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SMC t-shirt raises violence awareness

Mona Rodriguez | Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A quarter of Saint Mary’s campus wore teal t-shirts Monday, using fashion to make a statement about violence.

Saint Mary’s Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) encouraged a quarter of the College wear the shirts to provide a visual impact of violence, as one in four college women is sexually assaulted in her college career.

The event launches Green Dot Week, which aims to raise awareness about sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking.

The shirt reads, “Break the Silence…” on the front and “because 1 in 4 is too many” on the back.

Junior Lupita Quintana said the t-shirts provided a powerful visual representation of violence.

“Since one fourth of the school is wearing the shirt, it puts things in to perspective to think that every girl I see wearing it represents a woman that is a victim of a sexual assault,” she said. “It has a greater effect seeing it than just reading statistics.”

Junior Angela Berra said she thought the message of the shirts made an impact on students’ understanding of violence.

“I was asked in class about my shirt and I think awareness is being spread across campus, which is our goal because one in four is too many,” she said.

Junior Cat Cleary said the shirts promoted discussion of BAVO’s ideas on campus, even amongst faculty.

“I’ve had both students and professors stop and talk to me today about our shirts and events BAVO is putting on this week,” she said. “I have found that the shirts have raised awareness on every part of our campus and have promoted dialogue, two goals BAVO had for this initiative.”

Connie Adams, assistant director of BAVO, said the 359 shirts purchased for the event were all claimed by 12:30 p.m. last Thursday.

“Students’ enthusiasm and passion was evident,” she said.

A vigil was held Monday evening outside of Holy Cross Circle. Students recited readings pertaining to the issue of violence, including a poem by Maya Angelou. Afterwards, students wrote down anecdotes on disposable paper about how their lives or communities were impacted by violence. The slips were then placed in water, allowing them to dissolve.

BAVO will host a showing of the documentary “Sin by Silence” at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Madeleva Hall. The film examines the stories of women incarcerated for killing abusive husbands. Social activist Brenda Clubine, featured in the film after spending 26 years in prison, will offer a lecture immediately following the showing.