6th annual SU Rising: Stop Sexual Abuse event held at Hendricks Chapel

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The 6th Annual SU Rising event was held at Hendricks Chapel on Friday night.

Members of the Syracuse University community came together in Hendricks Chapel on Friday night to raise awareness about sexual abuse in the sixth annual SU Rising: Stop Sexual Abuse event.

The event included several speeches and performances from various university organizations. A candlelight vigil and moment of silence were also held on the steps of Hendricks Chapel.

“It’s a call to action to stop sexual abuse and all kinds of patriarchy and misogyny, to create a world that is full of compassion and love, and to be together in that,” said Tula Goenka, an SU professor and one of the organizers and speakers at the event.

SU Rising joins playwright and activist Eve Ensler’s “One Billion Rising” international call to action in protest of violence against women.

SU Rising included performances by belly dancing troupe Otto’s Empire and readings of two of Ensler’s poems: “A Man Prayer” and “Rising.”


“I think realizing how personal it is and realizing how it affects more people than you would ever think,” said Chris Kosakowski, a Vera House campus project educator who performed one of the poems. “But just being there and being an open listening person, offering your full support, is an incredibly powerful thing.”

The event also aimed to raise awareness of campus resources. The program listed seven options for students seeking help: Sexual and Relationship Violence Response Team, Hendricks Chapel, Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual & Relationship Violence, the Vera House, Office of Health Promotion, Contemplative Collaborative and SASSE.

Megan Dietz spoke on behalf of the Counseling Center to explain the confidential support resources available for students who may have experienced sexual abuse.

Kosakowski said he remains hopeful that educating the campus and local communities about sexual abuse will help end it.

“I think people are a lot more aware of the issues now, but still think it’s something they don’t have the power to make a change on,” Kosakowski said.

He added that he thought people don’t recognize their own knowledge or power to make a social change.

Individual empowerment was a central theme throughout many of the speeches and performances, with multiple speakers charging individuals to recognize they can individually make a difference.

Goenka said she believed individual action is fundamental to changing rape culture.

“I think it is a larger issue of changing rape culture, and I think we all have to make our voices heard one-by-one,” Goenka said.

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