In the past six years, I have had the opportunity to speak out about sexual assault and domestic violence at several types of locations. In my experience, college campuses have usually had the lowest turn out. Even though this is an important issue for young adult students (1 in 5 college women and 1 in 33 college men are sexually assaulted in national statistics), I chalked this up to be that college students had better things to do with their time.
However, this was never the case at Towson University...
I have participated in several events at Towson: Take Back the Night, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, etc. Each and every event has not only had great turn outs, but also a lot of men, who are not only vital in this issue, but they are also victimized.
I was impressed and inspired by the 129 students who came out to hear panelists speak about sexual violence. It was purely amazing and on a Monday evening! To see guys bringing in more and more chairs... simply amazing. I was overwhelmed--not just with seeing such a large college audience, but that the college students deemed this event as important.
Afterwards, I received many hugs, heard "my story" retold a few times from different students... This is why I do what I do. You never know how many audience members need to see your strength...
On a panel of two, Cathryn and I did a great job answering some tough questions. I was so proud of Cathryn--this was her first time speaking out publicly and she was very nervous. She has taken such a powerful step towards healing and I am looking forward to seeing more great things come from her. She is so strong, but also sweet and inspiring. :)
A special thanks to Marie Lilly, the Towson University Women's Resources Center for Student Diversity Associate Director (and lifelong friend from TurnAround, Inc.), Kathy Ferguson (pictured on the left), Coordinator of several sexual assault program's on Towson's campus and Sarah LaCorte, who interviewed Cathryn and I for the Towson Towerlight Newspaper.
View my follow up blog entry here.