BY VERONES PADILLA
SC Staff Writer
On March 25 graduate student Sara Khan and student senator Efia King led a group of 55 students and faculty members in a march around campus to celebrate Women’s History Month and stand together against the sexual assault of women.
The march began on the quad in front of the Keystone Room. Graduate student Sara Khan spoke about women’s rights and the ideals of liberty that the Feminist Alliance believe.
The march, which both the Feminist Alliance and Student Senate hope to make an annual event, will have a different focus each year. This year the group chose to march against sexual assault of women on college campuses.
“I was so disturbed by the emails about sexual assaults on our campus that I thought, enough is enough,” said Khan.
The statistics on ESU’s website show very small numbers of reported sexual assaults in the last report issued early in 2013.
According the Annual Clery Crime and Fire Statistics Publication in 2012 there were 2 reports of forcible sex offenses on Campus and 2 reports of forcible sex offenses that occurred on campus housing. It is unclear if the offenses were 4 separate incidents. Statistics for 2013 are unavailable.
The group marched the perimeter of campus. Among attendees were President Marcia Welsh and Dr. Doreen Tobin Director of Student Affairs.
“It is important to send the message to others that sexual assault will not be tolerated. We need people to understand the problem and be a part of the solution,” said President Welsh.
Officer Andy Carrasco, police officer at ESU, also spoke to the crowd. Officer Carrasco told the crowd about the V.O.I.C.E center and R.A.D Defense systems, resources available to students at ESU.
The V.O.I.C.E Center, located on 411 Normal Street, is designed as a place where victims can heal and explore their legal and medical options. R.A.D is a self-defense class that teaches women what to do in case of rape aggression.
When asked if incidents of sexual assault had risen in the last year or so, Officer Carrasco offered said she didn’t believe so.“I don’t think the number of cases has risen. I think the number of reporting has. Which is a good thing because that means victims feel safe coming forward,” said Officer Carrasco.
King says the march came from a need for women to feel safe on campus and be free of sexual aggression.
“Sarah (Khan) came up with idea, and I thought, we have to get Student Senate behind this,” said King.
President of Student Senate Justin Amann, urged more men to stand up against sexual aggression.
“Violence against women just isn’t right and men need to stand up and stand against it,” said Amann.
The march ended at the steps of Stroud Hall where the crowd chanted a few more times and gathered at a reception. Student Senate, the Feminist Alliance and the students who participated left and one thing was clear, “A campus, united, will never be defeated!”
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