Sexual assault takes center stage

Pamphlets from table talk. Photo courtesy: Chelsie Ross

Students and club members gathered in the SGA multipurpose room Wednesday to discuss sexual assault and awareness. Titled the “Teal Table Talk,” members from FAMU’s Victims Advocate Program led the group meeting from 5-7 p.m.

With different tables around the room, students could sit at one and discuss a topic. Each table held topics that included consent, victim-blaming, overall awareness, the impact of sexual assault on men and the importance of therapy and getting help.

After each table discussed its topic, Shauntavia Clinton, an employee of the VAP, encouraged students to share what they spoke about. One group did so through a story and others through a skit.

Following the different scenarios, one club member gave a presentation that provided details surrounding the subjects that were discussed.

Since sexual assault is a prominent issue on college campuses across the nation, the club found importance in having these talks and hosting the event. According to the VAP, young adults age 18 to 24 are considered the most at risk.

Highlighting the importance of consent, Clinton shared a few sentiments with the group.

“Yes means yes and anything else means no,” she said.

The group talk was valuable and impacted the students and club members.

Brianna Soufrant, a first-year psychology major, described how she enjoyed the event.

“It feels good to be around people that share my experience and having an open conversation is very refreshing. Usually sexual assault is a taboo subject so I’m glad it’s being discussed openly. I learned how the way we view it is very cultural,” she said.

Regarding how she continues to navigate her life at college she described how the table talk has influenced her decisions regarding a partner.

“I’m definitely going to be more selective with my sexual partners because as a survivor trust is very important,” she said. “It’s important to be more aware of the possibilities and how people are.”

Along with Soufrant, Raeneisha Lindor, a third-year nursing student and group member, shared her feelings about the discussion.

“The event was really eye-opening. It provides more information and expanding your knowledge is really important,” she said.

After the talk, Samiyah Lee, a second-year food science major and president of VAP, described the future of the program.

“We’re basically student advocates and our goal is to raise awareness to sexual assault and make it more comfortable,” she said. “Though it’s a bad thing it’s good to have these conversations.”

The group has been active on campus for the past year and has held a variety of events, especially during Domestic Violence Awareness Month last October.

“For the future we’re trying to do more events and get more people to show up. And really focus on outreach,” Lee said.

With the events they’ve had so far Lee described how members make the best of who shows up and enjoy how active the conversations can be.

As they continue to build back up as a club, Lee encourages those who are interested to reach out through their Instagram page @FAMUVAP. She also gave a message to survivors.

“My advice to survivors is that you are strong. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help because we’re here for you,” she said.