CSC group mobs for a cause

On Feb. 14the Wal-Mart parking lot in Rutland was filled with men and women supporting and raising awareness about violence against women and girls.

They were participating in the 15thanniversary of “V-Day” created by Eve Ensler, the author of The Vagina Monologues. A form of activism evolved from the V-Day idea called “One Billion Rising,” which signifies that one out of three girls internationally are affected by gender based violence.

Angela Buffman, the Rutland County Women’s Network and Shelter’s child and youth legal advocate, organized the event in Rutland. It was planned as a flash-mob where men and women would learn a dance that goes with the song “Break the Chain.” A car sat in the middle of the group as a poem by Eve Ensler was played first and then the song lyrics “it’s time to break the chain” blared through the speakers.

Sarah Carpenter, an advocate on the Castleton State College campus and at the Rutland County Women’s Network and Shelter, informed Peer Advocates for Change members about the event and along with student Samantha Barrale taught them the dance.

“Angela brought it to my attention and asked me to get friends and community attention so I brought it up at a PAC meeting and to some professors and that’s how the Castleton community got involved,” said Carpenter.

Professor Linda Olson said she really enjoyed participating and learning the dance even though she joked that she learned it badly and stood at the back so no one would see her. She said that the school has been long time community partners with the shelter.

“It was a good way to increase awareness on relationship violence to a global standpoint,” said Olson.

Members of the Castleton community made up the majority of the participants, said CHANGE coordinator Amy Bremel.

“I definitely saw many faces I knew,” said Bremel. 

She was also very grateful to see that law enforcement came to support the cause and event, she said.

“One female officer was involved and cheering us on,” said Bremel, clearly ecstatic about the support.

New members of PAC said they were moved by the event.

“I just started with PAC this semester. I really liked it, it was so powerful,” said Elizabeth Hubbard.

Barrale said the main reason to get involved was the important message behind the event.

“Once I heard the lyrics in the song, I heard how powerful it was and wanted to get more people involved,” she said.

She said that it was so important for PAC members to get involved because it relates to what they do as a group and it’s very important to stand up against gender based violence. She also went on to say that the PAC members wore their “Got Consent” shirts to go along with the red and black theme.

“[Valentine’s Day] was a really unique time to do it because people think about happy and healthy relationships, but they don’t think about people experiencing violence and abuse,” said Barrale.

Just being involved in giving a voice to someone who can’t speak for themselves is a powerful thing, she said.

“I like being actively involved because I know it makes a difference,” said Barrale.

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