The 97% is a new student organization on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus that aims to support survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment. The organization was formed in April and held its first tabling event this semester.
The idea for the club came about when Taylor Stratman and Haven Jacob, the organization’s founders, were working together at the Student Success Center.
“We would rant together about the stories we had heard in the world, stories we heard from friends,” said Stratman, president of The 97%. “Then one day we thought, ‘What if we did something about it?’”
The idea for the name came from the statistic that 97% of women have faced sexual assault or sexual harassment before, according to a study conducted in the UK by U.N. Women.
“It’s a very unfortunate statistic, but we did pick it for a reason. That reason is that we want to create more of a conversation about this kind of thing and make it less taboo, so we picked a big statistic that would scare a lot of people,” said vice president Jacob.
The organization is in its first full semester of operation and currently has 20 members with many more in the process of joining. Stratman and Jacob plan to hold regular meetings for all members and to partner with other organizations on campus like Green Dot and the Alphabet Center. They hope to create outreach programs as club activities in collaboration with these organizations. Collaborative art pieces are also in the works with art therapy being another emphasis. The club has plans to create banners where students can sign their names and will hold a Denim Day event in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month every April.
The aim of the organization is to create a sense of community among survivors and allies and for survivors to have a safe space to share their stories if they choose to.
“Our goal in general is to be advocates and allies….whatever each person who comes to us needs is kind of what our goal is. If that person needs us to be there to have a conversation, to have a hug, to just sit and listen to them, we’ll be there for them,” said Jacob.
The 97% plans to begin outreach programs on consent and facilitate more training with Green Dot. They also want to offer students more information on how to file a Title IX complaint which is the first step in getting justice when sexual violence is committed on campuses.
While The 97% is a relatively new organization, they have big plans for programs and resources they want to offer students on campus.
“We want to be the sort of organization that’s for students, by students. We want to make people feel comfortable like they’re talking to a person and not a piece of paper or law,” said Stratman.
For more information on The 97%, look on Engage or follow @ ekuninetyseven on Instagram
For more information on Title IX, visit https://titleix.eku.edu/.