Emory’s Respect Program held the Red Zone Rally on Tuesday, an event which targeted the issue of sexual assault on college campuses.
The rally was a safe space to talk about the “national public health issue of sexual violence on public campuses,” according to Lauren Bernstein, the program’s coordinator.
The Respect Program’s goal is to engage Emory in the correct way of approaching sexual assault and relationship violence, according to the Office of Health Promotion’s website.
The Respect Program collaborated with Sexual Assault Peer Advocates (SAPA) and Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP) in planning the rally, according to Bernstein.
The program named the rally based on the increased accounts of sexual assault during the first six weeks of the semester on college campuses nationwide. This period of time has come to be known as the “red zone.”
An estimated thirty people took part in the rally, the second of its kind on Emory’s campus. The rally was open to the public and took place on the DUC Terraces.
SAPA PR Chair Emily Greenwald live-tweeted about the rally and updated Emory about what was going on.
The meeting began with a moment of silence for those affected by sexual assault and relationship violence, especially in the last few weeks.
“Attendees took a pledge to do what they can to prevent sexual violence and support those within our community that have been affected by sexual violence,” said Anusha Ravi, SAPA’s vice president of advocate management and College junior.
The pledge was printed and placed under the seat of each member. After all attendees spoke the pledge in unison, they signed the sheet and were told to post it somewhere visible around Emory’s campus, according to SAPA President Elizabeth Neyman.
According to Neyman, the fact that all members said the pledge together created a sense of unity among the group.
Following the pledge, the rally held an open mic for people to share what they do to stop sexual violence, Ravi said. These efforts included talking with one’s younger family about consent, training other students to help survivors, tweeting about SAPA to get the word out around campus and even designing SAPA’s logo. Among those who spoke were College juniors and SAPA members Samantha Grayman, Cherishma Patel and Emily Greenwald.
“I loved the positive, yet respectful energy of the rally and the solidarity that many different kinds of people share with sexual assault survivors on Emory’s campus. It was amazing to see how each person has a unique way of helping the cause while playing to their own strengths,” Ravi said.
College sophomore Emily Eckland said that she was “inspired” by the contributions people were making to the effort of stopping sexual assault.
“After the rally I feel even more inspired to get involved in some way and realize even small changes in my everyday life can raise awareness and help survivors,” said College freshman Shayna Burack.
Following the ceremony, representatives of the Respect Program, ASAP and SAPA as well as some audience members stuck around for a meet and greet and discussed how to get more involved.
According to Bernstein, one in four women and one in 33 men will experience sexual assault sometime during their college years.
“At Emory we believe that sexual violence is not inevitable and we are engaging all members of the community to help end it,” Bernstein wrote in an email to the Wheel.
If you have been affected by sexual violence, you have support at Emory. Contact Lauren Bernstein in the Respect Program at 404.727.1514 or the Respect Program’s website.
– By Naomi Maisel