By Nickey Siegerman
On April 11, the Women’s Center and Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA) held their annual Walk-A-Lap for a Survivor, The Clothesline Project and Take Back the Night events as part of the “We Believe Survivors” campaign.
In MSU 218, the two organizations set up the three events to give students the opportunity to see statistics and proof from people who have survived sexually assault, domestic violence abuse and other types of violence inflicted on women and men of all ages.
In the morning, 218 was set up for Walk-A-Lap for a Survivor and the Clothesline Project. SafeBerks was also at the events. According to their website, they “provide a safe haven and ongoing support system for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.”
Their table held hotline numbers, tips on how to notice abuse and buttons and magnets with more information about them. It’s On Us and FMLA had informational tables set up outside as well.
For Walk-A-Lap, visitors were encouraged to learn, via a multitude of displays, how many veterans and active duty members are abused and if they did or did not report. The Office of Veterans Services then asks attendees if they’d like to participate in the indoor walk, and, if yes, people signed their names and emails and were given a glowstick to signify a candle. The visitors had a choice as to how many laps were walked.
The Clothesline Project consisted of different colored and decorated t-shirts highlighting people’s pasts on being abused, ranging from young to old, men and women. Visitors were encouraged to create shirts, even as an advocate. Advocates worked with white shirts.
Different types of abuse had different colors. Red, pink and orange were for sexual assault and rape survivors. Blue and green were for survivors of incest, domestic and sexual abuse. Purple or lavender represented being assaulted due to sexual orientation.
At night, the event was Take Back the Night. This was for those who have suffered from rape, abuse, domestic violence or any other related incidents. These individuals went up to the podium and spoke to the room full of people. The event was considered a safe space, so people’s names and stories were to remain in that room. People stood up and went public with what they’d been through, encouraged others to get help when needed and speak out,and reminded people that they were not alone.
Afterward, the march began. Those who attended were given signs and candles and performed a candlelight vigil. The women and men then took to campus to spread the word and bring a voice to those who have been oppressed, raped, sexually assaulted or affected by other forms of violence.