Sexual assault survivor and actress Brianna Michelle spoke at Cal Poly’s ‘Standing with Survivors’ event last Wednesday.
Michelle, along with other guest speakers, including San Luis Obispo Mayor Erica A. Stewart, joined together to speak out against sexual violence.
This event served as response to the two reports of rape on Cal Poly’s campus in early October.
Cal Poly’s Women In Business club and the university’s chapter of the Women’s Network collaborated with other leaders of various clubs around campus in putting on the event.
President of the Cal Poly chapter of the Women’s Network Maggie Freadman said that ‘Standing With Survivors’ happened in part because she felt the university’s emails following the recent reports weren’t enough to make students feel safe on campus.
“They need to be able to make it known that Cal Poly is a safe space wherever you go on campus,” Freadman said. “That’s where this event came from — was trying to figure out how to make that happen.”
Engineering freshman Victoria Acostavasquez said they don’t feel safe around campus.
“Being a Latinx student, it feels a little different being in a community that’s so different,” Acostavaquez said. “When it’s dark coming back from class, I have to think about it, which shouldn’t even be the case. I shouldn’t have to.”
One of the sexual assaults in October occurred in the Design Village area of Poly Canyon, commonly known by students as Architecture Graveyard.
In light of standing up against sexual violence, students and speakers marched there in solidarity to reclaim the space, following the event.
Liberal studies freshman Alex Philyaw said he hopes the march will bring back the positive connotation Architecture Graveyard had before last month.
“I feel like experiencing it is so surreal because I’ve been there multiple times and just to think that something as awful as that happened there is really scary and our campus needs to wake up and see that this is happening,” Philyaw said.
More resources and help regarding sexual violence are available online at safer.calpoly.edu.