Sexual assault — two small words, which together harness the power to silence a room. On Thursday, August 22 during the annual UNCG Clothesline Project T-Shirt Making event, that silence is exactly what ensued. As a crowd of students and staff alike gathered to bring awareness to the ever-increasing issues of sexual assault and domestic violence, an abundance of love and a wave of supportive whispers filled the room.
The conversation surrounding sexual assault has become much wider spread and deeper on a local and national level. An increase in awareness efforts have been brought to national attention by celebrities. Movements surrounding the topic such as ‘Me Too’ and ‘Time’s Up’ have greatly increased the commonality of both normalized discussion about sexual assault, and sexual assault prevention awareness. It is easy to think that it will never happen to you, yet the statistics argue a different matter. Statistically, one in five women and one in seventy men will be sexually assaulted at least once in their lifetime.
To many, sexual assault is oftentimes just another article in the newspaper or headline on the local broadcast. For many others, however, sexual assault is an unfortunate reality. Why wait for the unimaginable to happen when you can take a stand against it and show your support for its victims today? It is up to each of us as individuals to stand up to the perpetrators of this traumatic crime.
The UNCG Department of Recreation and Wellness will hold its annual Sexual Assault Awareness Week event this week on the Jackson Library Lawn organized by UNCG’s Alpha Chi Omega Sorority. T-Shirts with handcrafted messages will line the lawn throughout the week. Each shirt will feature a story of how violence has affected the life of the shirt-maker. Each of these stories is deserving of the utmost respect and sensitivity.
Whether or not you have been personally victimized by the horrors of sexual assault, someone you love more than likely has. Surviving sexual assault and domestic violence is never easy. The trauma that accompanies these experiences often takes a lifetime to move past. Through the Clothesline Project, students and members of the community alike are given the opportunity to gather in a safe place and let their stories be heard.
Come out to the Jackson Library Lawn and support the community in bringing awareness to the current crisis of sexual assault. Every story deserves to be heard, and it’s up to you to do your part.