See something? Say something.
Assumption College hosted its annual Clothesline Project on Monday, April 11 which kicked off the Sexual Violence Awareness week.
“Not a lot of people know this but I was sexually assaulted when I was younger, and for me it’s kind of encouraging to help people who are going through the same thing,” said Peers Advocating Wellness for Students executive and sophomore Aishea Henry.
Henry is heavily invested in the annual Clothesline Event on campus for personal reasons, but also to help raise awareness on a sensitive subject that many are afraid to talk about.
“When I went through it I had my parents to help me and not a lot of people have a supportive system around them, so that’s why I do it,” said Henry.
Having an intrinsic motive such as a personal experience is something that people looking to help others can heavily rely on. Henry utilizes her negative experience and uses it to motivate and advocate for herself and others every day.
Henry is a role model in terms of confidence, honesty and openness. But on the Assumption College campus, she isn’t alone when it comes to the effects of sexual assault.
It’s fair to say that there is a big push to bring awareness to sexual assault around our community. Here at Assumption College, they choose to make their impact in a prominent way on campus.
In an event like the Clothesline Project where those who have been affected by sexual assault make t shirts about their story, it’s easy for one to feel the support of others around them. However, despite the overwhelming enthusiasm surrounding this social issue, there is always the problem of someone feeling lost or alone when it comes to something as serious as this.
“The issue I had with [sexual assault] was that I was convinced that no one would believe me,” said a senior who works closely with Assumption’s ALANA network while majoring in political science, who has had experience with sexual assault that clearly affected him or her.
“It modified my choices a lot, I try to make sure there is a line between me and any guy that I’m dating,” said the student.
Though a tough subject to talk about, the student still holds some very strong opinions about how women are portrayed in today’s society.
“[Sexual assault] is one topic that needs to be talked about even more in terms of how women are perceived when they are assaulted,” said senior Vengie Telfort. “Teach young men that no means no, while protecting girls as well.”
While the perspective of women who are often the ones being afflicted in this scenario is important, men hold an important part in preventing sexual assault.
“As men, we shouldn’t establish dominance in any situation with a woman,” says sophomore basketball player Mathew Sulda. “As the more powerful party, men should have the urge to stop such things from happening rather than letting it slide because another man is involved. When you see something, don’t be afraid to speak up.”
Though Sulda didn’t make a t-shirt at this year’s Clothesline Project, he did say that he did feel the impact of the stories that were put on display.
“Some of these people have bravery that much of us can’t understand,” he said. “It’s admirable to think that these people could broadcast their stories for everyone to see. With people taking steps like this towards an issue so serious, it could and should bring us all together in terms of working towards a greater positive impact.”
If you want to get involved to help further change the silence revolving around sexual assault, you can contact Marie Vazquez, the Campus Advocate, PAWS or Pathways for Change.