Rock against rape offers more than just music

By ADAM WILSON, staff reporter

One of the Wellness Center’s biggest goals is to spread awareness on the importance of preventing sexual assaults. They aim to do this through a rock concert.

Rock Against Rape 2013 will be the fifth year Central Washington University has hosted the event, which mixes free music performances with educational messages about sexual assault and rape.

“I think that it gives a different taste,” said health educator Alice Bowman. “Things that people would normally go to for fun now have purpose.”

Bowman has worked with the Wellness Center since she was a student at Central, and has been involved with Rock Against Rape for the past three years.  According to Bowman, more students attend every year.  Last year, about 400 students attended.

Bowman promises a completely new setup for the event, which will be held inside the SURC Ballroom.  The event will continue tradition by offering free food and t-shirts to those who visit all the booths.

“It allows students to educate themselves and advocate on behalf of victims in nontraditional ways,” Bowman said.

This year’s festivities include three performers, two of whom are new to the event.  One artist, Alex Mabey, is a student at Central.  Though she is a senior, this is her first experience with Rock Against Rape.

“I just transferred here in the fall,” Mabey said. “I’m just new to all the events going on.”

Though Mabey usually gets paid to perform her music, which she describes as indie, her performance at Rock Against Rape will be voluntary.

“I want to touch people—that’s my main reason in playing music,” Mabey said. “If I can leave a mark on them, I’ve definitely done my job. I want to say the words for people that can’t find a way to say it.”

Other artists performing include indie artist Sad Little Men and Seattle-based funk band Tip the Base.

Health educator Andrea Easlick believes a rock concert is a great method of conveying the message to college students.

“I think that music can bring a lot of different people together,” Easlick said.  “Really, it’s kinda the draw.”

Easlick is the interim director at the Wellness Center and has helped coordinate Rock Against Rape since the first year Central hosted it.  She got the idea while studying for her master’s at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.  The university also had a similar event.

“I think it does put it in a light that’s easier to talk about it versus being in a classroom,” Easlick said. “I think the way the information is presented and the atmosphere that’s created makes it easier for people to talk about.”

In addition to the music performances, there will be an art competition and several on-campus organizations providing educational activities throughout the day.  These clubs include Equality through Queers and Allies, Abuse Support and Prevention Education Now, Center for Diversity and Social Justice, Feminist Majority Leadership Association, and the Roller Derby Club.

“It’s a really great way for them to show everybody else that it’s not just about them and the group that they represent,” Easlick said.  “We’re not just all pigeon-holed into these one single issues.”

In past years, feedback about Rock Against Rape has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Easlick.

“We’ve had some really good anecdotal feedback in the past saying ‘this is the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced’ or ‘everyone needs to come to this,’” Easlick said.

At the end of the day, the Wellness Center hopes attendees come out of it with more knowledge about sexual assault and rape and what they can do to prevent it.

“That’s all that we really hope for,” Easlick said.