April, the month dedicated to Sexual Assault Awareness, prompted the MSU organizations Take Back the Night, Sexual Crisis Intervention Team, and Students Standing with Survivors to host a combined Solidarity Event.
MSU Clubs come together for combined Solidarity Event dedicated to Sexual Assault Awareness
In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness month, clubs of MSU sought to spread awareness
Among the many activities and speakers of the night, the leaders of the event began with a circle of solidarity, allowing attendees to be vulnerable and share their experiences with the individual groups. Using a ball of yarn, each person who talked got a chance to hold the yarn, resulting in an interconnected web.
In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, The Clothesline Project presents a unique way to spread awareness. As stated in its mission description, The Clothesline Project celebrates the strength and courage of women who have survived acts of violence and provides a testimonial to those who did not survive.
This project, which is nationally widespread, helps to give the women “a new voice with which to expose an often horrific and unspeakable experience that has dramatically altered the course of her life,” according to the website.
Through the making of the T-shirts, women are taking a stand against the previous silence that has been a part of their experience.
Neuroscience senior Anusha Mamidipaka, President of MSU's Sexual Crisis Intervention Team, which was one of the hosts of the event, spoke on her personal journey to Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention.
“The whole reckoning we had as an MSU campus ... I’ve kind of seen how we’ve grown since then,” Mamidipaka said. “I think we’re a lot more aware of the prevalence of sexual violence and the role that institutions have in that, and I think that MSU has taken steps to address that. One big thing that they did, which I really admire, is they built the Sexual Assault Healthcare Program in the Student Service building.”
The building itself, which is where the event was hosted, is a solid step for the awareness of sexual assault, which is what spurned Mamidipaka's passion for advocacy.
The Clothesline Project, an important movement for women who have experienced sexual assault, is said to “symbolize the lifeline that can and must be created when survivors join together in support of each other.” Created in Cape Cod, MA, in 1990, this movement has provided healing and supreme advocacy for sexual violence around the nation. MSU, which had been using this movement on campus before stopping, has now been brought up again by Anusha Mamidipaka, President of MSUSACI, and other members of the group.
As the event continued, the Bead Activity, or a silent moment of reflection, was brought forth. After putting two clear cylinders on the table, the group was asked to come up, one by one, to pick up beads from one cylinder and put it into the other. Each bead, representing someone that has been affected by sexual violence, made a resounding clatter in the silent room, showcasing how prevalent the issue is.
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Freshman member Ananyaa Asthana wished for something to drive her passion for advocacy, and Take Back the Night did just that.
“I was in menstrual equity clubs,” she said. “But then one of my friends ... she posted on her Instagram about this club.”
After the initial start, Asthana kept going, fueled by her desire to advocate for such an important cause.
“Because I have been always a very strong advocate for sexual violence awareness,” Asthana said. “I really do believe that education and giving resources to survivors to heal, and then pass on their knowledge, if they feel comfortable with that, is one of the biggest tools. This should not be something that we have to host every year. This has to be something that we do for prevention, and hopefully one day, you know, the future of the world, they won’t have to deal with this.”