Announcing the Raise Your Voice Symposium
One Week, Many Events
Saint Mary’s recently announced the lineup of events for its inaugural symposium dedicated to combatting sexual violence. Raise Your Voice: A Sexual Violence Symposium spans one week, April 6 to 13, with a series of speakers, exhibitions, and discussions that are free and open to everyone.
One year ago, President Katie Conboy made a commitment that Saint Mary’s College would lead the charge in raising awareness and erasing the stigma of sexual violence. She highlighted the power of solidarity and asked us to imagine what might happen if we showed up and stood up for each other every day.
“As one of four sisters and as the mother of three daughters, I have always carried a special concern for the ways girls and women are objectified and degraded in our culture—and I have worked, both personally and professionally, to combat misogynistic words and actions,” Conboy said.
“Sexual violence affects everyone. As the only women’s college in the state of Indiana, Saint Mary’s should be a convener of events designed to educate the community around matters of particular importance to women, and to commemorate and celebrate women’s achievements,” she said.
Event organizer Liz Coulston Baumann emphasizes the importance of Saint Mary’s stepping up.
“Who better to speak on the issues relating to power-based human violence than us, at a women’s college?” she said. “It’s true that sexual assault happens across all genders, but it disproportionately affects women.”
According to the organization RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network), women between the ages of 18 and 24 face an elevated risk of sexual violence. One in three college women will be victimized by sexual violence, though Baumann said that number is underreported. In fact, RAINN reports that four out of five women who are assaulted do not report the event.
“While we’ve come a long way in helping survivors feel safe in reporting this crime, there is a lot more work to be done,” she said. “This symposium will share the stories of survivors and will work to remove the stigma of sexual violence. We’ll come together as a community to show our support for them and learn how to be stronger advocates.”
The symposium will include multi-disciplinary events from across the College. Alumnae and students will share their latest research on sexual violence, a powerful art installation shares stories of survivors from the Saint Mary’s campus community, and a host of resources and information will be available for all. Baumann says two guest speakers during the week are of special interest. Each is a poignant storyteller, and will share unique messages with participants.
Chanel Miller is a writer, artist, and survivor. Known to the world as Emily Doe, she revealed her identity as the woman who had been sexually assaulted on the Stanford campus by Brock Turner. In revealing her name, her viral victim impact statement was viewed by 11 million people in four days. Her story inspired changes in California law, the recall of the judge in the case, and illuminated a culture biased to protect perpetrators. Her critically acclaimed 2019 memoir, Know My Name, was a New York Times bestseller, and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Ridenhour Book Prize, and the California Book Award. Miller will speak to audiences on Monday, April 11 at O’Laughlin Auditorium.
Saint Mary’s alumna Janet Kelley ’97, teacher, reader, writer, and feminist, will read from her young-adult novel, Taint, on Friday, April 8 at 3 p.m. in Regina Hall. Kelley will also discuss the ways fiction can address sexual violence. While at Saint Mary’s, she studied Humanistic Studies and Religious Studies, and Historical Theology at the University of Notre Dame. She earned her teaching credentials from Indiana University at South Bend. Kelley currently lives in Boston and Budapest.
The symposium ends with the annual tri-campus Take Back the Night event on Wednesday, April 13. The event will begin at Saint Mary’s with a small ceremony before walking across the college campus to the University of Notre Dame for a Survivor Speak Out.
A complete list of speakers and events can be found on the event website: saintmarys.edu/raise-your-voice-event.