Women’s center hosts artists on victims’ behalf

A rally to kick-start April’s Sexual Assault Awareness month took place at the Activies and Recreation Center, or ARC, on Thursday. The event, set up by the University’s Women’s Center, hosted speakers, performers and an exhibit from The Clothesline Project.

“The Women’s Center has a whole calendar of events for almost every day this month. It’s all about breaking the silence and bringing awareness to campus,” said Adriana Cortez, committee leader for the Clothesline Project and senior in LAS. “We wanted to use the project as a backrop for the kick-off. The idea is that women would share their stories while hanging up laundry. Each color shirt represents a certain issue. Blue is for incest. Purple represents someone who was attacked because of their sexual orientation.”

Encompassing the ARC’s foyer opposite the Courtside Cafe, a large collection of T-shirts hung from clothespins. In printed puff paint, one blue shirt read, “Dad, Grandpa, Uncle. These are the men who hurt me!” An ajacent red shirt had “No. It doesn’t go away after it’s over. The memories linger. The effects last.” scrolled in black permanent marker.

One of the performers at the rally was Kelly Durley, sophomore in FAA, who sang and strummed her guitar. She played “Hands clean” by Alanis Morissette and her own song, “Leafless Tree.”

She picked the songs because they addressed rape and sexual uncertainty issues on campus.

”A lot of girls struggle with when the right time is. If there is any pressure, then it’s not right,” Durley said.

Another performer, Stephanie Camba, sophomore in ACES, read her poem “She Could Be Your Mother.”

“It’s supposed to be a woman writing a letter to her son,” Camba said, “My hope is that maybe a rapist will hear it and know what he does affects everyone.”

Jenn Scott, the Women’s Center organizer for the event, followed the performers in saying that everyone present wishes for a rape-free society.

“Sexual assault is not a women’s issue,” she said. “It’s not a victim’s issue. It’s not just a topic for the feminists to get up on their soapbox. It’s a humanity issue.”