ProfTalk discusses sexual assault

Dr. Nadine Sullivan reads from her book "I Trusted You" at the April 7 ProfTalk. -Assistant Photo Editor/Amanda Palma

Rowan University’s Leadership Rowan hosted its latest ProfTalk on sexual assault to raise awareness on campus, as a part of sexual violence prevention month on campus.

The Owl’s Nest, located in the university’s Chamberlain Student Center, hosted the session on Thursday, April 7. The talk served as a platform for students and guest speakers to discuss social issues involving sexual assault. The event was held in hopes of better educating members of the community on what they can do to prevent sexual assault crimes. Additionally, the hope was also to portray what it is like to be a survivor of it.

Several students and faculty spoke about their connection to sexual assault, detailing how it is a problem across college campuses nationwide. One current staff member told of how she took to expressing her feelings poetically after she was assaulted, rather than letting it hold her back. It was just one of many personal stories told that night. Another came from adjunct professor Dr. Nadine Sullivan, who has a doctorate in sociology. She was encouraged to write her book “I Trusted You” after she listened to fellow students in a college class tell their tales of abuse.

“I was really touched and moved by a number of the speakers and I really appreciated the video they showed on intervention,” Sullivan said. “Talks like this are important because they’re part of a bigger movement to stop sexual assault on college campuses. They’re also really good spaces for students to learn how to define what is and what is not okay, and also for those who have been victims to have a sense of comfort.”

Aside from the personal testimonies given by survivors throughout the Rowan community, the talk also touched on prevention. Green Dot is an organization on campus in which students can gather in a safe environment to talk about traumatic experiences such as sexual violence. The group provided information on who to contact if you have been assaulted and what a student can do to interfere in a possible sexual assault situation.

Shane Karolyi, a 22-year-old graduate student earning his master’s in counseling in educational settings, spoke on behalf of his organization Green Dot. His presentation stressed that one person can make a difference when it comes to preventing a sexual assault.

“The biggest takeaway from the conversation today is that it has to be something more than just a day— it has to be more than something that you put on a flier,” Karolyi said. “Everyone comes out, people enjoy and then they walk out the door and they sort of forget about it.”

Alyssa McLaney, a sophomore secondary education major and English minor was one of the many students in attendance interested in doing her part.

“The biggest takeaway is to just talk about it, whether it be lending yourself as a person that can be talked to about it if someone is going through something like this, or just spreading awareness to people you care about,” McLaney said. “Being able to talk about a conversation that may have been taboo before is just going to make it that much easier to prevent these things from happening.”

If you or someone you know has been a victim, contact Rowan University Public Safety at 856-256-4922 or the Rowan University Police Anonymous Crime Tipline at 856-256-7428. For additional information on Green Dot and how to get involved in the conversation visit the Wellness Center at Winans Hall.

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