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Students' New Tank Tops Much
More Than A Fashion Statement

Date: Nov. 13, 2002
By: Marianne Kunnen-Jones
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Group Photo By: Dottie Stover
Archive: Campus News

University of Cincinnati students Regina Schneider and Jaleen Francois are hoping a tiny tank top will go a long way toward helping survivors of sexual assault. They're selling the high-necked, sleeveless shirts, labeled "Every 45 Seconds," to raise money for Women Helping Women, a Cincinnati United Way organization that provides crisis intervention, support and education to sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking survivors. Their goal is to raise at least $7,000, $10 at a time.

Regina Schneider and friends

With more than 100 of the red, white and blue tank tops sold already, the project will get down to serious business when the two set up shop during Sexual Assault Awareness Week at UC. The tank tops will be for sale from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, at the Take Back the Night Vigil at UC's Event Pavilion. Both white tank tops with red bands around the collar and arms and white T-shirts with blue bands will be offered. The Women's Center-sponsored vigil will also feature a presentation by Sarah Jones, playwright, poet and activist who has filed suit against the FCC to gain airplay for her anti-misogynist poem/song, "Your Revolution."

Francois, a graphic design major in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, and Schneider, an Honors-PLUS Business Scholar in the College of Business Administration, pooled talents to launch the non-profit enterprise. Francois designed the tank top for women and T-shirt for men, while Schneider, a marketing major, put her business skills to use in financing the venture and developing the plans for it. Honors-PLUS senior Bethany Butcher is also assisting in the project.

Their attempt to make an impact was prompted by national statistics on sexual assault. In summer 2001, Francois and Schneider attended the Department of Health and Human Services' Young Women's Health Summit in San Antonio, Texas, where they heard data indicating a sexual assault takes place every 45 seconds.

Following up on a promise to do community service when they returned to campus, the two learned that Women Helping Women can't afford to train volunteers more than twice a year. The two decided to try to raise money to add a third session.

Jaleen Francois

As a Carl H. Lindner Jr. Honors-PLUS Business senior, Schneider's co-op job experiences over the last four years have helped her to transform what was once just a concept to a full-fledged reality. The 23-year-old used her own credit cards to order the first 50 shirts, ordering 70 more when they sold out. In addition to raising needed funds for WHW, she and Francois hope to heighten awareness about sexual assault.

Schneider is a graduate of Seton High School from Western Hills. "They say that a man rapes 17 times before he is brought to justice. I would really like to change that," she said. Francois, 21, recently returned from a co-op job at Louis Dreyfus/Wood Design in New York and is an Ursuline Academy grad from West Chester. She said, "I am really excited about the tank top. It has a real message and real impact, and it's wearable."

Ann MacDonald, executive director at Women Helping Women, welcomes the assistance that the students are offering. "The fact that they see the importance of training more people to help the victims when they are going to the hospital to get medical attention and to have the forensic evidence gathered after a sexual assault is commendable. I commend them for their foresight and willingness to get involved in such a real life issue."

Orders for tank tops and T-shirts can be made by leaving a message for Jaleen Francois at the Women's Center at (513) 556-4401. The students also hope to have a Web-ordering system operational soon at Orders can be picked up at the Women's Center at UC in the Student Life Pavilion on the south side of Brodie Plaza. Donations are also welcome. Paid parking for Take Back the Night is available at Langsam Garage or CBA Garage, both off Martin Luther King.

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