Raising awareness through riffs and rhymes
Courtesy / Tom Gunnels
Rock Against Rape
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, another American is sexually assaulted every two minutes. That amounts to more than
200,000 victims of sexual assault each year in the U.S. alone. Statistics such as these are the reason
why a trio of Grand Valley State University organizations holds a yearly evening of live music to raise
awareness of sexual assault among the student body.
The 10th annual concert, Rock Against Rape, will be held at the Fieldhouse Arena on April 4 at 6 p.m.,
and it is a joint effort between Eyes Wide Open, Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and Sigma Kappa Sorority.
“Rock Against Rape is valuable in terms of sexual assault awareness,” said Lauren Kaphengst, a senior
and the event manager of RAR. “Many people don’t realize how often sexual assault and rape occur,
especially in the college setting. One out of four women in college will be affected by sexual assault.”
The gathering will combine live music and poetry along with professional guidance available at
informational booths staffed by the Women’s Center. The event will feature performances by
Americana/folk band The Crane Wives, ‘90s cover band Brena, and nationally acclaimed spoken word
artist Lacey Roop.
“We realize that (sexual assault) isn’t the most upbeat subject,” Kaphengst said. “Though we may not
be a gigantic event, I hope that at least one person could benefit from this, realizing that they are not
alone. A lot of people that this affects never have the courage to talk about it. We want people to talk
The event is free and open to the public, and it will offer free food and beverages to those in
attendance. Structured to offer an enjoyable, comfortable environment for GVSU’s community, RAR
aims to teach about sexual assault awareness, how to become an active bystander, and how to seek
help if needed.
“One of the best things about RAR is that we never intend to scold anyone for going out with friends
and enjoying themselves,” said Adam Wernette, senior and president of RAR. “We all should be able to
have fun and enjoy college while we are able to do so.”
Wernette said people attending the event will gain knowledge to better educate themselves on the dos
and don’ts of going out with friends.
“Sexual assault typically happens with someone that you know,” Wernette said. “If someone around
you is knowledgeable enough to know something isn’t right, then they will be able to either step in or
help that person if something bad happens.”
The groups involved hope to show the GVSU community that it is not unaffected by the issue of rape.
“I, like many others, have been affected,” Kaphengst said. “You never know who could have gone
through this traumatic experience, whether it’s your girlfriend, aunt, cousin or mother. Sexual assault
and rape happen. It happens, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of — we are survivors.”
For more information, visit www.gvsu.edu/events/rock-against-rape-2.