In this together: We are in this together


in this together

Mark Rowe-Barth

Editor’s note: This piece is a part of ‘In This Together,’ which seeks to raise awareness about the complex issues of sexual violence. We asked the Iowa State community to share perspectives in various mediums as survivors, bystanders and allies. The initiative is a partnership between the Iowa State Daily, Green Dot and the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center. 

We are in this together. Like so many others, I identify with violence in many ways, personally and professionally. I am a survivor, educator, advocate and ally. I grew up in a home where there was physical, verbal and emotional violence. I also know far too many others who have been directly or indirectly impacted by intimate partner violence, sexual assault, stalking or harassment. If I only knew one person, that is too many. I have been engaged with violence prevention work for 18 years; on campuses and in communities. I have seen so many positive steps forward during this time, but we have so far to go in terms of truly becoming a culture that is intolerant of power-based violence. Why do I continue to be engaged in this work? At the deepest personal level, I do this work for my mom. I also strive to turn my history of personal pain into efforts that can make a difference for others. Yes, I am a survivor who continues to journey forward as an ally, advocate and educator. I am proud to be trained and engaged with the Green Dot initiative at Iowa State. I have hope for a future free from violence. Not just at Iowa State, but everywhere. The question is not “can we change the culture?” We can and are changing the culture already. The question everyone should ask of themselves is “how can I be engaged in changing the culture too?” We are in this together. We will make a difference together.