By Allison Milton/The AS Review
At 7 p.m. on Oct. 28 in Bond Hall 227, four women will share their path to healing as survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.
This event, “Journey of Healing,” is presented by the AS Resource and Outreach Programs (ROP) Sexual Awareness Center (SAC), the AS ROP Women’s Center, Women’s Empowerment and Violence Education (WEAVE) and Crime and Sexual Assault Support Services (CASAS).
Of the four women, three of them are primary survivors and one is a secondary survivor. A primary survivor is someone who has directly experienced sexual assault or domestic violence and a secondary survivor is someone who has been affected by it, such as a friend or family member of a primary survivor, said CASAS Coordinator Devlin O’Donnell.
SAC Coordinator Jennifer Veliz said each person on the panel will either share their experience and their method of healing or just their path of healing in hopes to create awareness, generate support and build a community of allies.
Veliz said one in three women and one in seven men are survivors of sexual assault, so statistically everyone is bound to have a friend or know someone in that position and it is important to learn how to help those who are survivors of sexual assault. This event will also be an opportunity for people to show their support or learn how to show support for those affected by sexual assault and domestic violence, she said.
“Providing space for a survivor to share their story is an important part of healing,” Veliz said. “Our society silences survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence so it is our duty as a community to support them and let them share their stories.”
SAC Assistant Coordinator Royce Andrews said it is important for people who are less aware of sexual assault and domestic violence to understand that it is more common than people think and people their own age go through it.
“I think that it is important to respect the fact that there are people willing to speak about ... the hardship they have been through. It is important for us to hear survivors speak and learn how to help,” O’Donnell said.
There will be a question and answer session after the women share their stories and paths to healing. These questions will be on a voluntary answer basis and should be appropriate and respectful of the presenters, O’Donnell said.
This event, as well as the SAC, provides a safe space for discussion of these issues. While this event is meant to respect the privacy of the panelists, it is also meant to be a celebration of their journey and to empower them in their healing process, Veliz said.