Written by Emma CrowE
Content Warning: Discusses sexual assault and harassment
Did you know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month?
The CWU Wellness Center and the Prevention, Advocacy, Training, Healing (P.A.T.H.) program aim to build a supportive community on campus. The goal of Show Up, Speak Out is to raise awareness about sexual assault and show survivors that they have a supportive community on campus.
Show Up, Speak Out
The event is on Tuesday, April 26, 2022 in the SURC Ballroom from 4 – 7 p.m. There will be an open mic/survivor speak out, learning opportunities with student organizations, food, music, and crafts.
Attend to hear survivor stories and other creative means of expression through an open mic session. The topics will be heavy, but it is a safe space for people to speak out about their experiences. It’s an opportunity to be vulnerable. If you want to sign up for the open mic, email Katie Parks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You might be on the fence about performing or speaking, and that’s ok. You don’t have to do anything that you don’t feel ready for. However, I want to tell you about why I am speaking at the event.
I have experienced trauma in the 20 years I have been on this earth. I was taught, conditioned, led to believe I should never speak about the things I experienced. After all, what could I do about it? Would my words change the behavior of harassers around the world?
At the time, I didn’t believe my words could do anything. Then I began to write. I’m a creative writer, it’s what I do. But this time, I began to write about what was true. I wrote poetry about the harassment, the assaults, the trauma I have survived. And I discovered something.
Writing about these terrible things offered me relief. It didn’t heal me, but it did empower me. I won’t stay silent anymore. I will wield my pen and paper and call out the people who take pleasure in hurting others.
My poetry became a place that I could safely process my trauma, and then it became a place for me to make a stand.
This will be my first poetry reading, and the first time that I will read my work about harassment to people I don’t know. I am terrified. I will probably cry. But I will finally Show Up, and Speak Out against the men who have stalked me, the people I thought were my friends, the professor my freshman year of college, and anyone else who has hurt me in ways no one should be hurt.
I hope you find something that can empower you too. Whether it’s poetry, music, or something else entirely, find your personal safe space. When it’s time to share, your CWU community will be here for you.
I hope to see you on April 26 at 4 p.m. in the SURC Ballroom. If you need resources, please visit the P.A.T.H. website.