The issue of sexual assault is one that plagues college campuses nationwide. The events planned by the Drew University Feminist Union (DUFU) for Sexual Assault Awareness Week were designed to shed light on this important and detrimental issue affecting all colleges. DUFU President Megan McAleavy (’13) said the purpose of this week is to draw attention to the issue of sexual assault, especially at Drew.
“Sexual assault does happen on campus,” McAleavy said. “What we’re trying to do is focus on what we can do to help survivors and prevent sexual assault entirely.”
DUFU started the week with a body painting event on Tuesday in the Commons at lunch and at dinner where students could paint words on their bodies. Students were able to paint things such as “You’re Beautiful” on their arms.
“The event was about self-empowerment,” McAleavy said. “Self-empowerment is a big part of helping survivors of sexual assault.”
On Wednesday, DUFU organized a bystander intervention friendship bracelet making event. McAleavy said she wanted to encourage people to think about what they would do if sexual assault happened to their friends. Above all, she encouraged students to know the options they have for seeking help and what the consequences are for each.
“Students should know what happens if they go to ResLife, Health Services or counseling,” McAleavy said. “All those options have different outcomes and students should know them all so they can make the right choice.”
A self-defense class was held on Thursday. In years past, DUFU had hired out a person to teach the self-defense class. This year, the publicist of DUFU had training in martial arts to teach the class, saving the club money. “I think it’s great that we were able to put on the event low budget,” McAleavy said. “It means there’s more money for other clubs to use.”
Tonight, DUFU will hold an open mic night at 9 p.m. in The Other End. Their last event for the week will be on Sunday at 8 p.m. in Brothers College called “Take back the night.”
Although the club was forced to reschedule the week due to Hurricane Sandy, according to McAleavy they received surprisingly large turnouts for each of the events.
McAleavy said she hoped the week would help prevent sexual assault on campus. “Everyone can do something to prevent sexual assault by changing the campus culture,” McAleavy said.“If we can change the culture on campus and the perception of rape, sexual assault will occur less because people will know more.”
Events planned for the spring semester include Sex Week as well as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which will include the “clothesline project.” McAleavy said the event was traditionally held during Sexual Assault Awareness Week but was moved to Sexual Assault Awareness Month due to the way the club planned it.