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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn students take a stand against sexual assault through upcoming event

<p>There will be a candlelight vigil held at the end of the installation.</p>

There will be a candlelight vigil held at the end of the installation.

Regan Moss and Katie Carroll, two Auburn students, are curating a space for sexual assault survivors and victims to express their experiences through art. 

Moss, senior in microbiology and neuroscience, and Carroll, junior in journalism, are hosting “What Were You Wearing,” an event that raises awareness and support for sexual assault survivors and victims.

The event will begin on April 14 at the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities, also known as Pebble Hill. The event is free and open to the Auburn community. It starts at 8 a.m. and runs until 8 p.m. 

Moss and Carroll have worked on this idea for a while — in fact, it’s been a year in the making. They have been hands-on throughout the process including orchestrating the display portion of "What Were You Wearing."

“I’m leaning more toward the art side, and Regan had the advocacy background,” Carroll said. 

The two students said they hope the event spreads awareness about sexual assault and other power-based violence as well as helps anyone who has been through similar experiences know they are not alone. 

“We’re working with the perimeters of their comfort,” Carroll said, considering the nature of the event's topic. 

In addition to the display, Melissa Sawyer, counselor and support services coordinator for Auburn University Student Counseling and Psychological Services, will speak on her experience at 6 p.m., leading a discussion regarding sexual violence. 

“We want to give these people a chance to be in control of their narrative," Moss said. 

Carroll and Moss want to highlight awareness for survivors of power-based violence as well as curate a space for victims and survivors to express themselves through art and poetry. 

“We want to give people the platform to say what they need to say," Carroll said. 

People can submit mixed media, poetry and artwork for public display at the event. The two students chose to add submission items through planning and through hearing feedback from others.  

“It could be more comfortable for people, and this helps to not limit people from participating,” Moss said. 

Before the event, participants of any age can submit clothing, artwork, mixed media and poetry for public display. People will be free to express themselves with whatever they choose to showcase. Submissions will close on March 1. 

“It will be cool to be able to display peoples’ experiences directly from them,” Moss said.  

While the "What Were You Wearing" display is open throughout the day, as of now they hope to end the event with a candle vigil.

“We’re just starting to spread the word and gauge interest," Carroll said. "It’s really important for people to know that they can be anonymous and not have to put a name or a face out there."

In addition to helping coordinate this event, Carroll is minoring in art history, which helps to plan the artistic aspect of the event. Meanwhile, Moss is in charge of the sexual assault awareness committee with the women initiatives and gender equity office, along with various organizations geared toward sexual violence. 

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“This is pretty much how we became friends,” Carroll said when explaining how the two came up with the idea. 

Moss and Carroll said people can submit personal work through this link and they are free to answer any questions regarding the upcoming event.

“Our emails are always open,” Moss said. 

Virginia Shea | Culture Writer

Virginia Shea, sophomore in pre-public relations, is a culture writer at The Auburn Plainsman. 

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