Benefit aids rape victims

By Gus Bode

Art, action, music and a healthy dose of education mingled over the weekend in an effort to combat rape.

A diverse community of people came together at Mugsy McGuire’s Friday for the Rock Out Against Rape benefit show for the Carbondale Women’s Center.

The goal of the event, which raised nearly $2,000 for the center, was to celebrate the strength of survivors and cast a light on the one in three women who will be the victims of sexual assault in their lifetime, event organizer Elissa Johnson said.


“We do this event to raise awareness about our services, to get people talking about (sexual assault and domestic violence) and get a group of people together that have a voice that’s loud enough to stop it,” she said

That voice came out in smooth rhythms, heartfelt beats and fierce shrieks – compliments of a collection of local bands and musicians including the Conniption Fitts, Hyphenate, Oscifer, Henerietta Margenthaler and Broken Bricks. Local artists Esteban DelValle and Justin Rosenfield also created live art throughout the night.

In addition to the money raised, the event served to promote the many services of the Carbondale Women’s Center, said Johnson, a volunteer recruiter for the center.

The center’s services include a 24-hour crisis hotline, an emergency shelter and counseling – all of which can help women cope with situations involving domestic and sexual abuse, said Sarah Beck, a prevention educator for the center. The center also provides legal, medical and personal advocacy.

Phil Garcia, a volunteer at the center whose stage name is Oscifer, spoke to the crowd between songs about the “epidemic of violence.”

“There is no cure for domestic violence,” said Garcia, a senior from Chicago studying creative writing. “There is only a vaccination, and that’s education.”

Oscifer, Hyphenate and the Conniption Fitts played at the 2006 Rock Out Against Rape. Johnson said they represent a community of musicians that want to play a larger role in their community.


“A lot of the time the bands that you see on a Friday night are also the bands that are interested in doing something good for their community,” Johnson said. “They’re interested in getting angry about the violence that exists in our community and they’re interested in stopping it.”

Conniption Fitts guitarist Lauren Owen agreed with Johnson’s assessment and said the band tries to play a lot of benefit shows.

“We like to support local communities, if there’s a bigger issue that ties into it like this, even better,” said Owen, a junior from Edwardsville studying art history.

Owen said it is important for men to understand that you don’t have to be a woman to care about women’s issues.

John Deas, a Carbondale resident who attended the event, said men often don’t know how they can help in a situation of abuse or sexual assault, but that it is important for men to support women when they need and request male support.

Deas said men must play a role in helping other men who are being abusive to overcome their own anger and psychological issues if the violence is ever going to stop.

“You’ve got to find a guy who really cares about people to put aside the prejudices he may have towards people who are being abusive and actually try to help them,” he said. “It’s a hard thing to accept, but we’re all humans.”

Beck said male volunteers typically work as community educators or with the children whose mothers come to the center’s shelter for help.

“It’s a really good, positive thing for the kids to see men who are stepping up who don’t hit, who treat their moms with respect and treat them with respect too,” she said.

Johnson said all the services the center provides for the community are free and would be impossible without the large number of volunteer hours provided by students and community members.

“Without our volunteers we would literally have to close our doors,” she said.

The center provides a free month long volunteer training program during the spring, summer and fall, with this summer’s training beginning June 15.

Upon completion of the training, individuals become state certified crisis intervention advocates.

Beck said everyone could play a part in ending the violence not only by coming to the center and offering a small amount of their time, but also by being vocal when situations do occur.

“Violence exists and continues to exist because people are silent about it – because they don’t talk about it, don’t report it and they feel ashamed about it,” she said. “It’s something that needs to be addressed. We need to come out and say it’s something that is not tolerated.”

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