Lauren Spierer's friends organized a new fundraiser at New York University on Sunday, in order to continue the effort to find the 20-year-old Indiana University student. She has been missing since June 3rd. The fundraiser was a self-defense class primarily for women, so that the students could both raise money to help continue the search for their missing friend, and combat the fears many of them have developed since her disappearance six months ago. The young women wore blue in a collective tribute to Spierer, a native of Westchester County, New York. Instructor Gabrielle Rubin told her students three things to remember if they find themselves in danger: get angry, scream and strike. She added, "Take over the situation; try to get mad and not scared. Use anything we have that's free to get the attacker off of us."
Lauren Cohen explained to local media, "We were anxious to be back at school after everything that happened with Lauren, so we decided to take a self-defense class so we'd know how to arm ourselves against whatever situation is happening." Lauren Spierer disappeared in the early hours of the morning after a night out with friends, and it's understandable that other female college students around her age would be traumatized by her disappearance and plagued with worry that the same could happen to them. The fundraiser was a fantastic idea, as it presented a way to collect funds to work toward either finding Spierer alive, or at least some semblance of closure for her family and friends--and it empowered young women at the same time, during a period in which America has seen many stories involving violence against women. Dana Krause, another friend of Lauren Spierer, summed up the event: "We're really happy with the turnout because if one person is safer, then we achieved our goal."
Frustratingly, local police in Bloomington, Indiana say they've received over 2,400 tips regarding Lauren Spierer's disappearance, yet there is still no sign of her. It's devastating to think that her family may not have her home for the holidays. Her parents, Robert and Charlene Spierer, are working tirelessly to try to find their daughter. To find out more about community outreach and ways you can help, visit the family's official website, www.findlauren.com. Anonymous tips can also be reported to the Bloomington Police Department at 812-339-4477.