While giddy couples pranced around on Valentine’s Day, exchanging cards, chocolates and dinner dates, one group at Castleton was working to spread a different meaning of Valentine’s Day.
To them it is more than that – it is a day to raise awareness to end violence against women and girls.
According to the V-day website, “V-Day” is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations.
This Valentine’s Day, the Peer Advocates for Change at Castleton sponsored their own V-Day event in the Campus Center, to help raise awareness at the local level.
The volunteer group on campus consists of students who have been trained to educate the campus about sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking and harassment. They also provide a hotline for people who need help.
“The booth was really about sexual assault awareness and relationship violence awareness,” said Amy Bremel, the CHANGE Initiative Coordinator at Castleton. “We wanted to have another ‘Got Consent Day’ and thought it would be a good day to do that.”
The booth featured quizzes testing people’s knowledge on relationship violence and consent. They also encouraged students to wear their ‘Got Consent’ shirts and were handing out prizes to those who did.
“If they wore their shirts– they got a prize,” Bremel said. “They were strawberry flavored condoms.”
Group members also handed out information about the Peer Advocates for Change and the Rutland County Women’s Shelter.
Jessica Janus, a Castleton sophomore who was manning the booth, said that they were essentially trying to change the meaning of Valentine’s Day, to show love in a positive way.
“Most of the time on Valentine’s Day you hear phrases like Be Mine, etc.,” Janus said, adding that the group was trying to express that phrases like these can often have possessive and demeaning implications.
“We just wanted to show that there is more to Valentine’s Day than that.”
Samantha Barrale, a junior at Castleton, said she was very pleased with the turnout and that they were able to help raise awareness.
“A lot of people came with their ‘Got Consent’ shirt, which is really good, and a lot of people have been taking the surveys, filling them out, and just being active,” Barrale said.