Staff members and students joined together Thursday evening to discuss ideas to increase awareness of sexual assault on campus.
Jessica Krohn, interpersonal violence prevention coordinator, held the event to generate ideas for events during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which will take place in April.
Krohn is the first to hold the position of interpersonal violence prevention coordinator, which was created by Binghamton University in the fall.
“[In creating the position] the University acknowledges this type of violence exists and wants to support their students and enhance their safety,” Krohn said.
Krohn’s position involves talking to students who have personally dealt with violence.
“My role is to serve as someone to lend support, understanding and confidentiality, as well as serve as an advocate to accompany students to the police or the hospital or health services,” she said.
Participants in the event discussed traditional events as well as potentially new ones.
Bridget M. McCane-Saunders, associate director for health education, brought up the annual Take Back the Night March, an event in which staff and students march throughout campus to support victims of violence.
“The event has been going on for over 15 years at Binghamton now,” McCane-Saunders said. “We had some great additions too, with speakers coming to share their stories. We see a lot more student groups involved too.”
The event includes the Clothesline Project, where students and staff members donate solid t-shirts and write messages of support and confession to be hung all over campus.
Students can also expect to see a dance to benefit interpersonal violence victims, complete with contests and catered food, and purple lights around campus as part of the Shine the Light movement.
Participants at Thursday’s meeting discussed where on campus to place the lights, colored purple to honor domestic violence victims and intended to represent all sexual assault awareness on campus.
Kristin Vynorius, a freshman double-majoring in biochemistry and integrative neuroscience, said she was ready to help.
“I’m excited we have so many different ideas — could make it a week that stands out to the student body,” Vynorius said. “It’s important for people to remember the victims are not just blank faces, they could be your friend.”
April could also include Denim Day, where all students are encouraged to wear denim and a sticker in protest of the verdict of an Italian case in which the defendant escaped conviction because the victim’s jeans were deemed to be too tight to have been removed forcefully.
“I’m hoping these events will increase awareness that these acts of violence exist. And it’s not just a women’s issue,” Krohn said. “We hope to get students talking about the issue and to realize there are resources here for them. I’m offering total confidence and no judgment.”