Students came together Monday, Feb. 19, in support of one another as survivors and advocates took to the stage to read poetry and letters during Title IX’s Campus Needs You.
Unlike traditional poetry slams, Campus Needs You—a social media account run by students in the Title IX office—ensured the event would be non-competitive and that advocates against abuse would be on stand-by for anyone who needs a break from the event. In between poems were light-hearted haikus read aloud by Title IX coordinator Kevin Carmody.
“We’re hoping to bring awareness to it. One thing I think we did really well and I’m really glad about is we inspired a lot of people in the audience who weren’t willing to come forward yet. Also, we were able to show how many people were affected by this. There were a lot of people who decided to come up to either write or speak that didn’t sign up before. We wanted to let people know we’re here. We’re a resource for them,” Ferris forensic biology freshman Heidi Stauffer said.
They hope to see it become an annual event for the future.
Ferris music industry management freshman Erin Davis was one of the students to not only attend the event but took to the stage to read aloud poems she had written as an advocative for Campus Needs You.
“I love events like this. I think it is not only a great way for survivors and advocates and students to just learn but also to express their feelings and emotions through poetry, especially in regards to sexual assault,” Davis said.
While Davis writes a lot of poetry, it is the first poetry slam she has participated in and looks forward to doing it again.
“Because I have multiple people disclose their stories to me and although I would never explicitly share their stories, I would never lump the stories together. But there is a common theme among sexual assault survivors and that is many feel it is their fault and many feel they have been held back from coming forward. So I wanted to take that and make it a story about them and not me, because I have never experienced that and would never want to give that illusion,” Davis said.
Title IX also brought in Master of Ceremonies Rich Bronson to read aloud and act as a host for Campus Needs You.
Bronson initially got into slam poetry during high school, when he noticed his qualities of being loud and full of gestures could be applied to the art.
“I’ve been advocate for sexual assault going on 10 years now when Kevin contacted me and told me they were going to combine this amazing art form while giving people a chance to talk about this issues—and hopefully getting survivors to come up and talk about the issue—in a way you maybe can’t express it in everyday life,” Bronson said.
Click here for more from the Torch’s Lifestyles section.