SigEp gets serious about ending sexual violence

Sohpomore digital media major Nick Smith and graduate student and Greek Life coordinator Matt Cecere pose with a sign for Sigma Phi Epsilon’s third annual Sexual Assault Violence Education (SAVE) Week.

By Leslie Domenech, Megan Lupo and Samantha Brandbergh

Sexual violence and assault has increased on campus since 2015, according to Rider’s 2016 Security and Fire Safety Report, and one fraternity is trying to make a difference.

In total, there has been one case of rape, seven cases of fondling, nine cases of domestic violence and two cases of stalking in 2016.

To raise awareness against these criminal offenses at Rider, the brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp) held their third annual Sexual Assault Violence Education (SAVE) Week.

According to junior marketing major and SigEp’s Vice President of Communications Joseph Aresta, SAVE Week consists of events in October, which aim to raise money for sexual assault victims and organizations that help them.

SAVE Week began because of the cases of sexual assault that impacted the campus community two years ago.

“We felt like we needed to reassure the public, that not only the Rider community but the Rider Greek community is against all sexual assault and violence.” senior marketing major Khalil Witt said.

“It was something different to bring to the table for a Rider event,” Aresta said.

Some of the events throughout the week included tabling, a barbeque and tailgating at the men’s soccer game on Oct. 11.

On Oct. 9, the brothers tabled outside Moore Library and inside Daly’s for their #ManCrushMonday event. People walking past the brothers were encouraged to take photos in front of a poster and use the hashtag #SigEpSaves when posting on social media. This would signify an oath to stop sexual assault.

The following evening, the brothers held their second event, ‘A Night in Her Shoes’.

“We had brothers dorm storm with high heels on and collect from students. We went to [residence halls] to explain to them what SAVE Week was and explain the issue at hand,” said Aresta.

When asked about Tuesday night’s outcome, sophomore health science major Bobby Trinneer said, “Everyone was really open. They were looking to help and looking to get involved. So it was a really good turnout in general.”

The brothers held another tabling event on Oct. 11, during which they sold merchandise at the men’s soccer game tailgate.

On Thursday night, the fraternity held a candle light vigil that reflected on victims of sexual assault by laying out candles to spell “SigEp Saves.” Prevention Education Coordinator Susan Stahley performed a monologue about rape culture at the event.

Quoting the author of the Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler, Stahley said, “We need to let our rage and our compassion connect us so that we can change the paradigm of global rape.”

Wrapping up the week was the SAVE Week barbecue. Alumni, students, families and friends came together to raise awareness and collect donations.

Witt said, “This vigil is a pledge against sexual assault and violence. We all pledged to do something.”

The sexual assault hotline is 1-(800)-656-4673, which is confidential and available 24/7. 

 

Printed in the 10/18/17 edition.

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