Page 13

March 6, 2019 The Signal page 13

Features

Students raise awareness of male sexual assault By Diana Solano Staff Writer

The #MeToo Movement started captivating mainstream media in 2017 as celebrities steadily began to open up about their experiences with sexual assault. The campus community is doing its part by hosting events that discuss the different types of survivors and their experiences. The sisters of Sigma Lambda Gamma, Inc. and the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. hosted “Male Sexual Assault: ?%” in BSC 225W on Feb. 26 at 8:30 p.m. The event emphasized the concept that sexual assault isn’t a phenomenon that only women face –– men are affected as well. To open the discussion, the audience watched Seth Shelley’s TED Talk, “Men Need to Talk About Their Sexual Abuse,” which displayed society’s harsh neglect of male survivors of sexual assault. Office of Violence Against Women Grant Project Director and Prevention Education Specialist Zach Gall, who graduated with a masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (’17) and is a member of Anti-Violence Initiatives and Men for Integrity Leadership and Ethics Society, gave the audience a clear definition of sexual assault. “(Sexual assault is) any form

of unwanted or involuntary touching or penetration of intimate body parts by a person of any gender or being forced to touch anyone in those intimate areas,” he said. “If a person does not ask or if they were not able to give an answer or if that answer was not respected, then there is no consent.” Throughout the night, the presenters explained that men often do not report their sexual assault cases out of fear that they will be shamed. However, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in six men in the U.S. experiences some sort of sexual violence and according to a 2018 data collection conducted by Gall, one in five men has experienced sexual assault on this campus. Andrea Hormaza, a junior public health major and the historian, moral and ethics chair and cultural awareness chair of the Gammas, is passionate about encouraging male survivors to open up about the abuse. “I know a few close male friends that have been sexually assaulted,” Hormaza said. “They all told me that they felt uncomfortable speaking up about it because they felt that people would judge them for being males.” Hormaza’s friends faced the same criticism that Shelley described. In his TED Talk, Shelley

reflected on the words he heard from his assaulter that made him keep quiet. His assaulter said, “This is all your fault. I thought you wanted this — no one is ever going to believe you.” The topic of masculinity and consent was brought up throughout the night. “They expressed to me that people would say ‘they wanted it’ just because they are males,” Hormaza said. “As a community, we need to learn how to stop having gender perceptions and be there for survivors. Survivors should never feel that they cannot express their feelings.” Stephanie Cajamarca, a junior public health major and a member of the Gammas, spoke about Project Unbreakable, which was created by Grace Brown (’11) for her Women in Learning and Leadership senior capstone project. Over 2,000 victims of sexual assault held posters with direct quotes from their attackers in an effort to break the cycle of silence and shame on campus. Brown focused on empowering both females and males to have a voice and share their stories. Images of two male students holding papers read, “You’re gay. You should want this” and “You’re a guy. You can’t say no to a girl like me.”

Miguel Gonzalez / Photo Editor

The activities educate students on healthy relationships.

Stations around the room taught participants the differences between healthy and toxic relationships. Students also had the opportunity to play games to test their knowledge about sexual assault and write a letter to a survivor. Dejon Ricketts, a senior urban education and history dual major and treasurer of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., asked the audience to consider what they can do to make students at the College feel accepted about being survivors. Many participants answered with the same response –– the subject of male sexual assault needs to be talked about regularly and survivors need

to know that they are supported. “I didn’t know that male sexual assault was so prevalent on our campus,” said Viane Villanueva, a sophomore nursing major. “I was surprised to find that out. I’m glad that I came so that now I can raise more awareness for this.” At the end of the night, participants signed a banner to pledge their support for sexual assault survivors. “It’s vitally important for people to come out to this event because people coming from different backgrounds as a freshman might not know about consent or the full ramifications of what consent looks like,” Ricketts said. “You need to have an understanding of this.”

Chabad celebrates 13 years at College

Miguel Gonzalez / Photo Editor

Photo courtesy of Georgann Kaliroff

Left: Rabbi Greenbaum honors Chabad’s founding brothers and sisters. Right: Sperling celebrates his bar mitzvah at the event. By Camille Furst News Editor Music flooded the room as participants got up from their seats and danced in celebration of tradition, community and Judaism. While cherishing the past and looking toward the future, members of the Chabad community at the College cultivated an atmosphere of laughter and joy during their bar mitzvah celebration created to honor of the organization’s 13th year as a recognized student organization on campus. While a bar mitzvah is a Jewish tradition in which individuals celebrate a boy’s coming-of-age at 13 years old, Chabad used this to symbolize the celebration of the organization’s 13th year of existence at the College. The event was held in the Education Building Room 212 on Sunday, March 3 at 1 p.m. “When you are Jewish, you celebrate a bar mitzvah when you’re 13 years old, so

that was the point of this event,” said Sarah Goldstein, a junior special education and iSTEM dual major and member of Chabad. “This event is pretty awesome I think because it’s our 13th anniversary on campus. It’s just a little home away from home.” The event began with the official donation of a Torah, the Jewish holy scripture, from Aliza Scheinfeld and her family to Chabad in memory of her husband, who recently died. Scheinfeld’s nephew is Rabbi Akiva Greenbaum, the adviser for the campus organization. “(The Torah) takes over a year to write, so we are so grateful,” she said. “And so here we are. The more we use the Torah, the more we do good deeds in his memory, (and) the greater the happiness of his soul.” While keeping with the theme of bar mitzvah celebrations, Chabad honored the belated bar mitzvah of one student at the College. Freshman economics major Zach Sperling had his bar mitzvah during

the event since he wasn’t able to celebrate when he turned 13. During the ceremony, Rabbi Greenbaum clothed him in the traditional garb that bar mitzvah boys wear in honor of their milestone –– a white shawl, known as tzitzit, and black leather phylacteries called tefillin. “(This tradition) symbolizes the connection that we have to our past, which is so valuable,” Rabbi Greenbaum said. “If you don’t know what you’re coming from, how do you know where you’re going to?” He began to describe how the bar mitzvah emphasizes the purpose of every individual. It is a symbol that “we are part of something larger than ourselves.” Once the ceremony concluded, the dancing commenced. Dozens of audience members got up from their seats to dance together in circles and celebrate Chabad’s and Sperling’s milestone. Many lifted Sperling up on a chair, which often happens at Jewish celebrations. Roscoe the

Lion even joined in on the celebration, which added excitement to the event. Junior psychology major and Chabad member Angelo Di Cori emphasized the importance of this sense of community in his life. “Judaism to me, if you have to sum it up in one word, is family,” he said. “Both of my parents are Jewish (and) I grew up with very strong Jewish roots. Although we are not actually blood related, to me, all Jews are one family so I’m here to support my family.” The event concluded with an award ceremony for community members who have helped Chabad grow for the past 13 years, which included the founding brothers and sisters of Chabad at the College. “The Jewish people have a rich history of overcoming challenges and everybody in their own life has their personal challenges,” Rabbi Greenbaum said. “(Judaism) means that we are here to make the world a better place, and we are well on the way.”

Profile for TCNJ Signal

The Signal: Spring '19 No. 6  

The 3/6/19 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey's student newspaper

The Signal: Spring '19 No. 6  

The 3/6/19 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey's student newspaper

Advertisement