Week of Action Brings Awareness to Sexual Harassment and Assault


Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram

Seven events including the clothesline project (picured) made up Week of Action.

Last week, the United Student Government Committee on Sexual Misconduct (CSM) hosted its Week of Action for the fall semester. The program consisted of seven events held throughout the week.

CSM started the week with the Clothesline Project on Monday, Oct. 21. Survivors of sexual assault had the opportunity to write their stories on a t-shirt and hang it from the clothesline along McGinley Center walkway. Others showed their support by writing a message on a t-shirt and hanging it on the fence, as well. CSM usually starts its Week of Action with this event.

“It’s probably the most visible event on campus, so it reaches the greatest audience,” said Lindsey Sullivan, FCRH ’22, co-chair of CSM. “We really liked that we’re able to keep it up all week, too, so most students can see it.”

On Tuesday morning, CSM hosted a self-defense class in the gym. Emma Budd, FCRH ’20, co-chair of CSM, said CSM thinks it is important for people to know how to defend themselves.

“We want to make sure that we’re not placing blame on a survivor for someone else attacking them, but the fact of the matter is that this is a real situation that could happen, and so we want to make sure that people feel comfortable defending themselves if they were ever caught up in it,” she said.

Tuesday night, they hosted a program called “Stick Up for Survivors” in the freshman residence halls with Residence Assistants. Students had the chance to write messages of support for survivors on sticky notes and hang them up in the residence halls.

Wednesday, CSM partnered with the Residence Halls Association (RHA) for themed Quizzo. The second round of questions were about consent, statistics that surround sexual assault harassment and misconduct and the resources that are offered at Fordham.

“I think it went really well,” said Budd. “We learned a lot, and RHA is really excited to partner with us, and we’re glad to have them as a co-programmer now.”

During the activity block on Thursday, CSM hosted “My Name Isn’t,” a conversational event about street harassment. Attendees were welcomed with refreshments and were invited to talk about experiences they have had with street harassment. Sullivan said people were invited to write down examples of names they have been called on the street and take back the power from cat-callers.

“It’s important to keep that conversation going and make sure that we’re aware that it’s a very real thing, but also something that I feel like women normalize because it happens so much,” said Budd.

Thursday night, they co-programmed with Leading Women of Tomorrow for a conversation on sexual harassment in the workplace. Budd said this is another new event for CSM, but they had a good turnout.

The week ended on Friday with Candy and Consent, when CSM handed out candy stapled to papers listing different resources. This event occurred during the Fordham Flea Market as a program with the sustainability committee. Sullivan said they attached the CARE Connect number, which is a new resource this year. Students can text 718-817-CARE to receive information about the CARE manual.

This year’s Week of Action lineup included a lot of new events, thanks to CSM’s 24 members, many of whom are new. Sullivan said it was helpful having a lot of new members and such a large committee this year for planning purposes.

Budd said this is the most events they have ever done during Week of Action.

“We have a large group of very passionate and hardworking people, so we’re lucky that we were able to pull it off because of everybody’s help and support,” Budd said.

Sullivan said this year they branched out and co-programmed a lot, which they have not done for a week of action before.

“It was really cool to work with other groups and get feedback on what they want to see during week of action and topics that they want to discuss,” she said.

Sullivan said CSM does a lot of work with the administration on initiative-based projects, but week of action is the biggest event geared towards students about opening up the conversation about sexual harassment and showing support for survivors.

“I feel like it’s really important to continue to reinforce that those support systems exist at Fordham, and also I just feel like a lot of the events we hold are really powerful to and showing support for survivors of sexual assault,” said Sullivan.

Budd and Sullivan said Dean Arcuri, Dean Rogers, and Stephen Esposito assisted planning the Week of Action.

“We definitely wouldn’t be able to do all we do without the support of administration and how invested they are in making sure like our events are successful so we’re really grateful to them,” said Sullivan.