UNLV Hosts Event to Raise Awareness for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
Dayisha Boney walked through the circular tables reading the neon index cards placed on top of them. She chatted with other students, but their faces are solemn. After Boney visits the last table she sits down and exhales loudly. She looks distraught, her mouth pressed into a thin line.
“Well that was intense,” Boney said . “I would have killed him with my bare hands.”
Boney, a women’s studies student, is participating in an exercise called Walking the Walk, hosted by CARE Advocates. Participants have essentially “walked” through the steps of what a victim of sexual assault may experience.
CARE Advocates used room 209 of the student union to offer support and education on sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking on April 18.
“You have to make people aware of an issue if you really want to be active about solving it,’ said CARE Advocates president Carmella Gadsen.
Approximately 25 to 30 people showed up for the event. Attendees were dressed conservatively in dark jeans, long skirts and T-shirts.
The event began with a short speech from Gadsen and then participants were encouraged to take part. They start at one table, read a scenario typed on the back of brightly-colored index cards and then conversed with others. There were also picture collages of womens faces on one table with the words “trash,” “ugly,” “fault” and “worthless” written next to the pictures.
Students were broken up into groups of five to six people. The seriousness of the topic was evident by their faces. They shook their heads, looking disgusted while reading about the assault situations. A woman wearing a baseball cap had to make an attempt to conceal her tears.
But one table drew more attention than the others. There, some CARE Advocates explained the contents of a rape kit.
Gadsen had personal reasons for getting involved with the CARE Advocates. Her mother was a survivor of domestic violence.
“Rape is not OK,” Gadsen said.
CARE Advocates coordinator, Ashlyn Gray stressed the importance of having a program like this on campus. She has been part of the program since 2006 and prior to that was once an administrative assistant for the women’s center. She saw a rise in people coming to the center for help and wanted to make sure the resources were there for them.
“One year ago we had 10 to 20 advocates and now we’ve grown to 42,” Gray said.
She explained that not all students are dealing with sexual assault on campus. Some situations are happening at home, in dorms or at parties.
“We get calls from the health center,” Gray said.“ We get calls from professors saying something is happening and they were meeting with a student.”
CARE Advocates want to make the UNLV community aware that resources are available for victims so they can continue their education. There is a 24/7 telephone hotline available and advocates are trained to help all genders and the LGBT community.
The event closed with CARE Advocates walking around to students offering final words.
The focus of the event was to give students a better understanding of what sexual assault victims go through. The event may be over but the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking are not.
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