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Taking a Stand

News Feature

News & Events

April 8, 2012

This week, students in the School of Social Work are hosting a series of events related to domestic violence and sexual assault. "Break the Silence, Stop the Violence" features a Clothesline Project, a performance of "The Vagina Monologues," an organized march billed as "Take Back the Night/Walk a Mile in Her Shoes," and more.

Drs. Laura Boutwell and Kathleen Bailey, both assistant professors of social work, assisted the students in planning and organizing the week. Dr. Boutwell said she witnessed a sincere devotion to the cause. "The students' dedication to these projects demonstrate their remarkable leadership skills, their ability to work in community with each other, and their vision of a world free of violence against women," she said. "My hope is that this week offers a space to support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and foster dialogue about how we can create a campus, and a world, free of violence against women."

It's a noble goal, and one that requires action, said student Meghan Sullivan, who coordinator the Walk a Mile event. "This week is about not sitting around and praying for a change," she said. "It's standing up for what you believe in and being that change. Anyone can make a difference, starting now."

The students involved are members of a class taught by Drs. Boutwell and Bailey called Social Work with Communities and Organizations. Putting together a week's worth of events took a lot of time and effort.

The work has paid off: more than 150 students are expected for the "Take Back the Night" event, and the Clothesline Project will feature more than 300 shirts collected from shelters across the region. The shirts have been decorated by women affected by violence. Hung together, they provide a powerful testament about the toll taken by domestic violence and sexual assault.

"I think the Clothesline Project particularly captures the impact of these issues on the lives of others; the candid and emotive stories on the shirts are a testament to, of course, sadness and pain but also to the courage and resiliency of these survivors," said Diana Demont, another social work major.

The Clothesline Project is on display at the front steps and ground floor foyer of the campus center, the East Campus Commons atrium and the clock tower.

"Break the Silence, Stop the Violence" has drawn support from members of both genders.

"If I could see these events accomplish just one thing, it would be to alter the way in which society views this as a women's issue," said social work major Scott Davenport. "So much energy is focused on reacting to the problem, rather than proactively trying to prevent it. The issue clearly lies in actions of the men that commit these atrocities. Too often women are blamed, they are asking for it' or brought it on themselves' and this has to end."

See below for a complete list of the "Stop the Violence" events on campus.

(Story by John Winters, G '11, photo by Robert Matheson, '07, University Advancement)

Senior Molly Louzan, of Scituate, admires the T-shirts on display in the university's East Campus Commons as part of the Clothesline Project.
List of &quot
Stop the Violence&quot
events.

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