April 5 events at TTU recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Tennessee Tech University’s Women’s Center is recognizing April as sexual assault awareness month with a series of events on Tuesday, April 5.

The day begins with the opening of the Clothesline Project, a visual display of T-shirts created by local women who’ve been affected by violence and patterned after the National Clothesline Project, which began in 1990. It will be exhibited in the Tech Pride Room of the Roaden University Center from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

It will serve as the backdrop for a donation drive to benefit the Wilma Carr Memorial Scholarship, which is named for a local domestic violence victim who died in 1997 and is given annually to a TTU student who has been the victim of spousal abuse or child abuse.

“There are a greater number of deserving applicants than the $10,000 endowment allows the scholarship to support each year, so we are hoping to increase the endowment with donations and linking that effort to the April 5 Clothesline Display,” said Gretta Stanger, director of TTU’s Women’s Center.

At 11 a.m. in the Tech Pride Room, a talk entitled “When Your Date Goes Bad” will be presented by Director Janell Clark and other representatives of the Upper Cumberland Genesis House domestic violence shelter and its sexual assault response center.

“With April being sexual assault awareness month, we wanted to give attention to the fact that most rapes are committed by someone the person knows — not a stranger,” Stanger said.

The Women’s Center joins with the Tech Ladies Coalition and Commission on the Status of Women to present the day’s final event, the “Take Back the Night” rally, march and candlelight vigil beginning at 7:30 p.m. from the front steps of the Roaden University Center.

A worldwide community action initiative to end domestic and sexual violence and abuse, “Take Back the Night” efforts provide an organized platform for communities to proclaim their refusal to tolerate continued violence and abuse and promotes healing for survivors.

TTU graduate Alison Piepmeier, who is associate director of Vanderbilt University’s Women’s Studies Program, will be the event’s keynote speaker.

She is the author of Out in Public: Configurations of Women's Bodies in Nineteenth-Century America (The University of North Carolina Press, 2004) and co-editor of Catching a Wave: Reclaiming Feminism for the 21st Century (Northeastern University Press, 2003).

At Vanderbilt, she teaches courses on feminism, gender and violence, as well as a service-learning class called "Sexual Stories" in conjunction with Nashville's Magdalene Project, a residential recovery program for women with a criminal history of prostitution and drug addiction.

Piepmeier's talk kicks off the "Take Back the Night" rally at 7:30 p.m. on the front steps of the RUC.

For more information about the April 5 events or donating to the Wilma Carr Memorial Scholarship, call the TTU Women’s Center at 931/372-3850.

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