Raising awareness against violence with Project Survive
By Gardenia Zuniga-Haro
City College’s Project Survive is hosting its annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month events throughout October by providing workshops on violence prevention and raising awareness on trauma.
“We have a unique program here at City College, because with Project Survive we can involve the community with peer education and help anyone heal from any trauma they have,” said Maggie Harrison, department chair for Women’s Studies and member of Project Survive.
A community ritual called Living Room was held on Ocean Campus on Tuesday, Oct. 11 to practice healing from historical and individual trauma.
More than 50 people, including faculty and students, attended. Special guest Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs hosted activities such as poetry readings from June Jordan and healing workshops.
During one of the pain release exercises, audience members closed their eyes as they were instructed to “roar out your traumas.” Tears streamed down some of their faces as they made room for healing and forgiveness.
Gumbs smiled when she saw people have an emotional reaction through her activities.
Project Survive was established in the early 90s and involved the San Francisco community with multiple resources for domestic violence prevention. It continues to help individuals relieve any trauma from past experiences by use of therapeutic, poetic and engaging group activities.
The program also offers peer educators for survivors. These peer educators are students who take classes in fields such as social justice, women’s studies and politics of sexual violence.
“As a peer educator, I am involved in my community by assisting La Casa De Las Madres with education for violence prevention,” said women’s studies student Samantha Santos. “Not only do I get to assist women’s shelters, but we also go the local high schools to educate 9th grade classes, to teach them the ‘Yes Means Yes’ law and sexual violence prevention.”
In an attempt to boost campus safety, City College has taken steps to implement Senate Bill 967, or the “Yes Means Yes” law. The “Yes Means Yes” law states that if both partners give consent for sexual activity, confirmations from both sides will prevent sexual violence.
The law targets high school curriculums specifically, where Project Survive promotes their educators.
One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college, and more than 90 percent of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
“We have a relatively safe campus,” said Leslie Simon, interim Project Survive coordinator. “We don’t have dormitories and most rapes happens where people live.”
Campus police are assigned patrols in each campus, with officers being assigned both day and evening shifts while the campus is open.
“CCSF has many resources such as escort services and the 911 Shield Safety App. It also provides referrals for free self-defense classes,” said sergeant Tiffany Green from the City College police department.