#NotSilentBecause: BSU students launch sexual assault prevention campaign

BSU students launch sexual assault prevention campaign

BOISE --  A hashtag campaign is taking Boise State's campus by storm, encouraging college students not to be silent about sexual assault.

Two BSU students decided it was time to stand up and speak out against sexual assault. Junior Sienna George and senior Jade Donnelly rallied their friends and campus groups to join in their movement and spark change. They are bringing the issue of college sexual assault to the forefront through a powerful video montage, as well as spearheading a brand-new program at Boise State University.

Sienna and Jade say their unprecedented "Not Silent Because" initiative was born when they realized how many voices of sexual assault survivors go unheard. The young women wanted to remove the stigma, start a new narrative, and empower their peers to share their experiences and prevent sexual assault on campus.

They are turning their traumatic personal experiences into encouragement for others.

"It's for anyone that hasn't been validated in their experiences," George said. "It's for all the survivors and it's really for our entire campus to become a safer and better place to go to school."

Sienna and Jade met up for smoothies, got to talking, and had similar stories to share: both had dealt with sexual assault on campus and both were trying to heal.

"We started talking about personal experiences and experiences of our friends and we thought: This is a problem and this is something we need to do something [about]," Donnelly said.

After months of planning and getting the right services like the BSU Gender Equity Center on board, they came up with the idea to do a video campaign:

"We're not silent because this... why are other people not silent," Donnelly explained. "It started on a small level and then random friends, the Greek community, random people and it's just snowballed into this entire video which has about 100 students."

During the Boise State Broncos' last home football game against UNLV, the pinnacle of what they've worked so hard for up to this point: their video played on the big screen.

"We knew we wanted our video to be there because that would mean the community was going see it," George said. "To have the entire university standing behind us and then watching that video for the 45 seconds it was up there, it was very very emotional."

But the effort doesn't stop there. "Not Silent Because" is an entire presentation that students will give to all first-year Boise State residents starting spring semester.

"Juniors, seniors telling first-year students that this happens and it's important - that means way more than having an instructor say something."

Director of the BSU Gender Equity Center, Adriane Bang, says students don't bring forward such a passion and interest and also a strong understanding of these issues."

This unprecedented sexual assault and consent training will teach about violence prevention.

"Helping students to recognize those situations and understand those are moments to intervene to do something," Bang said

The Gender Equity Center is helping "Not Silent Because" send the message that students need to be active bystanders, and that we as a community can stand up and look out for each other.

The training will also teach first-year Boise State students where to turn and what campus resources to use if they need help.

The young women got several services on board to help with the program. Housing and Residence Life is a key player and will be organizing the students floor-by-floor to attend the training.

Watch the whole #NotSilentBecause video here.
 

 

 

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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