UCI News

‘We Step Into the Light’ event celebrates resilience, healing after sexual abuse

The “healing arts” take on a whole new meaning Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 26 and 27, at UC Irvine when the Campus Assault Resources & Education office presents “We Step Into the Light.”

February 25, 2014

The “healing arts” take on a whole new meaning Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 26 and 27, at UC Irvine when the Campus Assault Resources & Education office presents “We Step Into the Light.” It pairs those who have experienced sexual violence with artists who produce multimedia works celebrating their strength and resilience. “We call them thrivers,” said junior Kelly Kimball, who helped organize the event, “because we want to illustrate that people can do more than just survive sexual abuse. They can thrive. And being empowered through art is one way to do that.” Desmonette Hazly, who started “We Step Into the Light” in 2009, will attend UC Irvine’s fourth annual event Thursday. Her goal is to raise awareness of sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking and gender-based violence. Discussion of these issues reinforces the concept that thrivers are not defined by the abuse. “Instead, what defines you is your hopes, your dreams and your aspirations,” she said. The artwork will be exhibited at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the ASUCI Art Lab in the Student Center and at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Center for Living Peace in University Center. This year’s event takes place as both federal and state governments are urging universities to better educate students about how to prevent, recognize and report abuse. In January, President Barack Obama announced a task force to coordinate efforts to prevent and police sexual assaults on college campuses. And earlier this month, state Sen. Kevin de Leόn, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal announced California Senate Bill 967, which would require California colleges and universities to adopt consistent, victim-centered sexual assault response policies and protocols that follow best practices and professional standards. During the press conference, de Leόn singled out UC Irvine as having an exemplary program.