This past Wednesday marked the beginning of the Red Zone, which will last a full 8 days. For the duration of that time, GW Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA) is hosting their 2nd annual awareness campaign. This year, it’s all about 8 critical minutes.
SASA’s campaign focuses on the fact that every 8 minutes, a college student is sexually assaulted in America. Don’t believe me? Well the SASA team did some very involved equations using these statistics to find this number.
The 8 minute campaign’s goal is to, quite literally, smother GWU campus. With flyers posted in the most populated buildings, tabling hours in freshman dormitories, and over 15 student organization sponsors, students from every discipline on campus are changing their profile pictures, updating statuses, tweeting, and contributing to the emotionally raw, and awe-inspiring SASA Form Spring Page.
Form Spring is an anonymous page where people can submit their stories, experiences, lessons, or anything they’d like. The posts are gripping. They remind me that everyone has a story. Here are a few entries:
At a frat party last year, I was under the influence and wasn’t capable of making my own decisions. I might have said yes at the time, but a real man would have known better. Seeing him since makes me cringe; I’ll never let myself lose control again.
I had said no all summer. On the last day with the support of friends, he pushed me into a bathroom stall went for my pants and told me I knew I wanted it. Two years later, I was finally able to defriend him on Facebook and not feel like the bad person.
He was my coach and more than twice my age. It happened twice…he gets out of prison on November 9th. Words can’t even describe how scared I am.
Form Spring has proven to be very successful, both for those who are able to express themselves without giving their identity, and for my peers and friends, who read these stories and, if even for a moment, understand why I dedicate my time to fighting for this cause.
During the 8 minute campaign, the magic of PR has taken hold as students and faculty started promoting what they could do in 8 minutes. The Senior Associate Vice President and Dean of Students for GWU, Peter Konwerski, tweeted, “Work 2 stop sexual violence
#GWU RT @GWSASA: In the time to walk to white house from Thurston, a student is sexually assaulted #8minutescampaign”. And there have been many more, too. A facebook status from a friend of mine promoted his fraternity party last night reading, “It takes 8 minutes to walk to Via 19 for the tonight’s party!”
What can you do in 8 minutes? It takes me 8 minutes to throw together my dinner (yeah, so what if it’s a frozen meal? College budget, people!) Think about what you do on daily basis that takes up 8 seemingly unimportant minutes of your time. With the help of SASA and other sexual assault awareness organizations, I hope that 8 minutes will become a thing of the past. Maybe, years from now, students will be hosting a 15 minute campaign, and slowly, that number will creep higher and higher.