Speaking out against sexual violence

The Women’s Resource Center’s latest event focused on connecting students with local resources.

Lydia Bowen, Guest Reporter

*Content Warning: SA, DA, Gender-Based Violence*


Handmade signs decorated Alumni Way for Take Back the Campus on Sept. 29. (Chetha Ny)

Colorful tablecloths lined Alumni Way during the Women’s Resource Center’s (WRC) annual Take Back The Campus event on Thursday, Sept. 29. 

Signs with bold marker were staked into the grass and a bright yellow sign nearby called for passersby to make their own. While onlookers may not have witnessed a crowd, event organizers were optimistic about their impact.

“I think holding space for people who have been victims of sexual assault is really important, but also a space that’s not just for them to come out and talk about it, a space where there’s other people who they know can relate to those experiences,” said Summer Reid, the WRC’s graduate intern.

Reid and her colleagues work from the WRC on the third floor of Anderson, where they plan programming centered around supporting women, and provide sexual and menstrual health supplies for all gender identities.

Along with the WRC, there were tables from Peer Wellness, SOS, Women Boss Up, Counseling and Health Services, Tubman and Breaking Free. While each organization had a slightly different angle on tackling the issue of gender violence, there was consensus on the importance of being present and giving students the opportunity to express themselves.

Chetha Ny

Sharing personal stories was a big part of the event. A clothesline was filled with testimonies from students and a Hamline alumni, K Mclendon, performed soon-to-be-published poetry based on their experience with discrimination. Attendees snapped and whooped during the latter, a touching gesture of solidarity that cut through the autumn chill.

“This is an event about believing that sexual assault, harrassment, discrimination, et cetera, happens on our campus as well as within our communities,” Title IX coordinator Patti Kersten said in her speech. “And, equally as important, it’s about that we can work to prevent [it] and create a community that we really want to have, that is violence free.”

Taking on the task of preventing violence in a community may seem insurmountable to a student still unsure of their place in society. Rojo Andriamihaja with Tubman explained that learning everything you can will enable you to speak up when the time is right.

“A lot of our prevention work is focused on education,” she said. “For college students, the best way [is] still education and really getting involved in learning about all the different systems that can play into domestic violence and intimate partner violence … and having those conversations.”

Students who would like to take a more active approach in educating their peers have the option to join one of the several advocacy groups on campus. More information about student orgs and their events can be found at hamline.presence.io.

Chetha Ny