Lara Murray Sterzel, Staff Writer |
As an honor of the Gender Equality and Rights Society’s annual “Love Your Body” week, the society held a product drive for students to come and donate to women in shelters experiencing homelessness or victims of domestic violence. For this donation, students were asked to bring new or lightly used feminine hygiene products, such as bras or pads, to be collected. In exchange, the society provided free candy and LGBTQ+ stickers for those who donated to their cause.
On Tuesday, in Hunt Union, the Gender Equality and Rights Society set up their donation table near the entrance doors across from Starbucks. I interviewed the Society’s President, Sonia Espinosa, and she shared the society’s mission and intake on women in violent situations. “It’s in honor of April being Sexual Assault Awareness month, and today is our second day. Yesterday we had our Indulgence Party, and today we’re doing ‘You Support Me: Bra/Menstrual Drive’. And all our donations and proceeds go to the women that are experiencing homelessness or are experiencing domestic violence and are seeking shelter in town for the Violence Intervention Program. We’re taking gently used or new bras, tampons, and pads. It can either be brand new, wrapped or gently used products,” said Espinosa. She also revealed that the age range for women who show up at the shelters can be between twenty and fifty years old.
The Gender Equality and Rights Society has found that women experiencing domestic violence mostly stay out of fear of not being able to support their children and not having enough money to do so. Knowing this, the Society takes its tasks very seriously, finding ways to support and aid these women the best way they can. Their club has gone as far as partnering with the Violence Intervention Program where they’ve learned skills and resources to promote their cause. In the past, they have provided bios postings and highlights of the Violence Intervention Program for anyone on their social media. The club hopes to continue providing those sources for the rest of the semester.
The Society looks forward to what’s to come after the donation. Club members shared their ideas for their next event, called ‘What’s in Your Purse?’. This fun activity is about teaching students how to use the items in their purses to protect them. They’re also planning on a collaboration with the Black Engaged and Enlightened Feminist Club and the Taekwondo Club. Espinosa encourages anyone experiencing abuse to reach out to them, “The Gender Equality and Rights Society is always a safe space to come for any questions, any advice, and any resources. Rebecca Harrington from the No Violence Committee is someone you can also go to if you need to talk and help you about this awareness.” For further information on these shelters visit https://ofoinc.org.