Monday, August 2, 2021

POSSE: Survivors' teal flags to be returned with messages of support

April 19, 2021
<p>Teal flags signed in support of sexual assault victims photographed on April 3, 2019. The flags were signed by at least 4,000 MSU students with words of support for survivors of sexual assault.</p>

Teal flags signed in support of sexual assault victims photographed on April 3, 2019. The flags were signed by at least 4,000 MSU students with words of support for survivors of sexual assault.

Photo by Mila Murray | The State News

To all survivors of sexual violence on Michigan State University’s campus, we, the parents of those assaulted and abused by an MSU doctor, stand behind you in your pain and remain hopeful for your healing. 

We understand the difficult, lifelong journey you are on. For that reason, a group of mothers and student supporters spent hundreds of hours tabling from September 2018 through March 2019, asking students on campus to write messages of support to survivors on teal prayer flags. We, Parents of Sister Survivors Engage, sewed the flags and strung them together in lines of unity for all survivors to be displayed during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 

While 505 flags hung in East Lansing during April 2019 in recognition of a specific group of survivors, another group of flags hung on campus in the MSU Museum for those who came forward to us at those tables with stories of their own. 

Many were hesitant and wrote only their initials or a first name. Some shared their stories in a painful step in acknowledging their traumas, but that step, we hope, was one on a journey toward healing and a future in which many more understand and support survivors. 

Our intention is to return the flags — with fellow students’ messages — to the young people who signed their names. After nearly a year of requests, POSSE has at last taken possession of the flags back from the MSU Museum.

If you or someone you know signed a flag and would like to receive it, please text 517-930-0346. You may continue to remain anonymous. We will either mail the flag or drop it off at a location near campus.

Valerie von Frank

Parents of Sister Survivors Engage

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