August 6, 2020

UMW Observes National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

The University of Mary Washington observed National Sexual Assault Awareness Month this April with three public events: Fear 2 Freedom, The Clothesline Project and Take Back the Night.   UMW Clothesline Project Fear 2 Freedom kicked off the month of events on April 1. UMW’s Talley Center for Counseling Services worked with Fear 2 Freedom to provide after-care kits for those affected by rape, child abuse, domestic violence and sex-trafficking. Kits prepared by participants during the event were donated to local hospitals, Safe Harbor and the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault. Each kit included a T-shirt, sweatpants, underwear, Freedom bear and storybook, essential toiletries and a personal note. The Clothesline Project  displayed T-shirts on Ball Circle April 8-9. In this nationwide project, students and members of the greater Fredericksburg community who were affected by sexual violence decorated T-shirts that provided a visual testimony to their experiences. Take Back the Night, held on Wednesday, April 8 in front of Lee Hall, encourages survivors and other community members to speak out and take a stand against sexual violence. Take Back the Night takes place nationwide and has been an empowering event for survivors and their supporters for more than 35 years. These events were co-sponsored by Empowerhouse, the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault (RCASA), and by several UMW offices and organizations including Alpha Mu Sigma, Feminists United, the Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility, Psi Chi Honor Society, Student Anti-Violence Educators (S.A.V.E.), the Talley Center for Counseling Services and the Office of the Title IX Coordinator.

UMW Fear 2 Freedom Assists Sexual Assault Victims

In recognition of National Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Month, the University of Mary Washington will host Fear 2 Freedom on Wednesday, April 1.   Fear 2 Freedom Bear and Storybook UMW’s Talley Center for Counseling Services works with Fear 2 Freedom to provide after-care kits for those affected by rape, child abuse, domestic violence and sex-trafficking. Kits prepared by participants during the event will be donated to local hospitals, Safe Harbor and the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault. The event also will feature three speakers: UMW President Richard V. Hurley, Psychology Professor Chris Kilmartin and Fear 2 Freedom Founder Rosemary Trible. Fear 2 Freedom is a global nonprofit dedicated to redeeming and restoring the lives of those wounded by sexual assault. The organization partners with universities, hospitals and communities to raise awareness of sexual abuse and assemble after-care kits for victims. Trible, who also is the organization’s president, has dedicated her life to helping those wounded by abuse. In her book Fear to Freedom, she shares her own healing journey after being raped at gunpoint in 1975. The idea of creating an after-care kit rose out of a conversation with Jean Cheek, the coordinator of the Forensic Nurse Examiner Team at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, who explained the process for treating victims of abuse. “Women and children who come for treatment and the PERK exam have their clothes kept for evidence,” said Cheek. “Those abused desperately want to take a shower and often victims have to leave in paper scrubs or hospital gowns. This only adds to their shame and trauma.” The kits are a tangible way to help victims of abuse and support the hospitals. Each kit includes a t-shirt, sweatpants, underwear, Freedom bear and storybook, and essential toiletries. For more information about the event, contact Dei Bayer at the Talley Center for Counseling Services at dbayer@umw.edu or (540) 654-1053.