By Caitlin Williams
The week of Sept. 28 was an exciting time thanks to the events provided by the Committee on Consent Education and Awareness and the Safe Space Club. Their main goal was to raise awareness on the issue of sexual assault.
The first step to any problem is to raise awareness of that problem. Shayna Han ’15, on the Committee on Consent Education and Awareness, was “glad that Union was receptive to consent education” and felt that it was a great start, but that “there’s more work to be done.”
The week varied with many different events and started off with an hour-long sexual defense class. Abigail Lerhner ’18 attended this event because she wanted to learn self-defense. She thought it “was great for showing people the basics of defense from a potentially dangerous predator. I’m definitely glad I went. I feel a bit safer knowing I can do my best to protect myself.”
Not only was this a great experience for the students, but also for the instructor, Samantha Griffiths ’15. She was able to show off her skills in Tae Kwon Do and felt that last she was able to share a variety of techniques that students can utilize in various situations, not just sexual assault.
Another interesting event that took place during Sexual Assault Awareness week was a visit from Elizabeth A. Fisher, Esq. ’81 speaking about sexual assault and domestic violence.
On another day, there was an event for making consent garments at Reamer Campus Center. This event was really fun and allowed a creative way to bring awareness to a serious issue.
Toward the conclusion of the week, Party with Consent founder Jon Kalin gave a speech. His inspirational words went over well with a lot of athletes, and the consent panties made a big impact in Reamer. These four events were not the only events occurring on campus!
The biggest and final event of the week was Walk a Mile in her Shoes, sponsored by the Safe Space club. This is a classic event nationally where both men and women come together and walk a mile to bring awareness to sexual assault. The men wear high heels, so when they walk, they are actually “walking a mile in her shoes”.
Co-President of Safe Space Georgina Teasdale ’15 said, “we were so excited to see so many people, both men and women alike, participating in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. We are so lucky to be part of a community that cares so much and recognizes sexual assault as a problem to be fought.”
The event brought a lot of people together, from the Union community as well as the Schenectady community. From Union, many groups, including sports teams, fraternities and sororities, came to support and wear high heels. From the Schenectady community, Planned Parenthood, the Gazette and other individual members of the community came to support and advertise more about Walk a Mile in her Shoes.
Overall, Sexual Assault Awareness week was an amazing week with a great turn-out at all the events. Both Safe Space and the Committee on Consent Education and Awareness are planning having even more events to engage the Union community in the future.