Pac-12 schools host sexual assault campaign

In order to raise awareness of the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses, Undergraduate Student Government, along with the rest of the Pac-12 schools, is hosting a campus-wide campaign called It Ends Here on Oct. 17-21.

USG Senior Director of Communications Luke Southwell-Chan took charge of organizing the campaign. As lead coordinator, he has been working with student governments from other universities as well as different departments on campus since August.

“Over the summer there was a Pac-12 leadership summit, and we decided to do a joint project tackling the issue of sexual assault because it was pertinent to all 12 campuses, and it’s something important we should all be addressing,” Southwell-Chan said. “As a whole, we have a lot more power than just one single university.”

Southwell-Chan’s main goal was to show students who, though aware of the dangers of sexual assault, felt they lacked the power as single individuals to instigate any significant change.

“We are trying to encourage students to take action, which I think could really make a difference in making this a bigger issue and changing the culture surrounding sexual assault,” Southwell-Chan said.

The campaign kicked off with an art gallery consisting of original works submitted by students that focused on the theme of sexual assault. Carrie Zhang, a junior majoring in public relations and co-director of the Performing Arts Committee, was responsible for gathering the works, which consisted of both visual and written word pieces.

“These pieces share a lot of people’s personal narratives about their relationship with their bodies, their sexualites, sexual assault and gender and sex-based harm,” Zhang said. “The art itself expresses parts of human emotions that could not otherwise be iterated into words.”

Orian Raviv, a sophomore majoring in human biology, was one of the students who displayed her artwork — three charcoal portraits of the female form.

“Your body is for yourself and not for anybody else,” Raviv said. “The whole culture of sexualizing women’s bodies is a really important issue that we need to discuss, and this is a great way to create a dialogue and a conversation.”

Additionally, a teal wall was set up in the VKC courtyard, which students could take pictures in front of to show their support and solidarity with survivors of sexual assault. Justin Yang, the USG assistant director of photography and the designated photographer for this aspect of the campaign, hoped the awareness week would point victims of sexual assault toward the help available to them.

“Right now, there are different resources on campus, like the Health Center, USG, [Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention and Services], but they aren’t integrated, so when students encounter sexual assault, they don’t know where to go,” Yang said. “We are trying to raise awareness of the different organizations students can turn to when they need.”