Concerned About Rape Education (C.A.R.E.) Week is the time of year when the entire Boston College community is called to face the problem of sexual violence, and students and faculty are encouraged to take advantage of the myriad events that the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) and its co-sponsors plan throughout the week.
This year, the WRC-along with Science Club for Girls, R.E.A.C.T., F.I.S.T.S., Sharps, To Write Love On Her Arms, I Am That Girl, the Winston Center, UGBC, and Strong Women, Strong Girls-will bring Elizabeth Smart to campus on Thursday for a lecture encouraging perseverance in times of extreme adversity in light of her personal story of abduction and sexual abuse. This high-profile event is the result of the collaboration between several organizations and departments. In this case, the collaboration was necessary to bring such a prominent speaker to campus, and in the future, other departments’ awareness initiatives should also be collaborative in order to bring other big speakers to campus.
New to this year’s C.A.R.E. Week is an event focused around the male perspective on sexual abuse on campus entitled “Man Up: What Does it Mean to be a Man at BC?” The luncheon event will take place today at noon-while this may be a difficult time for most students to attend, the WRC and Bystander Intervention should nonetheless be commended for fostering a small group environment for males suitable for serious, personal discussion about sexual violence issues. Male students should seriously consider attending the event and discuss another perspective of such an important issue on campus.
Although students should attend as many events as possible, they ought to make a special effort to attend the centerpiece event of the week, Take Back the Night, on Wednesday evening in O’Neill Plaza. The event offers BC students the opportunity to hear from their peers. The students who make the difficult decision to speak are courageous for doing so, and it is important that the BC community shows support and respect for the speakers. The event also serves as a reminder that sexual assault happens here on BC’s campus and is a reality for many students.
The messages of C.A.R.E. Week should be extended far beyond the confines of a few days of events. Sexual assault education should be a continuous topic of discussion at BC, and students should take the sentiments they gain from the events this week and use them to keep the conversation about sexual violence on campus going throughout the entire year.