Σnough: Educating Students on Sexual Violence

On April 4, North Dakota State student organization Σnough, hosted the event “I Stand with Enough” to educate students on sexual abuse and violence. This is a Greek organization that is based on the prevention and advocating against sexual assault and abuse.

The event had multiple booths of support systems or advocates such as: Planned Parenthood, YWCA, Red River Children’s Advocacy Center, Red River Women’s Clinic and Rape and Abuse Crisis Center.

YWCA is an organization that provides shelter for women and children who are escaping homelessness or domestic violence. They have a variety of programs and classes for women and do not tell them what choices they should make, but rather guide them with the choices they do make.

The Red River Women’s Clinic provides care for women with birth control and abortion services. By attending the event, Katelynn Norman, a worker at the clinic, believes, “It creates awareness and a lot of people aren’t aware that these resources exist in their community until they are told.”

Plants for Patients is a local non-profit running through the Red River Women’s Clinic and partners with the Plains Art Museum. They give women a note of compassion, written by a stranger, and a ceramic potted plant to give support.

They consider themselves pro-compassion by not taking a stance on abortion, but give a support system and love no matter the decision.

Why plants? “It’s a proven fact that plants help in the healing process, so that’s where our originator came up with the idea. She worked at the Red River Clinic and was thinking that for her senior project, here from NDSU, how can we bring the community in and how can we show people compassion and non-judgement,” Monica Gelinske, director of operations, explained.

Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, where they offer many services such as help with child care, counseling, therapy classes, supplies for food and toiletries, etc. NDSU student Courtney Aguilar volunteers at the center and sees the importance of representing the center at events. “To spread awareness, that way everyone can know and if you — hopefully not — but if you’re ever in that situation and you feel like you’re alone, you have someone there to help you,” Aguilar explained.

The Red River Children’s Advocacy Center is a center where they examine children and advocate for any child that shows symptoms of abuse.

The importance of attending events to represent the center is important because according to Val Erickson, a nurse practitioner at Sanford Hospital, “What we know is that those victims or those survivors are out there, so it’s important that they know that they are not alone and that they are being heard and that there are safe places out there that they can come to.”

Among one of the speakers was Officer Gennifer Sprecher of the University Police Department. She spoke about her self-defense class offered to women, RAD. This is a two-hour class for six days, with practices outside of class as well.

The class is for women to learn self-defense moves and act them out. “An attacker looks for people that are vulnerable, so the more confidence that you have when you’re walking around (then) you’re less likely to be victimized,” Sprecher said.

Sprecher referenced the murder of Dru Sjodin. Back in 2003 in Grand Forks, she had been abducted while only walking to her car from the Columbia Mall parking lot.

Sprecher wants to make students think about ‘what if’ scenarios and how they would react. “Going through ‘what if’ scenarios and thinking about that,” Sprecher said. Whether it’s an active shooter, someone grabbing you in the parking lot or someone inviting you upstairs at a party, she wants to make it so people have thought it through before so they know what to do and will be less likely to panic.

She then did an interactive experience where she taught the audience how to punch and scream “no” at the same time because she said the voice is as good as a physical attack. Sprecher also wanted the audience to know they always win in the scenarios because in the real scenario if you think you are going to win, you will consistently keep fighting.

The second speaker of the event was Kate Christensen, representing Planned Parenthood. She focused on the treatments they offer to help with sexual abuse/assault. “We always believe victims,” Christensen said. “All sex should be wanted.”

They focus on what a healthy relationship looks like and what consent looks like. Christensen summed up the event, as well as the advocacy of Planned Parenthood, by stating, “Educate people to hopefully bring sexual assault violence to an end and we can live in a community where all sex is wanted, all sex is consensual and all sex is safe.”

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