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It’s not a familiar image, 273 women and men gathered in the Graham University Center holding glowsticks, and listening to the stories of two sexual assault survivors. But that is what participants saw, and it was empowering.
On Tuesday, April 8 at University Park and Thursday, April 10 at Biscayne Bay Campus, students and staff from 15 student clubs and organizations, and 10 departments within Student Affairs came together to to promote sexual assault awareness among the campus community. The event was a part of Greek Week 2008 and was supported by every FIU team coach and athletic team.
The night began with a welcome from the event tri-chairs Lourdes Martin, Suzanne Onorato and Raquel Wright, followed by two speakers who shared their stories of survival and spoke about the scope of the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. Participants were then provided with glowsticks and marched through the Graham Center. As they marched they read stories, poems and statistics, and participated in ten educational “stations.” At one station, facilitated by Phi Mu and the Women’s Studies Student Association, students used their hands and paint to indicate their pledge that “These Hands Won’t Hurt”. Another groups viewed life sized silhouettes of women whose stories of survival were depicted on the silhouette. Students also participated in a self defense demonstration sponsored by the National Organization for Women (NOW). Following the march, students returned to the ballrooms where they viewed a presentation by Elika Narette and Dina Asis from the Victim Advocacy Center, outlining how women are objectified in the media. The evening was brought to a close by Raquel Wright of the Women’s Center who charged us to think about how we can make a difference and stop sexual assault.
In addition, a number of pre-events also took place. The Interfraternity Council created a display of flags in the Chapman Plaza indicating the representation of women at FIU who statistically would be impacted by sexual assault, 1 in 4. Two lyrical dance pieces were also performed by Jenice Fernandez, Ms. FIU 2007 and Michelle and Alexandra Montesino. Michelle serves as the current Ms. FIU. In addition, the women of Lambda Theta Alpha Sorority sponsored the “Clothesline Project.”