‘Ichabods Speak Out’ shares poetry against sexual assault

“Ichabods Speak Out” Open-Mic Poetry Reading will be hosted by Dennis Etzel Jr., a English lecturer, and Jericho Hockett, assistant professor of psychology, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4 at the Union Underground.

Students, staff and faculty are welcome to share poetry or listen to others and speak out against sexual assault and advocate for a culture of consent. People are asked to arrive around 1:15 p.m. to sign up or chat before it begins.

“We want to promote a culture of consent,” said Etzel. “Poetry is a means of speaking from a personal level.”

It’s the third year to hold a poetry reading event against sexual assault. It’s collaborated by the Department of English and the Office of Sexual Assault Education and Prevention. Counseling Services will attend as well.

“Last year we even published a book of poems by people from the Washburn and Topeka community through generous support from a Washburn Foundation fundraising campaign with donations from the community, followed by another printing from WSGA funding,” said Etzel.

In 2018, the departments created a book titled “Ichabods Speak Towards Consent,” edited by Etzel and Hockett, which is a collection of poems that speak out against sexual assault for publishing consideration. Based on Etzel’s research, it was the first time for a university to publish a literary magazine of poems specifically against sexual assault. The book is a physical representation of the campus and community collectively speaking out against sexual assault.

In the “Ichabods Speak Out” on Thursday, Etzel and Hockett will have last year’s book to hand out for free.

The “Ichabods Speak Out” is an opportunity to share poems that people love and listen to others favorite ones. There will be different kinds of poems read at the event.

“Even love poems are poems against sexual assault,” said Etzel.

The Ichabods Speak Out acknowledges Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence, which is observed in April.

Ana Lima, graduate student majoring in clinical psychology, presented in 2018 Consent and Bystander Intervention session, part of the psychology department’s Healthy Relationship series.

“The key point is that about 77 percent of witnesses of sexual assaults do nothing about it,” said Lima. “We really want people to do something, even if just calling the cops or someone else, so that we could avoid that these things happen in the first place.”

As more people realize sexual assault, it makes a difference to individuals as well as the campus and community.

“Another thing that’s important to Washburn is that there were no reports of sexual assaults on campus around the year of 2015,” said Lima. “Now the number has increased from zero to multiple reports of sexual assaults on campus, which means people are starting to feel comfortable to report and knowing their rights.”