One in five women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, and activists are not allowing the issue to be ignored any longer by spreading the word and trying to put a stop to the violence.
Ellen Collier, program coordinator of Eastern Michigan University’s Women’s Resource Center, is trying to put an end to sexual violence. She is doing so by spreading awareness and offering the WRC’s services to any sexual assault survivors and women in general.
“It is a choice to perpetrate sexual assault. They cannot blame alcohol or the media or her. There is no excuse ultimately,” said Collier, helping to spread the word on Carry That Weight. “There are people on this campus who care and want to help survivors.”
Collier held a sexual assault awareness and Carry That Weight discussion at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
The Carry That Weight movement began when a student at Columbia University, Emma Sulkowicz, was raped in her campus dorm last October and began carrying her mattress around campus with her wherever she went. She is still carrying her mattress and will continue to do so until the person who raped her is expelled.
The WRC is trying to find new ways to inform the public and the Eastern Michigan community about sexual violence.
“We really need to do something about sexual assault on campus. There needs to be more awareness overall,” said Alex Burgess, business administration major.
Members of EMU’s Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention discussed the Title IX rights every student possesses. They are direct guidelines that the university and those involved must follow when the act of sexual assault occurs.
During the discussion, a poem was presented by members of the Poetry Society that was inspired by the Carry That Weight movement. It involved a very descriptive and graphic encounter of men sexually assaulting women.
“We don’t talk about sexual violence in our culture,” said Simone Dixon, series programmer for the WRC, who spoke with Collier about the issue.
The WRC will be holding an event called Take Back the Night on April 7 at 7 p.m. It’s for men and women to march against sexual violence.
“This discussion was really great. It’s necessary. I’m glad to see these types of events on campus; it’s really important,” said Sarah Flavell, graduate student who majored in women and gender studies.
The WRC is open to help past and present victims cope with what has happened, as well as give support. They are located in room 356 of the Student Center.