Campus community comes together for SU Rising in hopes of ending sexual violence

The night consisted of a candle-lit vigil and a performance of Even Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues."

University students, faculty and members of the Syracuse community gathered at Hendricks Chapel on Friday night to participate in SU Rising: Stop Sexual and Relationship Violence. Students and community members reflected on the problems of domestic violence and sexual assault that occur on Syracuse University’s campus and around the world.

This is the third consecutive year that SU Rising has partnered with The Vagina Monologues’ playwright Eve Ensler’s “One Billion Rising.”

One Billion Rising is a global campaign based on the statistic that one in three or about one billion women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.

Several SU student organizations and groups expressed their thoughts on violence against women through performing music, poetry and dance. Some of the performances included acts by SU Zinda, Students Advocating for Sexual Safety and Empowerment (SASSE) and A Men’s Issue.

“I think it is important to have an event like this anywhere in the world, whether it’s a college city, campus or village where people can congregate and say, 'Enough is enough. We have to change things,' said Tula Goenka, associate professor in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communcations and co-creator of SU Rising.

Students and community members gathered in a circle around Hendricks Chapel with lit candles to show respect to victims of domestic and sexual violence.

“Even if one person comes and lights one candle, it’s worth it,” said Goenka.  

A performance of The Vagina Monologues followed the vigil.

Student actors performed monologues that dealt with different forms of female experiences such as rape, sex, love, menstruation and sexual orientation.

“I think it’s amazing because I don’t think people really know what to expect when they come to see The Vagina Monologues,” said Clare Keany, Syracuse University student and director of The Vagina Monologues.

“They may think it’s going to be outlandish and won’t be able to relate to it, but then people come and hear these stories from real women and are completely inspired by the things that they’ve gone through and have overcome. The audience is able to laugh and cry with these women. This is such a great way to begin to understand the various kinds of things women have to identify with on a daily basis.”

The proceeds from the show will go to the Vera House and Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York.

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