On April 15, the WCC Sexual Violence Prevention Project sponsored an event on campus called No More/No More Excuses. The event featured three students from the theatre department who read aloud the many excuses that people use to justify rape.
She was wearing tight jeans. She was asking for it by wearing suggestive clothes. She was flirting online. She was his steady girlfriend. She was drunk and partying. She had it coming. She was his wife. She has sex for money. She cannot hear, talk or report. You assumed consent.
After the students read the excuses, they read the reasons the excuses are no good. There is no excuse not to support survivors. There is no excuse to joke about rape. There is no excuse not to support male survivors.
Also at the event were three survivors of sexual assault and child abuse. The three women shared moving personal stories and inspiring poetry.
One survivor talked about how her father used to break her feet with a hammer. He would tell her that he wanted her to remember with every step she took what he would do to her if she ever told anyone what he was doing to her at night.
Another student shared her poetry about a rape that she experienced.
The third student shared stories of her abuse as a child. She wants people to feel safe and supported when they tell their story to someone and believes it is important to talk about this issue in order to raise awareness and break down the barriers that keep people from reaching out for help.
“The word that comes to heart is courage,” said Debra Ledward, a student who attended the event. “How you gonna know how to help, if you don’t know about domestic abuse?”
“It’s powerful stuff,” said student Mike Andrews. “It would have been nice if more people had been there, because it’s important to have a platform for people to both talk about it and hear about it.”
WCC is proactive when it comes to abuse prevention, organizing events and programs to keep students safe on campus and to raise awareness about how to stay safe at all times.
During April’s Sexual Violence Awareness Month and Child Abuse Awareness Month, there was focused education about believing victims if they come to you with a confession of abuse. It is important to believe them and offer support because the wrong reaction can cause more trauma for the victim.
WCC counselor Kate Zane who chairs the Sexual Violence Prevention Project can be contacted through the counseling office in ‘Ākoakoa 212 for support or questions.
by Cynthia Lee Sinclair, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter