GW Amnesty International held a candlelight vigil in Kogan Plaza Tuesday evening to support women’s rights and to educate the public about violence against women as a part of International Women’s Day.
The group launched a campaign demanding comprehensive services for sexual assault victims specifically in Foggy Bottom and encouraged participants to sign a petition urging the University to provide better services to sexual assault survivors.
Rory Gerberg, GW Amnesty International’s president, said the organization was inspired to hold the event after learning that the University and GW Hospital don’t provide rape kits to survivors of sexual assault.
“This was deeply troubling to our organization and after a general members meeting where we discussed violence against women we found that it was an issue that impassioned Amnesty members,” Gerberg said.
GW Amnesty International’s petition also comes after a campaign by Students Against Sexual Assault last month, which called on the University to better publicize sexual assault resources.
While GW’s Student Health Service does offer basic treatment for survivors of sexual assault, victims are generally sent to the Washington Hospital Center for rape kits.
The Washington Hospital Center is the District’s base for nurses who provide rape kits, and survivors can be transported there from campus or GW Hospital.
Gerberg said that the group as a whole was surprised to learn that GW doesn’t provide these services for victims at GW medical centers.
“Little is being done by the University to prevent sexual assault and it is now time to begin advocating for this cause,” Gerberg said.
GW Amnesty International arranged candles around the clock in Kogan Plaza and set up a table to get petitions for the cause signed during the event.
The organization asked students to take two minutes for a moment of silence, representing the statistic that every two minutes a woman is sexually assaulted, junior Tim Savoy, the group’s executive coordinator, said.
Senior Devan Quinn signed the group’s petition and said she was very much in favor of the cause.
“The group set up a great visual with the candles,” Quinn said. “It gives off a strong message.”
Gerberg said that it is important for people to know about a problem that is affecting so many women around the world.
“In America no one knows it is International Women’s Day,” Gerberg said. “We should be celebrating.”
The campaign will continue through next month.