Temple students raised awareness of sexual violence with Walk TU
Walk TU is the first of many activities to observe Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Temple University students and faculty participated in Walk TU, a walk to raise awareness and support survivors of sexual violence.
Approximately 270 participants gathered in Temple University’s Founders Garden at the start of the event. The shaded area was decorated with art created by local artists and students from Tyler School of Art. Clotheslines, covered in t-shirts with statements and statistics about sexual violence, hung from the trees in Founder’s Garden. A large sign made of fence material with “We walk because we believe you” on it stood on posts in the bushes. A queen-sized mattress presented the statistic, “1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetime,” leaning on a wall between two benches.
“We decided we were going to have an art collective,” said Amelia Burns, an event coordinator and journalism and political science student. “We got the mattress from a local Philly artist; we had Tyler students make something. Honestly, my favorite part was the art. I think it was a really cool addition from last year.”
Once in the Garden, students listened to a few speeches before embarking on a journey through Temple’s campus. The participants exited Founder’s Garden and moved up Polett Walk towards Broad Street. The walkers then paraded on Broad Street and made a left onto Cecil B. Moore Avenue. They continued onto 12th Street and then made it back to Polett Walk.
“This [event] stood out to me,” said Arianna Santos, a journalism student participating in Walk TU. “I believe in the cause to end sexual violence. I think, in this day and age, it shouldn’t be something that happens anymore.”
The Wellness Resource Center and Student Activists Against Sexual Assault coordinated the event. Women Organized Against Rape, an organization dedicated to helping survivors of sexual violence that recently developed a partnership with Temple University, and Title IX were also involved with the event. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the event was planned as a way to start it off.
“The goal is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence,” said Dr. Monique Howard, the executive director of Women Organized Against Rape. “This month is time for us to reflect on how sexual assault and violence affects everybody within the community and to take action to stop sexual assault. This year the Sexual Assault Awareness Month theme is diversity and engaging diverse voices in the conversation about sexual assault and interpersonal violence.”
Walk TU is replacing an event called Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. The event was changed due to the name limiting involvement from transgender and non-binary students. The event was also changed because the original event title implied that men could not experience sexual assault. SAASA worked with the Wellness Resource Center to create a more inclusive event that welcomed all Temple University students.
Participants were encouraged to support friends and other people in their surrounding community. Guest speakers also encouraged participants to educate themselves on sexual violence and how to help others.
“Please use this month to help educate you[rself] more on sexual violence and on how to support survivors,” said Andrea Seis, Temple University’s Title IX coordinator. “Just by being here you are showing your support for this really important cause and you’re making your voices heard already.”