The Notre Dame Gender Relations Center (GRC) will end its year-long Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI) by hosting its second annual “Now is the Time: Festival on the Quad” event from 5 to 8 p.m. on South Quad tonight.
In addition to free food and corn hole, there will be live music from 5 to 7:30 p.m. featuring student bands, including The Revelin’ Family Band, Ana Livias Daughtersons and Pat McKillen.
Following the music, there will be readings from “A Time to Write,” the GRC’s journal of writings about experiences with violence. Select student writers will share excerpts of their pieces, and free copies of the journal will be provided to those in attendance.
“To do a public reading of these pieces will remind us of these stories and why we’re here,” said Elizabeth Moriarty, assistant director of the GRC. “While we may not have our own story, there are people in our midst who are survivors of sexual violence.”
Senior and student representative Patrick Tighe said the readings are “powerful” to hear and help raise awareness for the cause.
“The festival started last year with five of us students just brainstorming about how to raise more awareness about sexual violence,” Tighe said. “Through working with GRC we came up with VPI for a year-long effort to provide support and raise awareness.”
VPI has five major goals, which the GRC hopes to accomplish throughout its year-long efforts: to raise awareness about violence in the local community, to increase understanding about global violence, to promote the healing of survivors of violence, to fundraise for local non-profits invested in violence prevention and/or service to survivors of violence and to serve as a flagship for violence prevention programming on Catholic campuses.
Moriarty said the Festival is held at the end of the year to conclude the year’s efforts.
“We wanted to have something that was more of a celebratory environment to celebrate our efforts in dealing with issues related to sexual violence,” Moriarty said. “It’s not all doom and gloom when working in advocacy and activism.”
Moriarty said Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is the inspiring message that unites the VPI events.
“Part of Notre Dame’s uniqueness is that we can connect something like this to faith and we can find our inspiration from scripture,” Moriarty said. “It teaches us how there are times of celebration and times of mourning, and we have to carry them all with us. Not just the happy and pleasant times but the struggles, too. That’s what helps us to heal.”
Aside from being an event to raise awareness about sexual violence, the festival is also a fundraiser for the SOS of the Family Justice Center, the Rape Crisis Center of St. Joseph County.
“We chose SOS because they are in desperate need of money and they work directly with Notre Dame and its students,” Moriarty said.
Moriarty said SOS provides advocates for Notre Dame, Holy Cross and Saint Mary’s students who have to go to the hospital for sexual violence. They also train advocates, take phone calls for the crisis hotline and support people who have suffered from violence.
In addition, SOS facilitates an on-campus support group for women who are survivors of sexual assault.