Obies and Prospies!
I hope your summer break (or summer term) is treating you well. For incoming Oberlin students, prospective students, and current Obies, I’ve decided to start a series that I’m hoping will help y’all see a variety of student organizations (or just student orgs) on campus, especially those run by or aimed towards students of color. This blog post will be the first in this Q&A style series, and today I’ll be showcasing SOSHA! SOSHA stands for Survivors of Sexual Harm & Allies; this student org does the work to create a space for students on campus who identify with their mission of activism and education to support survivors of sexual harm and allow a space for allies to actively listen to survivors and engage in conversations about their role as an ally. Now we’ll take a look at the Q&A between myself and Jenna, the co-chair of SOSHA.
Charlize: What is your organization and what do you all do?
Jenna: SOSHA is a student-led group intended to promote healing, empowerment, and activism for survivors of sexual harm along with their allies. It is a group comprised of Oberlin students, as well as young adults across the community and beyond.
C: What are some events you look forward to?
J: SOSHA holds two types of meetings, and members may come to as many or as few meetings as they would like, with new members always welcomed at every meeting.
The first type of meeting is called a listening session, or what many may think of as a traditional support group. It is a time for sharing thoughts and stories, as well as building community among members. These meetings are co-facilitated by Riley Hall, Oberlin's confidential advocate from the Nord Center. Prior to new members partaking in listening sessions, they must sign a waiver to ensure confidentiality prevails.
The second type of meeting are social events. Talking about experiences of sexual harm can be emotionally wearing, and as a key pillar of our mission, healing can happen in a variety of ways. These social events may include a weekday group lunch over zoom, a socially distant walk, Netflix party movie nights, virtual game nights, going for ice cream, and other activities -- please suggest any activities you would like to see! Many activities are zoom accessible. Both listening sessions and social events are held on Sundays.
We are looking forward to our Take Back the Night event this summer on June 25th in Tappan Square. We will be partnering with the Take Back the Night Foundation and include speakers, a march, and solidarity with survivors.
C: What is your favorite memory with SOSHA?
J: This past April, SOSHA held a number of events during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In addition to our normal listening sessions, we held a writing workshop about how to tell your story and trauma-informed writing, affinity hours, a space for survivors to share their story, and my personal favorite event: a virtual poster-making event!
We made a collage of virtual posters, music, art, quotes, images, and other media about what we would be holding at a Take Back the Night march and what Sexual Assault Awareness Month meant to us. We listened to fun music and got to hang out and get caught up together! It was so much fun. You can find the link to it here: https://padlet.com/ehart48/hsk9fqvvx1iuc5bw
C: What are some long term goals for SOSHA?
J: We are so excited to continue growing in numbers as we continue outreach work! Some of our goals are to include more guest speakers in large-scale events, partner with more community organizations outside of Oberlin to further build community, and increase our avenues of activism and visibility for sexual assault survivors.
C: How can students get involved?
J: There are so many ways to get involved! The easiest way to find out about SOSHA events and news is to join our email list. To join, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you and can answer any questions you have!
You can also access all of our resources and information on our website: https://oberlinsosha.weebly.com. We are also on Instagram! You can follow us at @oberlin_sosha. If you want to reach out to any of the leaders, you can do so at the following emails:
Emma (Co-chair): email@example.com
Jenna (Co-chair): firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren (Director of Community Outreach & Advocacy): email@example.com
Riley (Confidential Student Advocate): firstname.lastname@example.org
C: Plug your meetings or next event! Feel free to include a graphic/poster if you’d like.
J: Starting back up on Monday, May 24th, we will have our weekly lunch office hour from 12:30-1:30pm. Then we will continue our regular schedule of SOSHA Sundays, likely from 1-3pm EST per usual. These will be in-person and remote-accessible! We will alternate each Sunday between listening sessions and socials.
SOSHA is one of the several resources students have access to if they’ve experienced sexual harm and is an important group on campus. I’m extremely grateful for the work they do and wish them a successful semester. This is just one of many student organizations that I’ll be showcasing in this series, so stay tuned this summer and take a look at the different groups Oberlin has to offer!
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