MARS video expresses support for sexual assault victims


Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Communication senior Itai Joseph films a student on Feb. 12 for a video produced by Northwestern Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault. MARS released the “I Support Survivors” video to demonstrate its support for sexual assault victims on campus.

Edward Cox, Assistant Web Editor

To show support for survivors of sexual abuse, Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault created a short clip featuring students reading messages of encouragement.

In the video, student leaders from various student groups read aloud supportive statements written on a whiteboard behind them. The video, titled “I Support Survivors,” has been promoted on social media since it was posted Monday night.

“We wanted to demonstrate that the Northwestern community cares and supports all survivors of sexual assault,” MARS member Ian Robinson said. “Anyone can be a survivor, and anyone knows a survivor, whether or not they realize that.”

The video focuses on community support for survivors of sexual assault, which contrasts the media stories that sometimes focus on the negative aspects of such situations, said Robinson, a Medill junior. It was created about a week after a Northwestern student sued the University in a Title IX lawsuit.

The decision of what to write was left up to participants, SESP junior Meg McPherson said. McPherson wrote “I support you” on the board but she wished she had added, “because it’s not your fault.”

One drawback of the final video production was that participants tended to focus on women in relation to sexual assault, McPherson said.

“I just wish there would have been more people who thought of, ‘I support him,'” she said. “It’s more reflective of the student body than MARS.”

The all-male peer organization, which was founded in 2009, produced the video to increase awareness about sexual abuse. The video fits into the group’s peer education scheme that involves presentations at fraternities, member Louis Dietchweiler said. The group also invited former Amherst College student Angie Epifano to speak Fall Quarter about her experiences as a victim of rape.

(Author of viral article recounting sexual assault experience speaks at Northwestern)

Although MARS is a relatively small organization, its members were able to get people from around campus involved to spread the group’s message about awareness of sexual abuse issues, Dietchweiler said. The group is affiliated with Northwestern University Health Service and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

“I personally think it’s very powerful to see fellow students speak,” Dietchweiler said.

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