1Billion Rising Raises Awareness about Sexual Assault

On February 14, Hannah Cristofano ’19 held an event called 1Billion Rising in the media room from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to help spread awareness about sexual assault. The 1Billion actually represents estimated the one billion women who will be sexually assaulted in 2018. Cristofano created and ran the event as part of Community Engagement of the Domestic violence service team. Rachel Stalker, the community team outreach coordinator and graduate assistant, talked about Cristofano with pride. “You can tell she has a lot of passion for this project, it shows with how well everything was planned and set up for [on the night of the event],” said Stalker.The colorful and informative displays, the eye-catching decorations and the interactive games that were played throughout the event encouraged Washington & Jefferson College community members to participate. There were booths for the Domestic Violence services that were handing out free pins, stickers, bracelets and information on how to be involved and how to help. The O is their symbol and it represented the O in NO MORE, encouraging people to bring an end to sexual assault and rape. The SSTARS care center also had a booth, this center works with sexual assault victims and works to help them cope.

On the tables where students could sit were little wrapped candies that had statistics about sexual assault taped to them. The knowledge of these statistics was later tested when all the event attendees played to see who accurately knew the statistics using the online game generator Kahoot. Some of the most startling facts were that nine out of 10 women know their assailant, 18% of girls experienced sexual assault their freshmen year of college, 75% of rapes happen when the person is too intoxicated to give consent and, possibly the most startling of all, in 994 of 1000 cases, the rape perpetrator will walk free. These facts, once revealed, left the room in a very somber tone as the reality of how important this cause is sunk into the hearts of everyone. It was great to see both male and female students coming in and checking out the information, especially the male students since they are statistically proven to be more physically apt at stopping a rape or sexual assault from happening. Cristofano was very grateful to the students who came to her event. “I would like to thank all the students who came out tonight, especially the APO students. This cause is really important to me, and I am glad that other students came, showing it is important to them too,” said Cristofano. Overall the night was very impressive and helped to spread important information about sexual assault to W&J students.