Western Carolina University and the Women’s Center will present Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, and 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, in the performance hall of the Fine and Performing Arts Center.
The play, staged by an all-female cast of students and staff from Western, is in recognition of V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. Students in the United States and around the world perform “The Vagina Monologues” each year as part of the V-Day education campaign.
“The Vagina Monologues” is a series of monologues by women that explore the spectrum of female sexuality. Ensler, a playwright, performer and activist, wrote the play in 1996 after interviewing more than 200 women.
Advance tickets for Western’s V-Day production of “The Vagina Monologues” are on sale in the A.K. Hinds University Center, Room 319. Tickets also will be available at the door. Admission costs $15, or $5 with a WCU student identification card. For more information, contact Caroline Pendry in the Women’s Center at call (828) 227-7450.
Committee On Sexual Assault and Other Abusive Behaviors
This committee seeks to provide a culture free of sexual assault and other forms of abusive behavior for all members of the campus community. This mission is accomplished by identifying needs in the areas of education, services, resources, research, and evaluation; researching and discussing possible ways to meet those needs; and making suggestions and recommendations to meet those needs.
Definitions and Education
Sexual violence includes sexual harassment, incest and childhood sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and rape and sexual assault. Sexually violent behavior can be physical, emotional, verbal, or a combination of all three.
Sexual assault and rape are acts of power and control in which the victim/survivor may feel humiliated, degraded, shameful, guilty, and angry. If you are forced to have sex against your will, without your consent, that is rape.
It is the responsibility of the person who initiates sexual activity to actively seek consent. Consent means that each person is equally free to proceed; no one should feel intimidated or pressured. Although a person may consent to one form of sexual activity (such as kissing or touching) it does not mean they have consented to all other forms of sexual activity.
What does consent look like?
- A verbal “yes” or mutually agreed upon sign
- A “yes” given freely that needs to happen each and every time
- If a person cannot safely say “no” then it is not true consent
- If you are not sure what the other person is wanting-Stop! Ask! Clarify!
- Safe, fun, and inviting
What coercive sex looks like.
- Verbally pressuring or manipulating the other person
- Physically assaulting the other person to get what you want
- Using and abusing drugs, alcohol, or date rape drugs to get what you want
- Exploitative, humiliating, and degrading to the other person
- Overcoming the “resistence” of someone not freely giving consent by using any of the above tactics
Stalking is the willful, malicious, and repeated following and harassing of another person. Stalking is an action that serves no legitimate purpose and is intended to harass, annoy, or terrorize. Stalking tends to leave others in fear of his/her normal surroundings. People who have been victims of stalking often feel threatened and afraid of the stalker.
Sexual Assault Prevention
Only a potential perpetrator can prevent a sexual assault-by not committing acts of sexual violence and by educating themselves and others that sexual assault and violence will not be tolerated.
Sexual Assault Risk-Reduction
Although only perpetrators can prevent sexual assault, there are actions that can be taken to reduce your risk. Reducing the risk means to:
- Know your sexual desires and limits
- Communicate your desires and limits clearly
- Don’t assume that someone who is dressed a certain way, is friendly or who has been drinking wants to have sex
- Listen to what your partner or date says. Accept sexual limits that are verbalized and assume that the person meant exactly what he/she said
- Don’t take being rejected for sex as being rejected as a person
- If you are feeling uncomfortable in a situation, pay attention to the feeling and do something about it
- Be alert for warning signs
- Avoid excessive drinking or drug use
There are additional personal safety measures that can be taken to ensure your safety:
- Attend self-defense workshops
- Familiarize yourself with campus call boxes and emergency numbers
- Travel around with friends and/or tell someone where you are going if you are going alone
- Stay in well-lit areas
- Stay informed about campus resources, statistics, and incidents
- Report suspicious behavior or activity
At Home/In Your Dorm Room
- Lock your doors and windows
- Do not give out personal information to people you do not know or trust
- Report and document harassing phone calls or other actions you feel unsafe with
- Unless you know the person, do not hold the door/let unfamiliar people into campus residence halls
- Report disturbing or suspicious behavior immediately to your RA or to campus police
- Report suspicious or disturbing behavior near your apartment or home immediately to local officials
- Go with friends
- Have a designated driver to ensure your safe return home
- Watch how much you drink and what goes in your drink, date rape drugs are slipped into others’ drinks at a sometimes alarming rate
- Be honest with yourself and others about your sexual desires and limits–before you begin drinking
- Watch out for your friends, never assume she/he is okay when you sense she/he may not be
Survivor Resources and Support
Sexual violence leaves survivors feeling many feelings, sometimes all at once. Fatigue, fear, guilt, anger, anxiety, depression, numbing, flashbacks, difficulty concentrating, and feelings of isolation are often common. However, there is no one way that people who survive sexual assault and violence feel–each person responds and reacts differently. However you may be feeling, here are a few things you can do to help yourself in the days and months immediately following:
- Keep yourself safe
- Surround yourself with people, friends and family, who will support and listen to you
- See a counselor, they can help you work through many feelings and emotions
- Attend a support group. Counseling and Psychological Services at WCU and REACH of Jackson County offer support groups for survivors of sexual violence
- Take care of yourself physically-get enough to eat and plenty of rest
- Give yourself time to heal
It can be hard to reach out after a rape or sexual assault, but is is harder to go through it alone. There are many people, both on and off campus, who can help. See our sexual assault brochure link below for additional resources.
On-campus, these people will listen and help:
- Campus Police 227-7301 (Campus Police Outreach Building)
- Counseling and Psychological Services: 227-7469 (Bird Building)
- Health Services 227-7640 (Bird Building)
- Women’s Center: 227-7450 (University Center 3rd Floor)
- Judicial Affairs: 227-7184 (Scott Hall, East Wing)
Off-campus, these agencies can offer support and resources:
- REACH of Jackson County : (828) 631-4488
- Sylva Police: 586-2916 (911)
- Harris Regional Hospital: 586-7000
- Jackson County Sheriff: 586-1911 (911)
- REACH of Haywood County: (828) 456-7898
- 24-Hour Crisis Hotline/Counseling: Dial 911 or 828-586-1911 (ask for REACH counselor)
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE
- North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault
- Rape Abuse and Incest National Network
Others who can help:
- A trusted friend or family member who will listen and offer support
- Your RA or RD
- A trusted professor or instructor
- A trusted administrator
Reporting sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence can be an empowering recovery step. Reporting sexual assault not only helps you gain control and power in a seemingly powerless situation, but it could prevent someone else from being assaulted too. Hold perpetrators accountable by speaking out.
- Write down everything you can remember. Specifics about the crime are needed if you choose to take legal action.
- Collect evidence. Try not to change your clothes, but if you have to, place your clothes in a paper bag. Do not bathe or douche. As much physical evidence as possible is needed if you choose to prosecute.
- Harris Regional Hospital provides rape examination kits, a lengthy, but thorough process, of evidence collection.
Sexual Assault Brochure
This brochure includes contact information for both on and off campus resources for survivors.