SpeakOut!, held once in the fall and once in the spring, is a program featuring a series of anonymous testimonials about sexual and interpersonal violence. This year, there will be performances by a cappella group Cadence and spoken word organization UNC Wordsmiths. The event aims to create a space for both survivors to speak and allies to listen.
The testimonials shared at the event are made up of anonymous submissions left on the organization’s permanent blog. They will be reviewing stories up until the start of the event and then there will be an open mic at the end for those who would like to comment or share.
There were 21 reported rapes at UNC in 2015, according to the 2016 Annual Campus Security Report. The Pit will be decorated with stars for each reported assault at UNC and five additional for the number of testimonials Project Dinah receives.
Emily Crockett, a senior, had her story read at last year’s event.
“It was really powerful,” she said. “Hearing the same things I was thinking and the same emotions being so tangible.”
She said she is happy people are finally talking about the issue of sexual assault and there is an environment to have an open dialogue.
Crockett said the event was important because of the catharsis it provided to both the survivors and the allies.
The goal of the event is to put a voice to survivor’s experiences, said Anna Taylor, co-chairperson of SpeakOut!.