By Holly Watford
“One in 4 women in college today has been the victim of rape, and nearly 90 percent of them knew their rapist,” Robin Warshaw said. To hear these statistics is earthshattering. Most of us believe that the people who we consider friends would never do anything to harm us. We put our faith and trust in those we share that intimate bond with. To have that broken can be life- altering. Going to the art exhibit by AUM alumna Shay Baily, I did not know what to expect. I knew that the occasion for the event was Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In my mind, I never thought that sexual assault on campus was a common thing. Seeing it on the news is one thing. You think that never happens around here. In reality, it happens all the time.
Shay Baily was the victim of sexual assault when she was a senior in high school. She was attending a party with some friends when a male comrade brought her a drink. After Baily began to feel bad, she asked her male friend to take her home not knowing that he put something in her drink. He later sexually assaulted her. Baily’s art exhibit, “Full Exposure,” displayed the emotions that she felt when she was assaulted. It shows her anger, fear and resentment. In the end, however, it showed her moving forward with her life. The main message that Baily wanted to express in her artwork was that she was a survivor. She wanted to let others know that it is okay to talk about what happened and, ultimately, understand that it is not your fault.
For the month of April, AUM is stressing the importance of campus safety. The AUM Counseling Center is encouraging everyone to sign the pledge to join the “Not on My Campus” movement. This pledge signifies that our campus will not stand for sexual assault, and together we can make our campus a safe place. On April 22, from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., the Counseling Center will be on the quad asking people to support the pledge. They are asking that people write “Not on My Campus” on their hand, take a picture of it and post it on Facebook with the hashtag #NOMC-AUM. AUM is also providing a Rape Aggression Defense class for all women. This course will help teach women how to protect themselves. R.A.D. training is on April 20-23 and 27-30 from 4-7 p.m. in the Library Tower. On the last day of class, there will be an assault simulation so that the students can test the defense skills that they have learned.
If you would like to sign the pledge to join the Not on My Campus movement go to http://goo.gl/forms/esqkbXtCkj. To RSVP to the R.A.D. classes e-mail the Counseling Center at email@example.com. Together we can make a difference and stop the assaults.
Photo courtesy of Holly Watford