Bringing awareness to topics including mental illness, suicide, self-harm and female empowerment is a tough concept to relay to others, especially in today’s world. To Write Love On Her Arms, otherwise known as TWLOHA, is a student organization that works to promote and bring awareness to these matters.
Natalie Engler, junior criminal justice major, is the co-president of TWLOHA. Engler has been a member of the organization for three years.
“There’s a lot of stigma wrapped around topics like mental illness and we want to break that stigma,” said Engler. “We want people to know if they struggle with a mental illness, it is perfectly normal and it makes them human. It doesn’t define you, it’s just a part of you.”
Engler said that similar to the stigma with mental illness, the word “feminism” is surrounded with negativity.
“Many people think that being a feminist means that you hate men or that women are just complaining about nothing when women have been fighting for the same rights as men since the 1920s when we received the right to vote,” said Engler. “Feminism has many faces and I think, as a feminist, we need to take back the word ‘feminist’ and try to make it more positive.”
The Women’s March, the worldwide anti-Donald Trump protest on Jan. 21, 2017, created a stir of emotions. This event sent many to attempt to protect legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion and workers’ rights. The rallies were aimed at Trump, largely due to statements and positions attributed to him regarded by many as anti-women or otherwise offensive. It was the largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history.
The Women’s March, as well as the 2017 election, sparked many fears for students across the campus. TWLOHA works to create a safe place for those wanting to speak about their worries.
Kimberly Woodworth, sophomore art major, is another co-president of TWLOHA. She has been a large activist for women’s rights and feminism.
“On paper most people believe women have equal rights because we can own property, vote and things like that, but at the same time there is a lot of stigma around women’s bodies and TWLOHA wants to voice these issues to the public,” said Woodworth. “I just want people to not be afraid because the people who are making you feel afraid want you to be afraid of them. The people of America govern America, and it starts with local and state government. Contact your representatives and ask them what they want to do to ease your fears and make smart decisions from there.”