After the Speak Out event on Tuesday night, Florida A&M students who attended were left to think about the traumatic effects that sexual trafficking and sexual assault can have on a person.
This event was held in order to raise awareness about sex trafficking and sexual assault, and the event did just that.
There were six panelists, including Leon County Sexual Violence Director of Facilities Danny Allbritton, FAMU Police Department officials, Title IX officials, and the Department of Psychology chair Brian Carey Sims.
Sims believes that this should not be the last time that conversations like this are held, Taking action, he said, is the only way we will move forward.
“I appreciated the panelists as well as the victims of assault that came out to share their stories and tips on how to handle sexual assault. Knowing that you are not just a victim, but a survivor, then telling others who have experienced it how they can move forward is such a brave thing to do and it is well appreciated,” Sims said.
A handful of FAMU organizations were part of the event. They included Collegiate 100, Big Sister Little Sister, Planned Parenthood Generation Action and the newly formed organization Sister Circle.
Sister Circle organization president and founder Jasmine Hudson hosted the event. She said that having these tough conversations is a step in the right direction for FAMU.
“We want to continue to have these conversations because change needs to come. This event also helps in bridging the gap with faculty and makes them aware of our concerns with these issues on campus as students,” Hudson said.
The student organizations performed skits displaying different situations where students can use safety precautions. These skits included examples regarding consent and vulnerability.
Collegiate 100 members did a skit about suspicious behavior after walking home from a party. Instead of the guy walking home alone when he believed he was being followed, he quickly called a friend to ensure he made it home safely. Small things like that can prevent tragedies from happening.
One thing that isn’t mentioned much when speaking on sexual assault is grooming. Grooming is the process by which an offender draws a person into a sexual relationship and maintains that relationship in secrecy, according to Oprah.com. This is something that occurs more often than many want to acknowledge.
A student at the event made sure students knew to always look out for younger family members and friends to make sure they are safe and aware of what to look out for. If something happens, Hudson said, let someone know.
That statement was the glue to this event, a constant reminder that keeping a life-changing event such as sexual assault to yourself, will not help. Telling someone is the first step to dealing with the problem.
If you or a friend experiences sexual assault, immediately call 1-800-656-4673.