NDSU students make kits for victims of sexual assault
Students were able to make cards and give donations to the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center at the Kits 4 Kare event April 10. The event was hosted by North Dakota State students Desirae Shanahan-Silva, Jacob Dybwad, Maggie Scullin and Cameron Hernandez.
Though the event was free to attend, students were encouraged to donate hats, gloves, socks and toiletry items. These donations made up the care packages that were then delivered to the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center of Fargo-Moorhead.
The organizers said they wanted to make at least 25 care packages by the end of the day and were able to come close to their goal with all the donations they received.
The event started with an hour-long self-defense lesson given by NDSU campus police officer Gennifer Baker. Throughout the hour, students were taught some of the basic stances, kicks and punches to use when being attacked.
I feel like there is more this university can do when it comes to resources students can go to regarding sexual assault.Julia McKay, NDSU Student
Baker explained how you should always be aware of your surroundings and not let your phone distract you from any potential hazards. After the hour-long lesson, Baker encouraged students to look into taking one of NDSU’s R.A.D. self-defense classes for women that are offered to female students twice a year.
Shanahan-Silva, Dybwad, Skullin and Hernandez then played a 30-minute documentary about survivors’ stories of sexual assault, rape and domestic violence.
While the documentary was playing, students could make cards that were also delivered to the crisis center along with the care packages. Students could write personal messages and words of encouragement to those at the center.
Julia McKay was one of the students that attended the event. “I’m here to support my peers,” McKay said.
“I feel like there is more this university can do when it comes to resources students can go to regarding sexual assault,” McKay said.
Shanahan-Silva, Dybwad, Scullin and Hernandez said they all share an interest and passion for helping those in the community that have been affected by sexual assault, rape and domestic violence. “In a way, we are all feminists,” Hernandez said when asked what led them to start this event.
“We know someone who has either been sexually assaulted or abused,” Shanahan-Silva said.
When asked why they believe there is a stigma concerning sexual assault, the organizers all concluded there is often a fear of rejection from society. Other incidents either on or off campus could also deter victims from speaking up about what happened to them. “There might be more negative effects over good effects that can come from them speaking up,” Shanahan-Silva said.
This is the first year the Kit 4 Kare event has taken place. The students put it together for an activism project. “I hope in the years to come there is another event like this here at NDSU, even if we aren’t a part of it,” Dybwad said. “Maybe we’ll inspire someone else who wants to help.”
Dybwad also encouraged all the attendees to wear denim on April 24 to support Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Students that want to volunteer and learn more about sexual assault can look into the events and presentations the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center offers.