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Prayer services show true solidarity

| Monday, September 29, 2014

I wish to respond to the letter submitted by Ms. Parent and Mr. Hagwood this past Wednesday, Sept. 24.

I agree with many of the claims posited by my esteemed peers. Indeed, to eradicate sexual violence at our University, there must be a culture shift deeper than an awareness campaign and a pledge or prayer services and signs of peace. However, I wish to align myself against Parent’s and Hagwood’s argument in regards to one phrase: “feigned solidarity.”

I was at the prayer service Monday, along with several hall presidents and other campus leaders, as well as many students I did not know or recognize. 

There were approximately 60 people present, and I can confidently say that those who were present were sincere. Perhaps student body vice president Matthew Devine chose his words poorly, but those in attendance could feel the tangible, collective pain in response to the wounds inflicted on our campus by sexual violence.

Perhaps you do not believe in the power of prayer. Regardless, it is impossible to argue with the power of presence. While 60 people (~0.75 percent of the student body) is not many, those who were in attendance are passionate and do stand in solidarity with those affected by sexual violence, and they illustrated that with their presence.

As a student of Our Lady’s University, we have a responsibility to our fellow students. You do not know who has been touched by this latest crime. You do not know who will be at that prayer service, seeking familiar faces in the crowd, hoping to see tangible support from the student body. It is on us to be there, it is on us to be present to our brothers and sisters in Notre Dame. You and I signed up for this.

Notre Dame, Mr. Hagwood, and Ms. Parent: we have received another Crime Alert.

I challenge you all to explore the power of presence and to stand with your brothers and sisters in Notre Dame. If we agree with the words Cavanaugh resident assistant and founder of Notre Dames, Alison Leddy, said, “Choose to be more,” then why are we not willing to stand present with our brothers and sisters in a sign of sincere, compassionate solidarity? Without addressing and seeking to heal the wounds left by sexual violence, there is no way we can move forward in attacking the culture that espouses it. 

Kathleen Clark
329 Farley Hall

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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