It’s On Us Action Week provides healing resources, art therapy for survivors


Audrey Cahak / Hilltop Views

Participants at the second chapter meeting paint and put together their bowls. This was meant to represent the trauma and healing process.

The week of Oct. 21-24 is recognized as  It’s On UsWeek of Action, and members of the St. Edward’s University’s chapter have taken initiative in raising awareness for sensitive and stigmatized topics surrounding sexual assault in the name of advocacy and support. 

Founded in 2014 by the Obama administration, It’s On Us (IOU) is a national organization advocating for survivors of sexual assault. It is driven by the goal of informing the general public on how to advocate and be an active bystander, as well as offering resources to those affected by trauma. 

While the SEU chapter is predominantly female, officer Sean Svoboda explained what it is like working with the team. “We are a very inclusive and loving community,” he said. “I have been the only male on the team for about two years, at least on the board, and we are trying to get more young men to join.” 

Svoboda believes that their men’s initiative is something everyone in the community should know about. 

“We have been successful in getting a couple more men to join, but we’ll keep trying,” Svoboda said.

Throughout the week, officers and members of the IOU chapter tabled in front of Moody Hall to inform passersby about their mission and other activities for the week. 

Beside the table was a small Christmas tree. Students were asked to create paper ornaments with positive notes to survivors of any trauma. By the end of the week, the tree was adorned with beautiful and empowering messages. This included sayings like “you are not alone,” “you are safe” and “you are not to blame.” The Christmas tree was used to symbolize the message for the week: Making sexual assault as out of place as Christmas in October. 

On Oct. 24 , the organization hosted an event in which participants broke bowls and pieced them back together, signifying the trauma and healing process. 

After participants broke their ceramic bowls, President Sierra Rozen said “This is what life feels like. Now, paint your bowl and make it a resemblance of you, how you want it to look.” Everyone was asked to paint their bowls any way they pleased and make them their own.The steps to getting better may not look pretty, but you can make it your own. 

Students showed artwork from primary color-block paintings to intricate ocean waves, making it as unique to them as possible and using it to symbolize their healing process.

“They explained that it was going to be about the healing and trauma for sexual assault victims,” a student shared. “For me that’s really close to home because I’ve had people who have been victims of that. My mom, she’s a SHARP (Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention) representative in the military … so I’ve been there with her to talk to people. I feel like it’s something that everyone should experience,” she said.

Whether an officer or a freshman looking to get involved, It’s On Us informs all on campus of the severity and solutions of sexual assault on campus.