Pullman embraces a Week Without Violence

Andrew Braddock | Evergreen reporter

WSU wraps up its Week Without Violence today after four nights of community events.

The Week Without Violence brought activist groups and students together to share stories and promote safety.

LaKecia Farmer, ASWSU vice president served as a volunteer this week and attended all of the events.

“I really loved how this Week Without Violence was displayed through art,” she said. “Whether it was messages from survivors or messages about celebrating each other, rather than bringing people down.”

Farmer said the highlight of her week was the clothesline project led by the YWCA. Shirts with messages about gender-based violence were hung between light posts along the Glen Terrell mall.

YWCA President Mkiela Rosales said the shirts give students the opportunity to relate to each other.

“This is not my story,” she said. “They’re other people’s stories, and other people’s testimonies, and their journey.”

Rosales said that advocacy promotes a culture where problems like sexual violence are not concealed.

“We definitely do a good job at not silencing things that our parents, or the last generation would have,” Rosales said.

The Week Without Violence event falls in the Red Zone, a period of time from September to November when sexual violence tends to be most frequent on college campuses, and during a recent increase in sexual offense-reporting by the WSU community.

Farmer said event organizers have not adjusted their tactics or message as a result.

Rosales added that she and other community activists appreciate the attention that WSU administration has given to sexual violence.  

“It’s been going on for years, and we’ve been advertising for years, and finally something is being done,” she said. “It just shows you what persistence does.”

Wrapping up the week was a Take Back the Night rally and march on Thursday evening. Morgan Brown, president of the Coalition for Women Students hosted the rally.

“That’s been my baby for the last four months,” she said, “I’ve put a lot into it.”

All the recent social media activity surrounding sexual violence, and support from the university represents a step in the right direction, Brown said.

“I think it’s good that it’s getting a lot of attention because we’re getting a lot of advocacy from other students,” she said. “It also means that a lot more students are feeling comfortable coming forward with their stories.”

Looking back on the Week Without Violence, Rosales wanted to thank the volunteers who helped with the events.

“This would not be possible without volunteers,” she said, “everybody waking up at six a.m. and being here, even before I was.”

Other groups who contributed to the Week Without Violence include the Association of Pacific and Asian Women, and cougMENtality.