LIVE hosts Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sarah Xing | Contributing Reporter

Leaders in Interpersonal Violence Education will partner with campus organizations to hold a series of programs about sexual violence in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The month’s events will include a clothesline project, various speaker events and conclude with Denim Day on April 24.

Leaders in Interpersonal Violence Education (LIVE) started the planning process last semester when thinking about which speakers to invite to campus.

“The first thing we started to do is to think about bringing in a big speaker, and finally we managed to invite Jessica Valenti,” LIVE Sexual Assault Awareness Month Chair and senior Alyssa Hunt said.

Jessica Valenti is a best-selling author and columnist whose work explores the intersections of feminism, politics and culture. She will give a talk, “Yes Means Yes,” April 9. LIVE will facilitate a discussion following Valenti’s talk on April 15.

According to senior LIVE co-president Monica Sass, they will also continue the tradition of hosting Take Back the Night April 17.

“[Take Back the Night is] time for those who experience violence to either personally or anonymously share their stories,” Sass said. “It’s a really impactful evening.”

Washington University will also participate in Yasmeen Mjalli’s Typewriter tour, “Not your Habibti: A Type Writer Project.” The project aims to collect stories centered around sexual misconduct and gender-based discrimination. According to junior Hanna Khalil, who helped organize the event, this is the University’s first time being a stop on the tour.

“I am looking forward to students’ reactions on the dialogue the event sparks on campus,” Khalil said. “I think the event will give nuanced perspectives on a lot of issues that matter to Wash. U. students about gender, sexual misconduct and how to have a more inclusive feminism.”

Funding is one of the challenges that LIVE encountered during the planning process. They were able to overcome that challenge by partnering with other organizations on campus.

“We need to make sure we have enough money to invite the speaker,” Sass said. “We cooperate with the Assembly Series, and it was able to cover the part of the cost for the speaker.”

The LIVE executive board members said they believe the upcoming month will create a more supportive community by motivating people to think about those issues.

“Over the past year, sexual violence became a more prominent issue around the campus and across the country,” Sass said. “This month’s programming is really important in grounding the conversation about sexual assault in the Wash. U. context. We should think and remember those issues are affecting people close to us, whether you know it or not.”

Hunt believes the month of events will have a lasting impact on students.

“More momentum is needed to get people mobilized, to get them keep working on activism and issues that exist, since we still have a long way to go,” Hunt said.

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