When trying to break a stigma, it requires a wave of people shouting out against what’s right and what’s wrong.
On Friday, April 6, the Keene State College Sexual Assault and Violence Education Committee, in partner with local groups, presented the annual Shout-Out Against Sexual Violence event.
The event highlighted the stories of three individuals who had each faced forms of sexual assault. The speakers shared their personal stories and provided a hand to hold while others shared their traumas.
The topic of sexual assault can be a difficult one to discuss, especially when dealing with a first-hand experience of it, one of the speakers explained.
However, she expressed the necessity of discussing it. “I think it’s very important for anyone to be able and have the opportunity to speak up about such violence and such wrongs. I think being able to acknowledge that these things aren’t normal, these things aren’t okay, in a more public setting is really important,” she continued.
“I’m very grateful that I had this opportunity to speak. Obviously sharing stories that like is really difficult, but it’s always nice to have a safe area and a safe space, and safe people, to be able to speak with.”
Recent New England College graduate Anthony Boame attended the event after seeing an advertisement for it on social media.
However, Boame also expressed his interest in sexual assault prevention.
“I think this is something that I always have kind of been passionate about. I care about this because it’s a problem, and you can ruin someone’s life,” Boame said.
Despite the small turn out, Boame said he enjoyed the event.
“I loved it, I loved that people were speaking out. It doesn’t matter about the amount of people, it matters about the content.”
When asked his thoughts on the importance of the event, Boame explained, “A lot of us have grown up in rape culture.”
Boame expressed his view that sexual violence has almost become a social norm in the media.
“Sometimes you don’t realize you’re in the culture, and events like this teach people about it,” Boame said.
The event was put on by the KSC Sexual Assault and Violence Education Committee. According to senior Dakota Umbro, each year, one to two members of the committee will step up and organize the event. This year, Umbro and junior Brianna Hankel took on the leadership positions.
Umbro explained her reason for organizing the event.
“I’m a firm believer in shouting out against sexual violence from both my own experience and just how it is perpetuated throughout our culture in general. I would like to do whatever I can to fight that,” Umbro said.
She continued, “I think with events like this, it brings people and survivors together and some solidarity as well.”
At the end of the night, Umbro expressed her hopes for the audience’s take away.
“You’re not alone, and maybe one day we can finally beat it,” Umbro said.
Erin McNemar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org