Obama, Katy Perry and Ohio University

Wondering how these three things are all connected? The answer is the Grammys this past Sunday evening, and during the 3 and a half hour program there were some spectacular moments. One especially unique moment was the focus on the heavy subject of domestic violence. A message from President Barack Obama, where he called all Americans to both acknowledge the domestic violence statistics that exist in this country, and to begin work to end a culture where 1 in 5 victims of rape and violence are women.  After this brief call to action, a commanding speech was given by Brooke Axtell, a fierce activist and victim of domestic violence. She read her story, one that is all too familiar; she experienced fear, shame, disbelief and eventually comfort and safety. Katy Perry followed this empowering and transparent piece with a new and emotionally heavy song, loosely constructed on surviving domestic violence. It was a beautiful and striking performance.

katy

Perry performing “By The Grace Of God.” Photo by eonline.com

So what does this have to do with OU, you may ask. In the upcoming weeks of this semester, an incredibly important event will be occurring. This event is Take Back The Night. This is an event and week of awareness of domestic, sexual and partner violence. A march will take place where survivors are given the opportunity to feel safe and empowered to share their experience and raise awareness. This week is also an opportunity for others to stand in solidarity with those who have experienced horrible acts of violence. This includes student panels, a keynote speaker and open discussions. All of these events aim to raise meaningful awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault. They also aim to create a safe and inclusive space for people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, races and status-students, professors or community members. The timing of this performance and Take Back The Night seem perfect to keep this topic in the consciousness of Ohio University students.

This is especially relevant towards the recent cases of gross sexual imposition on this campus. OU is an incredible place with a consensus of safety, however recent cases have shown us that this is an issue that must not only be addressed but fought against. This has been and continues to be combated by the Survivor Advocacy Program, which unfortunately is in jeopardy of losing its funding. It is an issue that cannot be taken lightly.

Above all these issues and campaigns is awareness, which is a good place to start the conversation. It is a goal to be achieved by us all. This issue is one that is quite complex with many circumstances, victims and recovery practices. It is an issue that is unpleasant and unpalatable, but needs attention. Violence is unacceptable. Sexual misconduct is unacceptable. Consent is a must. And awareness and support should be unwavering.

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