To raise awareness about sexual assault and encourage students to rise for the cause, the Gender Equity Center (GEC) participated in the national V-Day event on Feb. 13.
Vagina Monologues cast member Isamar Hernandez and director Lillian Conboy helped with the multi-purpose event. The GEC is one of many organizations throughout the world who support V-Day, which aims to end violence against women and girls. During V-Day’s national event, One Billion Rising, people around the world rise and dance to start conversations and raise awareness about sexual assault. The event usually takes place on Feb. 14, but the GEC held their Campus Rising event on Feb. 13 so it didn’t interfere with the Vagina Monologues’ opening night, MultiCultural Center assistant coordinator Tammie Velasquez said.
Safer sold roses at the event, which took place in the Julian A. McPhee University Union (UU) Plaza. The proceeds will support RISE, which is essentially Safer for San Luis Obispo County, GEC graduate assistant Kat Beglin said. RISE provides crisis intervention to survivors of sexual assault or intimate partner violence, according to its website.
Fraternity members helped Safer sell the roses. Some fraternity members had wanted to participate in an event with Safer, and it worked as a philanthropy event, Safer student assistants said.
The event included a preview of the Vagina Monologues, a play written by Eve Ensler after she heard hundreds of women’s stories from around the world. One monologue previewed featured a girl learning to appreciate her vagina, and another focused on childbirth. This year’s series of monologues premiered on Valentine’s Day.
History sophomore and GEC student assistant Madeleine Aitchison and agricultural business sophomore Maggie McHale — sporting a vagina costume — helped run the GEC booth in the UU Plaza. One reason for the Vagina Monologues and GEC events is to make women more comfortable in their bodies, Velasquez said.
At the end of the event, Beglin invited people to say why they are rising for justice. “I am rising against injustice at Cal Poly because if we don’t do it, no one else will,” she said. People can tweet why they are rising to @CalPolySafer with the hashtag #CampusRising.
Photos by Sophia Liu/Staff Photographer