It’s April and that means it’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. As a former clinician at Women Organized Against Rape in Philadelphia, PA, I can’t even begin to tell you how important being educated about what sexual violence is, it’s impact on individuals, families, and communities, and the frequency of which a variety of sexually violent acts occur. When I worked at WOAR my youngest client was 3 and the oldest was 63, there were males and females, immigrants and US born citizens, people of various races and ethnicities, beliefs, orientations, etc. I worked with parents, siblings, and significant others, and the perpetrators were fathers, brothers, cousins, sisters, mothers, teachers, police officiers, partners, neighbors, and the list goes on.
While my work at WOAR is over, my work regarding what can and needs to be done to dismantle a society that supports sexual violence mostly by refusing to talk about, promote, and support healthy sexuality and gender roles, call sexism for what it is in every arena which it occurs, and shake it’s apathetic attitude when it comes to the role of media and what the media does to condone sexual violence, is far from over. This is the work I can’t LIVE without being a part of and this month there are plenty of ways to contribute to the work individuals are doing to end sexual violence. Here are just a few things going on in the Philadelphia area.
|Photo courtesy of The Guardian.com|
Take back The Night- Candlelight Vigil and Breaking the Silence Speak Out
April 3rd, 2014 at The University of Pennsylvania beginning at 6pm.
Take Back the Night! is a peaceful protest to speak out against domestic and sexual violence. We begin with a rally on College Green followed by a march across campus. We end with a survivor speak-out and candlelight vigil in Wynn Commons. This year Penn alumna Ivone Falk, the Family Empowerment Services Supervisor at Congreso de Latinos Unidos, will give the rally keynote. For more info email Joanna Kamhi, firstname.lastname@example.org
AND April 24th at First Unitarian Church
There will be four marches across the city. All marches will begin at 5:45pm. All marches will end at 21st and Chestnut Streets at First Unitarian Church. where there will be a candlelight vigil and breaking the silence speak out. For more information email PhillyTBTN@gmail.com
West Philadelphia will meet at 40th and Chestnut Streets
South Philadelphia will meet at 21st and Washington Streets
North Philadelphia will meet at 22nd and Fairmount Streets
East Philadelphia will meet at 12th and Chestnut Streets
|Photo courtesy of University of Virginia’s Take Back The Night 2013 Blog|
Take It All Back
April 26th 2014 at Love Park and The Independence Visitor Center
Because sexual assault doesn’t just happen at night, Women Organized Against Rape organizes an annual Take It All Back Event each year. It is free and open to the public. There is a walk that starts in LOVE Park at 11:30am and ends at The Independence Visitor Center on 6th and Market Streets. At The Independence Visitor Center there are activities for children, artwork competed by survivors to display, food, live music, raffle prizes where the funds raised support the work WOAR is doing, and a survivor speak out. For more information contact Jazmin@woar.org or call 215.985.3315.
The Vagina Monologues
University of The Sciences 8:30pm
V Season as it’s known is from February 1st through April 30th each year. The University of the Sciences on Philadelphia has it’s final performance to benefit the Eliza Shirley House, a women’s shelter in Philadelphia, tonight, April 2nd, 2014. Funds raised from attending the performance, a series of monologues which discusses what it means to be a woman in the context of her sexuality, sexual relationships, and sex and gender as portrayed by her culture, will be donated to the Eliza Shirley house, a safe have for women with all types of housing needs, but certainly for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. For more information for tonight’s performance click here.