SPEAK leads annual Rock Against Rape

Students performed and spoke to raise money for and awareness of sexual assault in Rockbridge County


The women of Jubilee perform at Rock Against Rape on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

Kylee Sapp

Students and faculty gathered in Commons Nov. 10 to raise awareness for sexual assault prevention on campus in the annual Rock Against Rape concert.

The event featured musical performances from W&L a capella groups, individual students and members of the Lexington community. Members of SPEAK also talked about sexual assault prevention and read a story from the Facing Sexual Violence in Rockbridge County book that was released last spring.

“Each year we put on a concert in the fall term called Rock Against Rape in order to raise awareness of sexual assault and violence in the Rockbridge area,” co-president of SPEAK Emma Swabb, ’16, said. “The goal is to raise money for Project Horizon to support all the vital services they provide for survivors in the area.”

SPEAK raised money by taking donations for Project Horizon and selling t-shirts for the concert, both at the event and the week beforehand.

Students really enjoyed the concert.

“It was such a  great event,” Mandie Wahlers, ’18, said. “Raising awareness for sexual violence is so important because sexual violence affects so many people in every community. Events like this help bring attention to the issue and the importance of sexual violence prevention and support efforts.

Several times during the concert, between performances, members of SPEAK discussed the importance of raising awareness of sexual violence. Kate Dalia, ’18, read an anonymous survivor’s story to emphasize the reality of these stories.

The story came from the Facing Sexual Violence in Rockbridge County project, which was started last year by Anna Kathryn Barnes, ’15, and Noelle Rutland, ’17. It is a collection of anonymous stories of 26 Rockbridge County survivors of sexual assault.

“Sexual violence is an issue that is far too prevalent in our community and it is not talked about enough,” Barnes said last spring. “The Facing Project gives community members a chance to speak to how they have been affected by the issue first-hand.”

The concert lasted about two hours. Some students stayed the entire time, while others came and went.

Several of the performers mentioned sexual violence and the need to raise awareness during their set.

“It was awesome to see so many people come out and perform to show their support,” Wahlers said.
“I believe we have had a very successful year!” she said.