The Solidarity Project: A chance for survivors of sexual assault to heal

“If you could say one thing to a survivor of sexual assault, what would it be?”

Those are the words of Esther Hardy, a University of Oregon alumni and intern for the evangelist group ARISE, that is funding this week’s Solidarity Project. This project is one of many events centered around Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The Solidarity Project features a nine-foot tall black, rectangular wall, for participants to write words of encouragement for sexual assault survivors. The event, which started last Monday, ends Friday and goes from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Memorial Quad.

Ester, a 23-year-old UO graduate and ARISE intern, said the key to raising awareness is making words of encouragement visible to the public.

“We wanted to present an opportunity for people to have a visible reminder that they are of value, especially survivors in particular,” Ester said.

Fellow ARISE intern, Jason Miller, says that the Solidarity Project serves as a way for survivors of sexual assault to heal.

“What we’re doing is standing up for survivors; those who don’t necessarily believe they have a voice,” Miller said. “What ARISE believes is that everyone has a voice and that voice is unique and beautiful.”

Grace Honeywell, a 20-year-old international studies major who contributed to the wall, claims that a lack of belief from the public is one of the main issues surrounding sexual assault.

“There’s still a lot of disbelief when it comes to victims’ stories. I can’t imagine anything that would be harder than finding the courage to speak up and not being believed in,” Honeywell said.

The group is trying to get as many statements up on the wall as possible by Friday, 500 being the goal. The Solidarity Project is on Facebook as well as Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag, #THESOLIDARITYPROJECT.

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Wes Franco

Wes Franco