CNU’s Shadow Event let community members share their story
Clenched hands and misty eyes were experienced by those in attendance at the Diamonstein concert hall on Monday, Nov. 5. during Where is the Line and Fear 2 Freedom’s annual Shadow Event.
The event, which featured first-hand accounts of sexual assault gives CNU community members the opportunity to speak out, get support and heal while starting a conversation about sexual assault. It also does all of this while keeping the identity of the speakers protected, to further help them along in the recovery process.
All of this is accomplished largely due to the unique nature of the event. Each speaker spoke behind a backlit curtain and moved on and off stage along private paths and into private backstage areas. This gave those who participated the opportunity to share their story without fear.
Erin Breeden, president of Where is the Line club at CNU, explained the importance of this anonymity, sharing that the speakers of the event are vulnerable and face fear coming forward. She also went on to further state that their “courage to come forward and actually speak is the most important part of the event… without them, there would be no event.”
Breeden knows firsthand the importance of the event, she spoke at the event her sophomore year and she says that it was an important step in her recovery process. “After I spoke I became more involved. Before it, I was like ‘yes these things are important’, but I didn’t want to talk about it because it was an open wound, it wasn’t healing before I spoke.” She went on to state that the shadow event “helps in the healing process and in being more open.”
After Breeden spoke her sophomore year she went on to take a leadership position in the organization and is the club’s current President. She states that this first step of sharing her story launched her into her role.
The annual event featured six speakers this year, each one sharing their own personal stories, each story individual in its style and representation.
The speakers were chosen after calls for speakers were made by Breeden internally in the Where is the Line club and externally via the Daily Digest page. The speakers then met together to air out any anxieties they may have. Breeden also helped students prepare their speeches, offering support and guidance where she could. Breeden made sure not to over-step in her guidance, “it doesn’t matter what I think they should say, it matters what helps them through the healing process.”
This healing process was paramount at the event, starting at the very entrance. Attendees were given cards to write messages of support to those speaking as they entered. Attendees were then met by Rosemary Trible herself, with Trible personally thanking those that came out to support.
The event also featured performances from the group University Sounds and performer Anna Trotter. Both sang songs that uplifted the audience in between the speakers.
The Office of Counseling also had two counselors on staff to protect and comfort those that may have been affected.
Breeden emphasized the importance of the event “you get up there to speak to heal yourself, but you want to inspire people who are more scared or hesitant to speak to know that what happened to them is valid and important and that they should share it because it would make them feel a lot better.”
The Shadow Event is held annually in the Fall semester.