Vigil honors sexual abuse victims

Vigil honors sexual abuse victims

By Drew Bonifant

The Resident Student Association (RSA) and Delta Phi Epsilon sponsored their annual “Take Back the Night” event, a tribute to victims of sexual abuse, in the West Addition of the Curry Student Center Thursday night. The tribute began with a candlelight vigil and a moment of silence in front of Ell Hall to commemorate victims of sexual abuse. This was followed by a long walk around campus that finished at the West Addition. Catherine Armato, vice president for programming for Delta Phi Epsilon and assistant vice president for programming for RSA, coordinated the event and opted for a wider scope, rather than focusing only on violence. “In years past, it’s mainly focused on violence against women,” said the middler English and pre-law major. “Though it was this year, I wanted to make it more universal and involve a male audience so they can see it from a male standpoint.” Periel Aschenbrand, a T-shirt designer and writer who approves of independent, strong-willed female behavior and denounces the dominating male role and all forms of sexual abuse, spoke at the event. Aschenrand also denounced conservative politics, a stance that is part of the influence behind the title of her book, “The Only Bush I Trust is My Own.” Aschenbrand’s speech conveyed the seriousness of sexual abuse and the chances women have to help themselves, which Kate Zasada, a sophomore business major and general counselor for RSA, said was a major purpose for the event. “It’s great this many people turned out on a weeknight, because it’s a great opportunity to use Sex Week to educate people of the sexual violence, directed toward women,” Zasada said. Armato also said getting one point across to a large audience can sometimes be difficult. “Pariel did an awesome job, but it’s tough to communicate with an audience like this,” she said. “It’s tough to relate, and to really opens your eyes to it.” Many in the audience agreed on sexual abuse’s importance for discussion.

“I came because I am interested in sexual assault. I’m in a rape crisis counseling class, so this is a part of life,” said Christina Rossi, a junior human services major. “I’ve always been interested in it. In my major, I had to focus on one area. I feel rape awareness is what people need to be aware of.” Chris Casorio, a middler business major, said he thought sexual assault was “an incredibly big problem” facing students. “It’s something that a lot of people face, he said. “It happens a lot more than people think.”

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