizations, including Lauderdale Health and Counseling, Pride Alliance and a table where students could write letters to support Rep. Louise Slaughter's bill: the Military Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Act.

The Clothesline Project gave people a chance to write about how sexual assault has affected them or someone they know. The arrangement will be displayed on the College Green through tomorrow night.

"We want to not only raise awareness, but also give a voice to those who have been silenced," said senior Colleen Vasey.

Junior Jon Hoose stressed the importance of raising awareness about sexual assault. "It's an important issue that doesn't often get addressed," he said.

Thursday is Take Back the Night, the focal point of the week. There will be a speak-out and vigil at 7 p.m. on the College Green, followed by a march at 8 p.m.

"People can come together and tell their stories," said Murray. "The point of the march is that women don't need to feel afraid of being out at night alone." Murray encourages students to take part and show their support.