IHH Event Planned for January

By Emilie Munson

It Happens Here (IHH), a student group that raises awareness of sexual assault at the College, announced that it will be holding its third annual storytelling event on Jan. 20 in the McCullough Social Space.

Founded by Luke Carroll Brown ’14 and Margo Cramer ’12 in 2011, IHH works to promote conversations about sexual violence on college campuses and to empower survivors of sexual violence as educators by providing a forum for them to share their stories. Since its inception, IHH has hosted speakers and alternate discussion forums on the issue of sexual violence on college campuses.

“Certain experiences with friends made clear to me just how enormous this problem was, both in prevalence and emotional impact on an individual,” Brown said. “This prevalence is due in large part to our collective inability to acknowledge this problem.”

Brown hopes that continued IHH programming will help reduce the stigma attached to sexual violence so that students can discuss the issue more openly.

“If one in three women on this campus were being mugged over the course of a year, we would have a response,” he said. “Sexual violence, because of the stigmas attached to coming forward about an experience, creates a really unique problem in that we can’t speak about it, and survivors have every reason in the world not to want to speak about it. So this faceless problem persists.”

Like the April 2012 IHH event, the storytelling event in January will feature stories submitted by students affected by sexual violence, read by the survivors themselves or their peers.

Nearly a quarter of the student body attended the event last April, according to Brown, who argued that such strong attendance indicates student eagerness to address this issue. Brown hopes for similar attendance at this year’s event to further IHH’s goal of  “shatter[ing] the silence” about sexual violence on college campuses.

Katie Preston ’17, a member of IHH, joined the organization “to bring these conversations [about sexual violence] to people who may not seek out these experiences — who are often the people who most need to hear this.”

Jordan Seman ’16, who attended the April event, is excited for the return of IHH and echoed Preston’s wish for diverse and increased attendance.

“I remember being shocked by how easily ‘consent’ can be blurred on college campuses,” Seman said. “It forced me to reflect on my experiences in a way I hadn’t before. I really hope that this year there are a higher number of male attendees because I remember thinking that it could have made a bigger impact if more guys had been there to listen.”

After the Jan. 20 event, IHH hopes to direct the interest in the storytelling event into follow-up conversations as well as a bystander intervention campaign. In the future, IHH hopes to bring sexual violence activists to campus as speakers and expand its group.

Brown and Cramer are also working to expand It Happens Here into a national movement with the College chapter serving as only one campus within a broader network. IHH is currently working to establish programming at six other colleges across the U.S.

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