Many students will have noticed t-shirts hanging on clotheslines in Schrock Plaza. These shirts are part of the Clothesline Project, and they went up on Sunday to signify the start of Domestic and Sexual Violence Awareness Week at Goshen College.
The week featured many different events intended to raise the campus community's awareness of domestic and sexual violence. These events are taking place during October because, along with being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month.
All of the week's events focused on raising awareness of serious issues. Some events were very local, such as Monday’s convocation, while others were part of a national movement, such as Thursday’s “Take Back the Night” event and the weeklong Clothesline Project.
In Monday’s convo, presenter Kendra Yoder revealed some eye-opening facts about sexual violence. “At least 1 in 4 college women will be the victim of a sexual assault in their career,” Yoder said. She then presented a video detailing four survivors' stories and gave students tips to reduce the risk of being victims of sexual violence.
At Goshen College the Domestic and Sexual Violence Awareness Week has some history. For example, the Clothesline Project was first done in the late 90s and was organized by a student who had previous experience with the project due to her work with a service organization.
As Goshen College English professor Beth Martin Birky, director of the college's women studies program, explained, “There had been individual events, and we had guest speakers, and then probably around six or seven years ago there was some effort from social work professor Carol Jarvis to coordinate all these efforts into a single week.”
“All of the events actually, except for the convocation, have been student-initiated events, and even the convocation was planned by students,” Birky said. The students and the events were helped by a grant that was secured by Char Hostetler. This Sexual Assault Prevention Coalition grant is intended to help raise campus awareness of sexual violence. Different college clubs also contributed with the funding for the week’s activities.
Birky hopes that the week’s events raise awareness and that in the end people realize that this is not only a local event but a national, and even global, issue.
Thursday (10/27): Candlelight Vigil in Schrock Plaza at 9:45 p.m. Hosted by PAX.
Friday (10/28): Wear purple and teal day.