When I was a victim, there was nothing in the media that supported victims of violence. If anything, I thought it was my fault. I felt alone. Now I know why I felt that way, it was due to our rape culture.
We need to educate everyone, especially our young ones, on what rape truly is. It is crucial that we understand the difference between what rape culture tells us and the truth, which is that rape is never the victim’s fault. Luckily, through my education and involvement with the student organization Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, I am able to understand the difference.
Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, at Austin Peay State University, strives to raise awareness and educate students on abuse, rape, and rape culture itself. Every fiscal year we do two Clothesline Projects on our campus, we also help with the Clothesline Project at APSU’s Education Center located at Ft. Campbell, and our community domestic violence events. Every spring semester we host Take Back The Night and we assist the Women’s and Gender Studies Program with the student and faculty/alumni show of “The Vagina Monologues.” Additionally, during the spring semester we host Condom Day with other student organizations, an educational event in the Student Center where we stress the importance of safe and healthy sex. At the beginning of every semester we host the F Word, an event to educate students on the true meaning of feminism. In the month of October we ask our community to assist us with an event called Remember My Name. The event’s purpose is to raise awareness about domestic violence through the use of wooden silhouettes that represent someone who has been murdered in our community due to domestic violence and their murderer has been convicted.
Seeing the It’s On Us campaign on the Grammy Awards was an amazing feeling. It warmed my heart to think about all of the victims seeing that message and being offered some kind of hope. As a survivor, it was important for me to take the pledge. I know that growing from a victim to a survivor is a process, and I know that not everyone can speak out depending on where they are on their process of healing.
Now that I am a survivor, I am able to speak up and I want to use my voice to help others. Speaking up is not easy and I wanted to be a voice that will help others who are not in a position to speak up. I encourage everyone to take the pledge and to educate yourself and others.