CHICAGO (CBS) — An unusual sight at Daley Plaza in Chicago during the lunch hour Friday as 170 men and women stood in silence in front of the 50-foot Picasso. WBBM’s Lisa Fielding reports.
“This is Rape Victim Advocates’ signature event. We are standing silently for one hour together to show the stigma and silence that typically surrounds the issue of sexual assault,” said Megan Blomquist, Director of Education & Training, Rape Victims Advocates.READ MORE: 'An Important Time For Us': Chicagoans Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
Many were wearing t-shirts with powerful statements about sexual assault.
“If you take a look around, a lot of the t-shirts are hand made by sexual assault survivors, loved ones and supports with messages on them,” Blomquist said.
After an hour, they break the silence.READ MORE: Downtown Chicago Roadblocks Quell Mexican Independence Day Street Celebrations
“Get consent! Get consent,” the group chanted. “What do we want? End rape culture. When do we want it? Now!”
Blomquist said the annual event is a symbol of education, awareness and progress.
“I think there’s been progress, but that’s always difficult to say however, what we have seen is that more people are talking about it, more people are volunteering for groups like ours. We are making progress but there’s a long way to go,” she said. “Having events like this, having demonstrations, having conversations about sexual violence certainly help eliminate some of that stigma and allow more people to come forward without that sigma and feeling ashamed.”
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.MORE NEWS: 'We're Back': Store Owner Reopens Chicago Sports On Michigan Avenue After 2020 Unrest
Rape Victim Advocates (RVA) is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the healing and empowerment of sexual assault survivors through non-judgmental crisis intervention counseling, individual and group counseling, and medical and legal advocacy in the greater Chicago metropolitan area. RVA provides public education and institutional advocacy in order to improve the treatment of sexual assault survivors and to effect positive change in policies and public attitudes toward sexual assault.