Last Thursday at 8 p.m., over 70 students congregated on the Bald Spot in anticipation of the Gender and Sexuality Center’s annual presentation of “SpeakUp.” This event, organized by GSC adviser Kaaren Williamsen, aims to provide survivors of sexual assault and sexual abuse with a safe space to share their stories of struggle and hope.
SpeakUp focuses on the telling of survivors’ and supporters’ stories, either read by those who have lived such tragedies themselves, or those who have volunteered to give voice to their peers’ experiences.
Event emcee Alsa Bruno ‘12 emphasized the importance of allowing survivors to “stop struggling in silence.”
From this central location on the Bald Spot, students’ words echoed loudly and firmly. “Carleton can’t ignore voices that want to be heard,” Bruno said.
As gestures of solidarity, many students lit candles for survivors, held hands, and tied ribbons around campus as reminders of the event’s hope to bind students together to take steps towards putting this kind of violence in the past.
After the recitations, the GSC held a reception for students to reflect on the importance of the stories told. For those looking for further support, a Survivor’s Circle was held later in the evening in the Chapel lounge. Bruno said that the whole event represented “a beautiful moment of solidarity” for survivors and supporters alike.