Day of Accountability: RI Student Collaborative

Ashley Barrow

The Rhode Island Student Collaborative (RISC) held “Day of Accountability: Students for Violence Free Campuses” on April 29. RISC consists of a group of students from numerous Rhode Island colleges who have come together over the past few months to start a movement standing out against sexual assault and domestic violence. There have been meetings held every few Sunday’s at different locations throughout Rhode Island to discuss plans for spreading this awareness.

The objective of the long planned event was to inform everyone about expectations for addressing sexual violence on Rhode Island Campuses. This includes a document created by students and collaborative members to inform others.

The event began with the participants being invited to participate in the activities taking part on the Statehouse lawn. Some of these activities included the Clothesline Project, Panting Pulping, and writing notes of empowerment.

According to a website: verahouse.org the Clothesline Project is part of an international effort to educate people about the personal impact of sexual violence. The project offers women, men and children & their supporters, an opportunity to have a voice surrounding issues of sexual abuse and assault. Survivors express themselves artistically by creating personally designed T-shirts in a variety of media, which are displayed together publicly. For many survivors, the Clothesline Project offers an important step on their individual healing journey, by “breaking the silence”. Some of the messages displayed on the t-shirts at the clothesline project read “sexual abuse kills” and “stop the violence”.

According to peacepaperproject.org Panty Pulping is a public intervention by Peace Paper Project that calls an end to sexual and domestic violence in all forms. Panty Pulping is literally the transformation of underwear into paper art as a means of addressing the unmentionable. This workshop promotes consent, non-violence, and creative expressions of resilience through hand papermaking. After attendees participated in this project they were instructed by students to write their name and address on the peace of pink paper and it would be mailed to their home address.

Some of the words of empowerment featured words such as: we are in this together, know your worth, and help each other. There was also inspiring music playing in the background during the event including songs such as “I’m a Survivor” by Destiny’s Child and “No” by Meaghan Trainer. Everyone was singing and dancing along while being educated on such an important topic of sexual abuse and domestic violence.

After about an hour and a half went by at the event everyone got quiet and speakers came up to talk about what the event is and what it meant to them. Some of these speakers included Rachel Dunham, Assistant Coordinator, Violence Prevention and Advocacy Services at the Women’s Center of University of Rhode Island and Pamela Moffatt-Limoges, Director of Public Safety.

A survivor of domestic violence at a Pennsylvania college spoke up about her story in front of everyone at the event. Individuals in the audience were truly inspired by her story by the looks on their faces in the audience.

After these speakers, a group of nine students read the full document with each student reading about one of the expectations.

Also, present at the event were JWU staff members Kristen Buglione, Director of Health Education and Lesley Roy, Clinical Counselor Trauma Specialist, Counseling Services.

In a follow up email sent out to the collaborative members Dunham had this to say: “I cannot express enough thanks to all of you for your participation in the RI Student Collaborative this past year. I am extremely proud of all the hard work that was put into making the Day of Accountability- Students for Violence-Free Campuses event a success and you should all be proud of yourselves. The event had a great turn out- with about 80 people in attendance during the speaking portion. We displayed the RI Statewide Clothesline Project, had a Panty Pulping Activity, and a variety of resource tables represented.”

 

Ashley Barrow

Editor-In-Chief