Students gathered Wednesday night for live music and coffee while raising awareness for an issue that plagues both men and women daily: self-injury.
The Murray State Women’s Center held a benefit concert for self-injury awareness at the Baptist Campus Ministry.
There were performances by Murray State students and local bands including Ellie Rodenberg, Planet Here, Leonard the Band and Chase Harris.
Brittany Stinnett, research coordinator for the Murray State Women’s Center, came up with the idea for the program this year. Stinnett said she had been planning the event for about a month.
“It is very important because young women and men struggle with this issue,” Stinnett said. “We wanted tonight to bring hope and encouragement that there are people out there who care about them and want to help them and so this is just to bring people out to educate them and also to bring awareness.”
The concert and concept are based on the ‘To Write Love on her Arms’ movement which promotes love, Stinnett said.
People in the movement write the word ‘love’ on their wrists once a year to show proof that people don’t have to cause pain to themselves and that there are people who love them and will wrap their arms around them, she said.
Ellie Rodenberg, senior from St. Louis, sang and played guitar during the event. She performed “The Best Day” by Taylor Swift, “I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin and “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show.
“I came because I really like to sing and my friend Brittany asked me to play and I thought it was a really great cause,” she said. “It’s really nice to hear other people play and hear the talent because there’s a lot of it here.”
Throughout the week, the Women’s Center put up ‘Reach for Hope’ banners within all of the residential colleges on campus. Students signed the banners with encouraging statements that began with ‘Today I will.’
They also handed out 744 orange ‘Reach for Hope’ bracelets throughout campus earlier in the day.
The Center wanted to create a safe and cozy environment. It was important to have students lead the program instead of faculty or staff members so students attending the concert could have someone to relate to, Stinnett said.
Self-injury is usually caused by loneliness, fear, past abuse, inability to understand or express feelings or depression.
It can include cutting, burning, picking or interfering with wound healing, infecting oneself, punching or hitting self or object, or inserting objects into skin, bruising or breaking bones and some forms of hair pulling.
“We live in a world that’s very based on appearance and pressure and being successful and it’s real easy to get caught up,” Rodenberg said. “You pass by so many people every day and you don’t know the battle they are fighting so I think that it’s important to come out and be aware that things do go on and we need to support each other.”
Story by Dominique Duarte, Staff writer.