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Third annual Survivor Gala looks to support victims of sexual violence

Sydney Miller’s piece, titled “Bring Me Spring,” displays a falling leaf on a woman’s cheek in response to her longing for the spring season. Credit: Emily Dean | Lantern reporter

Sexual assault survivors will show their strength through art and music.

The third annual Sexual Civility and Empowerment Survivor Gala will be held on Tuesday.

In support of Sexual Assault Awareness month, this event is intended to help raise awareness, show support and encourage healing for victims of sexual violence, according to the Office of Student Life’s Sexual Civility and Empowerment website. The gala will feature visual art of various media, as well as musical, poetic and literary performances from individuals and groups. The artists featured in the event come from a variety of majors and affiliations.

Sydney Miller, a fourth-year in art history, said her piece followed the motifs of the beauty of nature and the female spirit in her 3D print, titled “Bring Me Spring.” She said the figure in her images depicts a leaf on her cheek in the place of a tear, as she is waiting for spring to come so she can blossom like the flowers around her.

“As someone who struggles with conforming to society’s standard of beauty, (this print) was infused with healing energy to create something that I think is truly beautiful,” she said. “As viewers, we either empathize or sympathize with her, but are also in awe of her beauty as we wish to heal with her.”

Abigail Brannan, a first-year in human resources, said she was compelled to submit her works through her involvement in the ROTC organization Cadets Against Sexual Harassment and Assault. The organization has regularly welcomed guest speakers, such as prevention and support coordinators from the Office of Student Life Sexual Civility and Empowerment, in its monthly meetings.

Her pieces are dated Sept. 26 and Jan. 18, and use ink, watercolor and pencil to show the outward growth of a young girl after three months of internal struggle, Brannan said.

“No matter how bruised we are on the inside and out, there is always hope to change and fly,” she said. “Through a million tiny good moments, she grew and became confident in her skin because it belonged to her.”

The Sexual Civility and Empowerment program within the Office of Student life also features a student civility program, which is a referral-based, educational workshop series focused on the topics of safety, personal responsibility, and community engagement that is open to all students.  

Blaire Teaford, a third-year in hospitality management and student coordinator, said the gala is just one way the program engages in community outreach.

“Come in with an open mind and an open heart, because you never know who in your life is a survivor,” Teaford said. “And for anyone who is suffering quietly, I hope this event can be encouraging and show you that you are not alone.”

The Survivor Gala will be 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday in the Archie Griffin West Ballroom in the Ohio Union.

The gala is open to the public and RSVP is available via the Office of Student life Sexual Civility and Empowerment website. A suggested donation of $20 per individual is welcomed to support the Sexual Civility and Empowerment program.

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