Students, staff converse about sexual assault

Student council increases sexual assault awareness in LT Community


Ella Mahaney, Reporter

On March 17, Maggie Franz ‘22 proposed that student council participate in something they had never done before: a week completely dedicated to sexual assault awareness. Student council embraced the idea and got to work creating posters and writing out announcements. 

About 30 students helped to prepare for sexual assault awareness week from April 5-9, student council sponsor Peter Geddeis said. The posters featured information about sexual assault, resources for those who had been sexually assualted and information about the importance of reporting sexual assault. The announcements also listed resources for sexual assault survivors such as phone numbers and faculty at LT that students could talk to. 

Franz advocated for sexual assault awareness week because she wanted to create a safer environment for women in the LT community, she said. 

“I’ve had conversations with girls where we have all compared what we use to protect ourselves, such as a rape alarm or pepper spray,” Franz said. “Conversations like this have been normalized, and they shouldn’t be.” 

The feedback that the student council received from students and staff was positive, Geddeis said. Some staff members emailed Geddeis personally to pass on their compliments to the student council. 

“Friends of mine who have experienced some form of sexual assault felt that seeing these posters really helped them feel less alone and more supported in a situation where they felt powerless prior,” Franz said.

Student council plans to leave up posters through April in honor of sexual assault awareness month, Franz said. They also hope to advocate for sexual assault awareness week and month next school year. 

The new self defense class also focuses on the topic of sexual assault. The curriculum for this class covers the definition of sexual assault, the topic of consent and victim blaming, self defense teacher Katarina Beyer said. 

“We [self defense teachers] want to create a conversation,” self defense teacher Joseph Conway said. “But ultimately we are hoping with [sexual assault] awareness, there is going to be a ripple effect of more respectful and healthy relationships around school.” 

Another initiative in the community to increasing sexual assault awareness is the Take Back the Night Walk on June 5. This walk was organized by Gianna Annella ‘22 and Nicole Annella ‘21 to provide a community for survivors to share their stories and feel heard, Gianna said. 

“We are organizing this walk to stand in solidarity with those who are survivors of sexual assault,” Gianna said. 

The route for this walk is a mile and a half from Goodman Avenue down Lagrange road to Burlington Avenue. There is a $30 registration fee for the event which covers T-shirts, drinks, and food.