‘Don’t You Dare’ campaign aims to raise awareness about sexual assault

The 2018 Panhellenic Executive board started the Don’t You Dare Campaign this year at Sonoma State University to empower women and raise awareness of sexual assault in hopes of lowering the risk of being a victim. 

There were four events held during the week in honor of this campaign, each representing a different issue at hand. The week began with the Don’t You Dare Bring Us Down event and ended on Thursday with the Don’t You Dare Forget About Consent event. 

Bianca Peralta, vice president of the Standards of the Panhellenic board, created the campaign back in February with the help of the rest of the executive board and has planned to execute this week-long event ever since. 

“I think it was really important for the Panhellenic community to have one common goal, and that’s women supporting women,” Peralta said. “I think it’s a message that often gets forgotten.” 

Sisters from all different sororities attended these events to unite as women and empower each other to stand up for themselves. 

“The message is growing that feminism is a thing; I am woman, I am a person, I have feelings, I have emotions and I have power,” said Erin Furnary, an SSU student. “I think this campaign really emphasizes that and is reminding a lot of people that I am here, so you will listen to me speak. You don’t have to agree with what I say, but you will hear me speak because I am not afraid.”

The first event held, the Don’t You Dare Bring Us Down, brought Panhellenic women together to voice their thoughts and beliefs through empowering female quotes with chalk. 

The second event, the Don’t You Dare Drink and Drive, welcomed people to sign a pledge against drinking and driving, to remind everyone the risks and devastation that comes from driving intoxicated. 

The third event, the Don’t You Dare Abuse Her Zumba, filled an entire room with women to dance together and support the ‘breaking the chain’ movement. 

“Honestly, I thought three people would show up tonight,” Peralta said. “The room was completely full, so it’s beyond anything I could have prepared for. I was so happy how involved girls have been.” 

The last event to wrap the week up was Don’t You Dare Forget About Consent, where any student could take part in making stress balls or writing  encouraging notes to friends or the cause in general. 

Carly Wade, the recruitment chair of the Panhellenic board, said the Don’t You Dare Campaign is such a good way to bring awareness of alcohol use, sexual consent and abuse to campus. 

“A lot of people have been through these issues, and they are struggling to find their voice, and we’re here to try and help,” Wade said. “As a Panhellenic woman I am here to build girls’ confidence up and help them feel empowered in their day-to-day lives.”

Greek women on campus are taking the initiative to support all women  at the university who have been sexually assaulted or it has affected in some way or another. The campaign has brought women together regardless of their past, skin color or story to support each other for the same cause. 

“I hope for Greek unity, not just for this week, but hopefully down the line,” Peralta said. “I hope girls can see each other on campus and feel comfortable and when they see a Panhellenic sister in a situation where they are being hurt, they can stand up for them.”