Embrace Your Voice event held at Ore Dock

Pamphlets+regarding+healthy+relationships%2C+Condoms+and+other+resources+were+made+available+at+the+Embrace+Your+Voice+event+by+the+Marquette+Women%E2%80%99s+Center+and+Planned+Parenthood.+%0APhoto+by%3A+Kat+Torreano

Pamphlets regarding healthy relationships, Condoms and other resources were made available at the Embrace Your Voice event by the Marquette Women’s Center and Planned Parenthood. Photo by: Kat Torreano

Sophie Hillmeyer

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and the theme for 2018 was Embrace Your Voice with the goal of keeping the conversation about sexual assault open. Here in Marquette, this was kicked off at the Ore Dock Brewing Company with the Embrace Your Voice event on Saturday, April 21 to create awareness and promote advocacy, as well as educate local bar staff.

Embrace Your Voice was organized by Lizzie Corser, taproom and event manager of the Ore Dock Brewing Company, and fellow manager Kris Wierenga. Corser said she wants to help educate the staff in case any issues arise.

“We are fortunate to have friendly and respectful customers, but we’re making sure the staff has knowledge and tactics to eliminate and address any issues to be proactive,” Corser said.

After noticing a trend involving date rape drugs in bars around the community about a year ago, Corser went to the Women’s Center and they decided to work together to raise awareness among bar staff on what to do when they suspect drinks are being tampered with, Beth Casady, the executive director of the Women’s Center said. She added how the Women’s Center hosts community events in the month of April to keep the discussion on sexual assault open.

“It does happen in our community,” Casady said. “It’s to remind people that we need to be part of the solution.”

Embrace Your Voice began with an informational presentation geared toward bartenders from around the area by Michelle Fortunato, the Sexual Assault Program Coordinator at the Marquette Women’s Center. She touched on the importance of noticing signs and acting on them.

“Be aware of yourself and what’s going on in your surroundings,” Fortunato said. “We can’t sweep this stuff under the rug.”

Informational tables from Planned Parenthood and the Women’s Center were displayed following the informational event, where attendees were invited to talk with the representatives from those organizations and take advantage of the resources they provided. There were musical performances by Haley Bussell and Kerry Yost.

“We created the event to start the conversation within the community and provide support,” Corser said.