By Katie Peters & Claire Crittendon – Editors-in-Chief
Content warning: domestic and sexual violence
In the past two months, two large social justice based events occurred on campus to support survivors of sexual and domestic violence courtesy of Professor Raye’s CJ303: Domestic Violence Advocacy course: The Clothesline Project and Take Back the Night.
From October 27 to October 29, the Clothesline Project took place under the tents outside Arnow and the Science and Technology Center and in an online format through the Instagram page @lasell_standsup.
CJ303 TA senior Alyssa Lopez worked both events. “Clothesline was an empowering and thorough virtual and on-campus campaign that prioritized not only amplifying the voices of survivors of sexual and domestic violence, but also connection during this time of isolation with the use of extensive social media coverage and tabling,” said Lopez.
Each day of the online Clothesline Project had a different theme. The first: “Dear Survivor” letters of support. Next: “I will help by…” also referred to as #WeHelpWednesday. “What makes a relationship healthy” ended the week.
In-person from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., CJ303 TAs, interns, students, and Professor Raye herself staffed tables. Visitors could fill out a message of support for survivors to be displayed.
Lopez said, “The event and campaign were remarkable because of the strength of the survivors, and the determined work and perseverance of the CJ303: Domestic Violence class in planning, preparing and carrying them through safely and consciously during the pandemic.”
On Friday, November 20, Professor Karin Raye’s CJ303: Domestic Violence Advocacy class hosted Take Back the Night (TBTN), an annual event that supports survivors of domestic and sexual violence and abuse who live in this community. Hosted as a hybrid event to include both in-person and online students, this confidential night came with its challenges.
Raye was unsure if she would be able to pull off an event like TBTN this year because of some of the COVID-19 restrictions on events. Confidentiality is a crucial part of events like this for the safety of survivors and hosting the event online raised concerns over privacy.
People who attended this event in-person signed up ahead of time and were assigned to one of three rooms in the Science and Technology Center (STC). All attendees had to present a “Cleared” Co-Verified badge upon arrival. An online option was available as well through Zoom which was connected to each classroom.
“Outside the STC, the class created a beautiful lantern project flanking the building’s entry that featured messages of support and empowerment from both survivors and the broader community, including group lanterns from many of the sports teams, clubs, counseling department, campus police and more,” says Raye. The night was broken up by self-care activities, entertainment and an intermission.
The event “featured four in-person live survivor speakers and one online survivor speaker all who shared stories of childhood, teen and college sexual and domestic violence,” said Raye. “They talked about the shame and blame survivors experience, fear responses to trauma, healing processes, what happens after cases are resolved and dealing with the aftermath of all those experiences.”
As the event was introduced, Raye once again gave the audience a trigger warning for the content of the event and mentioned that it was Title IX exempt, meaning survivors could speak freely without pressure of pursuing a Title IX case. Counselors were available for in-person attendees in quiet STC classrooms and for online attendees in Breakout Rooms. Additional resources listed on the program were REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC), Newton-Wellsley Hospital, the Second Step, and the Network/La Red.
If you or a loved one are looking for support, Lasell’s Title IX coordinator Jen O’Keeffe can be reached at JOKeeffe@lasell.edu, and BARCC’s 24 hour hotline can be reached at 800-841-8371.