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GRC launches ‘A Time to Write’

| Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Gender Relations Center (GRC) at Notre Dame is accepting submissions to “A Time to Write,” a journal on violence and sexual assault..
According to the GRC website, the journal provides students with “an opportunity to reflect on the nature of violence, how to prevent it and how to build a more just and humane society.” Amanda Downey, assistant director for educational initiatives, said the journal is a way for the GRC office and campus community at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s to consider healing from sexual violence.
“We can look at healing as a kind of spectrum,” she said. “Each little piece along the way kind of contributes to an overall sense of healing.”
Written expression is a way people seek healing, Downey said. As a result, the GRC journal accepts personal narratives, fiction, poetry, photography and paintings for submission. She said the Center also offers an annual workshop to students in February.
“People come together and they learn how to put their feeling and experience and emotion into a written form, whether that’s a short story or poetry,” Downey said.
After the workshop, Downey said interested students may choose to submit their work to the journal, which is a way to share stories and the healing process with others.
“It kind of lets people know that they’re not alone and that others may have similar experiences,” she said.
According to Downey, the GRC will unveil the journal to the public on April 24 at the “Take Back the Night” event.
“The people who are at attendance at that event tend to be people who want to see healing from a community perspective and celebrate that while there are people who are hurting, there are people who care,” she said. “I think that tends to be our audience.”
The “Take Back the Night” event is a national event that includes campuses and community organizations across the country, Downey said.
“[It] calls to mind that people, sometimes most specifically women I think, but people in general tend to feel a little bit more unsafe and unsure of their safety at night,” she said. “We’re taught that strangers may be lurking, to fear the night essentially.”
Downey said the event calls attention to the concept of darkness and prompts victims to reclaim the fact that they did not do anything wrong. The event begins with a prayer vigil at the Grotto. From there, students march through campus in an attempt to raise awareness.
“[It gives students] the option to be loud and to speak out about this as a societal issue,” she said.
The event concludes at Legends with a speak-out portion for students to come forward and share their story if they so choose, Downey said. A dinner follows and allows students to share in fellowship with one another, she said.
Emmanuel Cannady, assistant director of outreach services, said the event is open to the greater community as well.
“We’re not going to turn anybody away who wants to heal,” he said.
However, Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students are the focus of the event, Cannady said, because the whole topic of violence and sexual assault allows the two student populations to stand together in solidarity.
“I think it’s standing in solidarity, survivors and allies and friends and saying as a community [that] this isn’t okay. We support you, we care for you and we’re here for you,” Downey said.
The deadline for submissions to “A Time to Write” literary journal has been extended to March 14. Submissions can be made to grc@nd.edu, BellesAgainstViolence@saintmarys.edu or dropped off in 311 LaFortune.

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About Carolyn Hutyra

Carolyn Hutyra serves as an Assistant News Editor for The Observer. She is a senior from Arlington Heights, Illinois studying Biology and Anthropology.

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