BVU Marches Against Sexual Assault

Allyssa Ertz, Assistant Arts + Life Editor

Sexual Assault Awareness Day took place on April 25 on the Buena Vista University campus.  The Introduction to Gender & Women’s Studies class, taught by Dr. Annamaria Formichella-Elsden, Professor of English and Dean of the School of Communication & Arts, took on the events for the day with full force.  The class came up with the idea to hold this day of awareness and chose the date of April 25 because it falls during April, which is the national Sexual Assault Awareness month.

To raise awareness, student in the class provided items that BVU community members to could wear to show support of raising awareness and ending sexual assault. On the 25th, students everywhere on campus could be seen with teal ribbons pinned onto their clothing or backpacks, and three enormous banners were completely filled with blue handprints of students and faculty who committed to the cause. Teal sexual assault wristbands were also available to students, which served as a fundraiser for CAASA (Centers Against Abuse & Sexual Assault) from the freewill donations.

CAASA is a nonprofit organization that offers 24 hour confidential assistance to anyone who is involved with sexual assault in some way.

Throughout the day, a total of 112 BVU community members signed a pledge against sexual assault.

Students from the class worked together with CAASA to put on day’s events, with the main event being a Take Back the Night March that evening.  This march, held internationally, publicly expresses anger and protests against sexual assault.

For BVU’s march, students, faculty and staff met in Schaller Chapel and marched from there to the Estelle Siebens Science Center. The students who participated braved the rain to support sexual assault awareness. 

At the conclusion of the march, students heard a moving story about a sexual assault survivor told by Jenny Ahlers, a Sexual Abuse Advocate from CAASA.  The story she told was of a mother whose son was sexually assaulted, and how it tragically affected their family.  The family struggled immensely to get through this situation, and reached a low point in their finances as they worked through it.  They were able to survive mentally and financially with CAASA’s help.  

Organizers feel the turnout at the event was positive, with the entire football and wrestling teams show up to march along with many others from campus.  

“I can’t wait to help again next year!” sophomore student from the class, Courtney Studer, says. 

Allyssa Ertz