Students use ribbons to show support for victims of sexual abuse

Sameera Bowles, a senior Pan-African studies major, tied a ribbon on the fence. SASA set up the fence to raise awareness for those affected by sexual assault.

Tierra Thomas

Kent State students visited M.A.C. Center Wednesday to show support for victims of sexual assault.

The Students Against Sexual Assault organization put a small fence in front of the center for students to tie ribbons to.

SASA started this demonstration yearly in 2016 to promote their campaign for affirmative consent.

“We still think it’s important to promote awareness of sexual abuse and sexual assault on campus,” said Maddi Anich, a senior political science major and member of the organization.

Anich did not expect this demonstration to take off as well it as it did the first time they did.

“Last year I was a bit leery,” she said. “I wasn’t sure exactly how many people would be willing to make a statement like that, and it surprised me.”

This time around, Anich felt more optimistic.

“It doesn’t surprise me to see similar results,” she said. 

There are specific colored ribbons students can tie on the fence that represent the kind of sexual abuse they or someone they know has went through. Blue represents sexual assault, purple is domestic abuse and black for stalking. White represents being an ally.

“Being able to do something like that still gives people who are stuck in that roadblock, where they don’t feel like they can talk about it, a way to voice it without saying anything,” said Mauren Schindler, a graduate student in the history department. 

She happened to pass by the M.A.C. Center and saw the fence after coming from the library, something she never normally does. 

“I would have missed it,” she said. 

Schindler experienced interpersonal relationship violence in high school.

“I had a long time to come to terms with it and talk about it now. I know a lot of people aren’t, and I have some friends who can’t,” she said.

Schindler also tied a ribbon on the fence last year, along with her colleagues, but she continues to express how grateful she feels for SASA efforts. 

“I just wanna thank the organization that does that…I’m glad they’re doing it,” she said. 

Chris Tutino, a sophomore radiologic and imaging science major, tied a white ribbon on the fence for someone he knows who was sexually abused.

“I think it’s pretty important because a lot of people feel that they’re alone when they are victims,” he said. “See how many ribbons there are…I think (the fence) will probably be full by the end of the week.”

SASA will be putting up the fence again next week in front of Risman plaza and in other areas around Kent in the next coming weeks.

Tierra Thomas is the African-American student life reporter. Contact her at [email protected].