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Join City Of Bloomington & Middle Way House At Hands Across The Trail And Take A Stand Against Sexual Assault
Updated November 7, 2016 6:26 AM
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(BLOOMINGTON) - On Saturday, November 12, the City of Bloomington and Middle Way House will host Hands Across The Trail.

The event will start at 11:00am at the Showers Plaza, and at 12 noon, everyone present will spread out and join hands on the B-Line trail for two minutes to symbolize solidarity as a community.

Hands Across The Trail rally will feature keynote speaker Professor of Law Dawn Johnsen, Middle Way House staff, community members, poets and musicians; all participants invited to join hands for two minutes on the B-Line trail to symbolize community unity

One part rally and one part flash mob, Hands Across The Trail sprang from concern around safety on public trails, following attacks on the B-Line trail this summer.

"This is an issue we will never stop working on. I want every woman - every person - in Bloomington to feel safe on our trails, on our streets and in their homes. Safety is the most basic of rights, and each of us deserves to be as secure as possible in our surroundings. Public safety is my first concern as mayor," said Mayor Hamilton.

Local theater artist, producer, and activist Aubrey Seader says she wanted to take action and raise awareness so that she and others could continue to use the trail without fear of attack: "We're often told that as individuals we are solely responsible for keeping ourselves safe, and that if we're attacked we probably could have been more cautious. But I think we could be doing more as a community to end rape culture in Bloomington, so that as a woman, I don't have to be constantly on the defense. I think if we're going to ask women not to run alone, we have to have a long-term plan to end a culture that makes running alone unsafe."

Aubrey connected with Middle Way to create an event that would examine community responsibility, bystander intervention, and other issues around sexual assault awareness and prevention. Middle Way House then asked the City of Bloomington to partner with the event, as Mayor John Hamilton has been consistent in his emphasis on public safety. With the City on board, the event has grown to include a rally that will feature speakers, musicians, and poets, followed by a human-chain created on the B-Line to show that Bloomington as a community will not accept violence in public spaces.

Speakers scheduled for the event include Middle Way House prevention staff member Gabrielle Schiller and triage specialist Donna Storm. The keynote speaker for the event is Walter W. Foskett Professor of Law at Indiana University Maurer School of Law Dawn Johnsen, who has been a longtime advocate for women's rights at the federal level. The rally will also feature original poetry from teen poets in Bloomington South's "Outspoken" poetry club.

Middle Way House staff will also provide tables where citizens can learn more about bystander intervention, consent culture, healthy communication in relationships, and Middle Way's Sexual Assault Advocacy program. Staff will also have a safe place for people to speak privately about concerns or questions.

After the rally, everyone will be invited to join together on the B-Line trail to make a human chain, holding hands for two minutes to symbolize our commitment to each other, and to keeping our public spaces safe.

This is a FREE event. For more information, please visit

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