When conversations around sexual assault took the national stage last fall, an anonymous Wilton High School graduate contacted GOOD Morning Wilton to share her personal experience with this issue. GMW published a special report, which included conversations with school officials and the police, and resources for survivors of sexual assault, to supplement her story. The young woman recounted her experience being raped by a classmate at a party and begged Wiltonians to “start having the conversation, start educating your kids” on the issue of sexual assault.

The series gained the attention of WHS’s Women’s Activism Club (WAC) members, who wanted to respond to the survivor’s call for action. The club has collaborated with The Rowan Center (formerly The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education), to bring a “Conversation on Sexual Assault” to the Wilton community this Thursday, May 23 at 6 p.m. in the WHS Little Theater. Experts from the Rowan Center will lead the conversation and are open to discussing all aspects of this topic.

“Sexual assault is an issue that we’ve turned a blind eye to as a community and it’s something we need to address regardless of how uncomfortable it makes us. It is an issue that affects everyone regardless of gender or sexual orientation and it’s important that both young women and men know how to protect themselves and each other,” explains Lily Motyka, a current WHS senior and co-president of WAC. She says she hopes that sensitive women’s topics like this one will no longer be swept under the rug in towns like Wilton.

WAC is a young student-run club at the high school that seeks to promote gender equality through activism and community service. With their weekly meetings capping off at only about 10 members, the group was able to collect over $500 worth of pads and tampons for Inspirica, a homeless shelter located in Stamford, last fall. This pad and tampon drive was the second year of an annual tradition that the senior members of the club hope will continue after they step down from leadership to graduate next month.

Motyka says that members of the club often have conversations around sexual assault at their student meetings but she hopes this event will welcome a variety of other voices and perspectives into this discussion. Students, parents, teachers, and all members of the Wilton community are invited and encouraged to participate in this free event in the spirit that sexual assault knowledge protects and benefits everyone.

Editor’s note:  The author of this article is a GMW WHS senior intern and co-president of WAC.