Rows of hand decorated t-shirts lined the Colorado State University Plaza, telling a stories of survivors and those affected by interpersonal violence.
These shirts are a way that victims can keep moving on with their story and journey, said Ambria Merriez, a student aide at CSU’s Women and Gender Advocacy Center.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. April 10, the WGAC put on an interactive event aiming to explain consent and bring awareness about its importance called Plaza Day, Merriex said.
At the booths students could make glitter jars, aromatic Plato, write on a white board about how they get consent and tie dye “consent turns me on” t-shirts.
For Merriez, the CTMO t-Shirts along with the reframe t-shirts, which show a pie graph showing that rapists are the only reason for rape, are a big attraction for students participating in Plaza Day.
“We can joke about it but still understand the meaning and message behind it,” Merriez said. “A lot of students look forward to this.”
Along with the WGAC, there were several supporting organizations with booths at the event including Crossroads Safehouse, beforeplay.org, Creating Respect and Educating Wellness for and by Students, Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center and Students United for Reproductive Justice. Representatives from the Red Whistle Brigade and Men in the Movement were also there.
Skye Lewis is with the student group SURJ, which is partnered with Planned Parenthood.
“(We are) just being here and letting people know that we know and we care,” Lewis said. “We’re here for you. We have safe places for you to be and talk to people and also if you want to join stuff there’s ample opportunity and different places to find something that you want to do if you’d like to do that.”
The Fort Collins’ SAVA Center offers support for those who are affected by sexual assault by providing services such as therapy, support at hospitals and with police and a 24-hour hotline.
“We just want to promote the message of believing and empowering survivors and being a resource there,” said SAVA Center representative Lucy Nuremberg. “We want to make more CSU students more aware of our presence in case they need us.”
CSU student Natalya Clasen participated in the Plaza Day. She is currently enrolled in several women’s and ethnic studies classes.
“I think WGAC’s Plaza Day was influencial, coming from someone who feels like she knows a good amount about regarding consent and the topics that the WGAC presented and educated about,” Clasen said. “It is crucial that the things that the WGAC teaches is presented often and actively.”
According to Clasen, events like these are important for dismantling rape culture at CSU and beyond.
“CSU needs to be aware of the supportive rape culture we live in, and I think that the more we as a community talk about it, the bigger of a difference we can make in dismantling this harmful environment.”
For information on events put on by the WGAC and other events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month visit their website at wgac.colostate.edu.
Collegian reporter Zoe Jennings can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @zoe_jennings4.