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Registered Student Organization Recognizes nationwide Day of Silence

Written by on April 12, 2024

Image courtesy of the SERC Instagram page

NORMAL, Ill. – The second Friday of April is nationally recognized as the Day of Silence, where people stay silent in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community against homophobic transgressions and silencing of the community as a whole.

It is commonly observed in educational institutions. Students Ending Rape Culture (SERC), one of Illinois State University’s Registered Student Organization, has dedicated a day during one of their busiest months to the cause. 

SERC is dedicated to, as the title suggests, ending rape culture. The organization is holding many events during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, including the Day of Silence. SERC President Becca Mackey spoke on why the organization is observing this day, and the other events being held during the month of April.  

“It would be unhelpful of us to sit here and pretend like there aren’t disparities for marginalized communities when it comes to sexual assault,” Mackey said. “Black women specifically have much higher rates of sexual assault and rape. Trans women have higher rates of sexual assault and rape. We can’t ignore those numbers. Rape and sexual assault can and do happen to everyone, but we really need to address the groups it’s happening to more and why that is, and make sure they know we see them specifically and that we want to help them.” 

The queer community is not the only one experiencing the silencing that the Day of Silence protests. The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) reports that more than two out of three incidents of sexual assault are not reported. Mackey dove deeper into the statistics of assault reporting. 

“We did a little bit of math and our report rates have been like three percent lower than other schools,” Mackey said. “The national statistic is that 20 to 25 percent of people will be assaulted. We took that and applied it to here, and out of 20,683 students, we had 28 reports last year.” 

The Day of Silence is the first event SERC has held for Sexual Assault Awareness Month so far this year. Coming up is Consent Day, where different organizations explain what consent means to them, the Clothesline Project, where T-shirts with messages from victims of sexual assault are displayed on the quad.

Another upcoming event is Denim Day, where people wear denim in solidarity against a court case in Italy where an assailant was ruled “not guilty” because the jeans the victim was wearing were too tight to have been forcibly removed. These emotionally charged events have led to powerful conversations between participants and SERC representatives. 

“I think the most impactful one is definitely the Clothesline Project,” Mackey said. “We get alot of people coming and sharing their stories often times the first time. It’s also really nice when people come up to us and learn for the first time what Sexual Assault Awareness Month is because it’s relatively surprising how many people don’t know how big of a problem sexual assault is, and then [they] learn and want to get involved.” 

Consent Day will take place on Monday, April 15. The Clothesline Project and Denim Day will take place on April 24.