Developing story: check out augustanaobserver.com for the latest details.
The Augustana community came together to support survivors who want to speak out and add their voices to the discussion of sexual assault at the Quad City Botanical Garden Center on Saturday, Feb. 3.
The event, called “Take Care of All of Us: Bringing Survivors’ Voices into the Light,” was created to bring awareness to the campus community and offer a place for those to share their stories. Participants walked together in silence with led candles to the venue where people were able to talk about their experiences in a safe environment.
Organizers of the event provided space to allow other individuals to voice their experiences. Though groups like +Impact, SafePath and Her Campus were there, those who organized the program made it clear the gathering was about more than one person or one group.
“This is for all of us,” Anna Pfalzgraf, junior, event MC and vice-president of +Impact, said.
In the light rain and darkness, approximately 200 people marched from Augustana’s lower quad to the Botanical Center.
“I’m a survivor,” freshman Kaylee Anderson said. “I just want people to realize that this is an issue we cannot step lightly over, and we need to make sure that everyone knows about it but not make it where it is normalized.”
More students like junior Abigail Roselieb attended the event for similar reasons. “I’m here to both support other people and as a survivor myself,” Roselieb said. “I’m also speaking tonight about my experiences with Augustana’s Title IX policies. I’m not here to be angry in anyone’s face. This is more of a healing gathering than a protest, and I’m glad it’s happening.”
The event also brought together individuals from all over the Augustana community, including faculty, staff and administrators.
“I’m here in support and solidarity for all survivors and all who really suffer from all kinds of abuse, including sexual violence,” Pastor Kristen Glass Perez said. Pastor Perez was joined by fellow peers like Mike Tendall, the director of counseling services at Augustana.
Tendall wants the community to maintain this movement and hopes that we can “Continually do better and better to protect all of the students to protect all of the people here, nationally and everywhere.”
Every individual interviewed at the event wants to see further discussion and action to make Augustana a safe college for students.
“As I said in a statement to the community, I see the campus looking not only at the procedures but the rape culture in the United States and asking how we can be a better institution, among the safest of any,” President Bahls said.
The Observer will continue to cover the Augustana community’s progress on sexual assault on campus. For more details on this developing story, check with augustanaobserver.com.
Photo above: Members of the Augustana community march across 5th Ave. from the Thomas Tredway Library to the Quad City Botanical Center on Saturday, Feb. 3 for the event “Take Care of All of Us: Bringing Survivors’ Voices into the Light,” Photo by Tony Dzik.