Students' silence demands an end to violence
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 21:02
Valentine’s Day is a day associated with proclamations of love, flower-giving and maybe even a little sulking from single individuals.
However, many students met at 12:45 p.m. in front of the Cave patio for a different kind of message that they wanted to proclaim: a vow of silence.
Feb. 14, 2013 marks the 15th anniversary of V-Day. V-Day is an organization established by Eve Ensler, author of the play “The Vagina Monologues.” The organization promotes an end to violence against women. This Valentine’s Day, One Billion Rising was implemented. One Billion Rising is a call for worldwide participation in a silent march that honors women who have had been victims of violence.
The East Tennessee State University march was one of many held globally, and the turnout was one of diversity. There were students (men and women) from SGA, HEROES, FMLA and more. Some participants joined at the last minute after noticing the ensemble in front of the Cave, and some were not students at all, but members of the community. There were also couples who spent a small fraction of Valentine’s Day marching silently, hand in hand.
When addressing participants, Shae Keane said, “Thank you all for coming here, for bringing your signs, for showing that this matters on our campus.”
Keane is a senior at ETSU, and recently returned from Rwanda where she interviewed women who were victims of violence and the genocide that plagues the nation. She will be giving a presentation about her time in Rwanda next month. Her return and the silent march could not have been better orchestrated.
The march lasted for about 15 minutes, and gained the attention of many students going about their day. Flyers about One Billion Rising were handed out throughout the march, and many participants carried signs of their own. Junior Rosemary Haynes’s sign was one of the more notable ones among the crowd, reading “My Vagina, My Rules” on the front and “I’m A Survivor” on the back.
Later that night, students came together again at The Galaxy Lounge to “RISE UP, DANCE, and DEMAND” an end to violence. Musical acts included Jen Rock and the Crybabies, Chris Hickson and Amythst Kiah. All proceeds from The Galaxy Lounge’s event will go to local charities that help survivors of violence.
“The power behind this movement has a lot to do with where we are in history because of the media and the ability to communicate across borders,” Keane said. “The cool thing about it is that it’s connecting the culture of violence against women as a single issue. And though it may manifest differently in different countries, it’s something that no community is spared of, so that’s why I think it is important that we, as a campus, are contributing to the goal of how many people will rise to bring awareness to these things.”
After the recent events displayed in the media, this mission of this organization could not be clearer.
For more information on V-Day and One Billion Rising, visit www.vday.org and www.onebillionrising.org.