Tech’s Women Center sponsors event for survivors of sexual abuse

“If you love me, why do you hurt me?” read a blue shirt as it hung from the rope extending the Tech Pride Room.

Every single minute of every day, more than one woman is raped in America, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, and our campus shone a light on this situation.

Strung from end to end Tuesday, the Tech Pride Room hung shirts representing survivors of abuse. Victims or those with loved ones who suffered got the chance to design a shirt that advocated their struggle and victory from abuse.

“It’s a pretty big deal in the healing process,” Diana Lalani of Tech’s Women’s Center said, “because it takes a lot to be able to just take that outside of yourself, and then, even bigger, leave that shirt in someone’s trust and know that it’s going to be displayed publically.”

White shirts represented those who have died from violence. Yellow and beige shirts signified those who have been battered or assaulted. Red, pink and orange shirts symbolized survivors of rape and sexual assault. Blue and green shirts signified survivors of incest and sexual abuse. Lastly, purple and lavender shirts embody women attacked for their sexual orientation.

“Domestic violence knows no boundary of age, color, race, sex, and it could happen to anyone,” Dot Kendall, Genesis House advocate, said.

 Kendall said The Genesis House is a local domestic violence shelter “trying to create a presence on campus, to let survivors know that they have a place to turn to.”

Survivors and victims of domestic violence have taken on higher statistics than before. According to the National Victim Center, one out of two women will be in a violent relationship.

With more than 12,000 students on campus and 45 percent of that total comprised of females, we are left with 2,700 women who will statistically become victims of domestic violence, according to U.S. News and Report. This cannot be acceptable.

According to Kendall, who is doing a field study at the shelter, domestic violence has no set definition.

“I believe a lot of times, that line is blurred,” Kendall said. “What is domestic violence? What is assault? What is not okay?”

Genesis House advocate Kristen Carter said, “The biggest way to stop domestic violence anywhere is awareness.” Part of the awareness includes knowing that abuse has its many different forms.

As students, professors and children viewed the shirts all day, justice was served as survivors hung their pasts to dry.

 “It is really more of a celebration than it is a solemn event,” Lalani said.

Based on the visible crowd, many came out to see the stories of victims and their healing.

“There is hope, there is help, there is happiness,” read a white shirt as it hung from the rope.