SU Rising: Call to Action to Stop Violence Against Women Is Feb. 14

surisingOn Thursday, Feb. 14, two events at Syracuse University will address the endemic  problem of violence against women, both globally and locally.

“Recent news events, such as the horrific gang rape in India, have brought into focus the issue of violence against women in other parts of the world. However, we also need to address this at home in the U.S., and equally important, in our communities locally and on our campus specifically,” says Tula Goenka, associate professor of television-radio-film in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, co-director of the South Asia Center in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and faculty advisor to Students Advocating Sexual Safety and Empowerment (SASSE).

Many different Syracuse University schools and colleges, academic departments and campus and local organizations have chosen to use playwright and activist Eve Ensler’s “One Billion Rising” international call to action (onebillionrising.org) to draw attention to this continuing crisis.

SU Rising will start this conversation locally—right here, right now. Everyone, including classes, is encouraged to join this critical conversation.

Recent news events, such as the horrific gang rape in India, have brought into focus the issue of violence against women in other parts of the world. However, we also need to address this at home in the U.S., and equally important, in our communities locally and on our campus specifically,”–Tula Goenka

A Community Wide Dialogue will be held in the chapel from 11 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. to raise awareness about issues of gender and violence. The dialogue will include remarks from Goenka, representing the South Asia Center; Himika Bhattacharya, assistant professor of women and gender studies in The College of Arts and Sciences; Janet Epstein, director of the SU Advocacy Center; Lynn Levey, legal writing professor in SU’s College of Law; Paul Ang from A Men’s Issue (AMI) and the SU Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Program; Rick Olanoff, trainer with the National Coalition Building Institute and Jennifer Shaw from Vera House. Laura Hollahan of SASSE will offer closing remarks, and an opportunity for discussion will follow. Students from AMI, SASSE and SU Zinda will lead everyone present in the One Billion Rising Dance to celebrate solidarity on this issue.

From 5:30-6:30 p.m., campus and community members will gather for a candlelight vigil to remember and honor victims and survivors of violence against women. The vigil, on the steps of the chapel, will be preceded by performances in the chapel by SU Zinda and Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Joanne Shenandoah.

Both events are free and open to the public. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and CART will be available for the community will be available for the dialogue event, and ASL will be available for the candlelight vigil.

“Awareness about sexual violence has increased over the past couple of months as a result of recent events in India as well as in the United States. Through SU Rising, we can begin a dialogue as a community about the impact of sexual violence on individuals and on communities,” says Epstein. “Our hope is that this dialogue will help students, faculty and staff identify ways that they can become empowered bystanders, recognizing their potential to take action to prevent sexual violence and committing to creating a caring, supportive environment that is safer for all of our community members.”

“Syracuse University is proud to join more than 1 billion concerned citizens around the world in demanding an end to violence against women,” says Steinwert. “SU Rising is an opportunity not simply to raise awareness, but also to create change, here and now on our campus and in our communities.”

Follow the conversation leading up to and during the events on Twitter at #SURising.

Co-sponsors for SU Rising are the South Asia Center; the SU Humanities Center; Hendricks Chapel; SU Advocacy Center; the Newhouse School; the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics; the College of Law; the women and gender studies program, the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Philosophy, Department of Religion, Department of Sociology and the LGBT Studies Program in The College of Arts and Sciences; the Department of International Relations, the Executive Education Program and The Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC) in the Maxwell School; SASSE; the South Asian Students Association (SASA); AMI and Vera House.