Kayla Allbright '20

To see more photos from the event, click here. 

“Rising is no longer a campaign...but a way of life.”

On Wednesday, February 13, Saints gathered in the Sarazen Student Union to stand in solidarity for justice for women facing exploitation and abuse. This year marks Siena’s 7th year supporting the One Billion Rising Campaign.

Since the movement’s start on Valentine’s Day in 2012, women rights activists around the globe have worked relentlessly to spread awareness for social justice issues women face regularly, such as domestic and dating abuse, depression, and human trafficking. Members of the Siena community joined to respond to the global message that women survivors of abuse must be heard, as well as those who love them. 

“The amount of people here today proves that when one billion women have been sexually assaulted,  harassed, or abused, it is our duty to stand with them and acknowledge that their voices matter. That is why I’m here,” said Gloria Rosario ’19, a member of the Sr. Thea Bowman Center for Women. 

The event included a dance performance to the campaign’s anthem “I Rise,” a reading of Eve Ensler’s poem “Over It,” multiple student speakers, pizza, music, and a prayer from Father Sean O'Brien. Tables surrounding the Maloney Great Room provided resources for organizations both on and off campus, such as the Unity House of Troy, a domestic violence service that offers a safe space to all victims of domestic abuse. 

“Rising is no longer a campaign but a way of life. We are guided by Franciscan faith and tradition, standing in solidarity with one billion women,” said Emily Radigan ’19, senior intern for the Women’s Center.

One statistic that the campaign uses is that “One in three women across the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime.” In order to take the steps to make statistics like this to diminish, Siena’s community brings awareness and starts a continuing conversation about sexual assault not only on campus, but everywhere. 

“Even a small school like Siena supporting the fight against gender based violence gives me hope. I have faith we will do this for many more years to come, until there are zero women faced with abuse,” said Nicole Alex ’19, a senior studying psychology. Siena and their community sponsors will continue to support and Rise, Release, Dance, and demand Justice with their sisters in the One Billion Rising movement.

To learn more about One Billion Rising, click here.