According to research conducted in 2020 by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), nearly one in five women and one in 71 men in the United States have been raped at some point in their lives, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration.
Gabriella Diamond, sophomore in psychology, has chosen to focus her women’s studies activism project on sexual assault.
“One of the main reasons I decided to focus on this topic was number one, I have some personal experience relating to the subject,” Diamond said. “I also wanted to figure out what makes women so scared to share their stories.”
Diamond kicked around a few ideas before making a decision.
“When the activism project came about, I was racking my brain on what topic to choose for this assignment, and I finally landed on consent and later added on the sexual assault component,” Diamond said.
For the project, Diamond created an Instagram account which can be located at @speakup_speakout2021.
“This project is very important to me because I want to not just spread awareness on the subject but also be able to help women not feel so alone in their struggles,” Diamond said. “I wanted them to feel heard and loved in their most vulnerable state.”
According to Diamond, some people might feel uncomfortable or even scared to share their stories and Diamond hopes to be a safe person that people can talk to.
“Women are scared to speak up about their struggles because they feel like it is their fault which is not true at all,” Diamond said. “…(They) have a lot of self-blame and are afraid of what people might think of them if they were to come out and share their stories.”
There are many different ways that people cope with trauma but Diamond hopes to see more people be comfortable with speaking out about the issue.
“The main change I would like to see happen would be women feeling more comfortable to speak up about this issue and I would like to see people understanding the survivors of sexual assault and supporting them instead of shaming them,” Diamond said.
While spreading awareness, Diamond is also learning more about it every day.
“My goal with this project is to spread awareness and learn more about the topic as well as learning more about it for myself and being able to get through… (what) I went through a year ago,” Diamond said. “I think that it has personally helped me so much by reading a ton of stories from other survivors of sexual assault.”