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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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June 16, 2024

Voices for Victims

Sexual+Assault+Resource+Center
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver
Sexual Assault Resource Center

Continuing their mission of standing up against sexual assault, the Sexual Assault Resource Center in Bryan hosted an event earlier this week to bring awareness to the resources the center provides for victims.
Voices Against Sexual Assault, hosted by the Sexual Assault Resource Center of the Brazos Valley at the Brazos Cotton Exchange in Downtown Bryan was a call to action event against the sexual violence in the community. Throughout the event, SARC advocates spoke to share testimonies of their work with victims of sexual violence.
At the event, the Baylor Scott and White forensics program was awarded for their service to victims of violence. Officer Christopher Luttrell of the Blinn police department was awarded professional of the year and SARC advocate, Sarah Chilton was named the compassionate citizen of the year.
Emily Jensen, international affairs graduate student, attended the event and said she feels encouraged by organizations like SARC being active in her community.
“I feel like having organizations…raise up awareness that this is a problem everywhere, even in a medium or small-town community,” Jensen said. “It happens everywhere and I think that it’s great that we have events that raise awareness because that’s the first step: recognizing that there is a problem, that it’s present, but that we can take steps to mitigate it.”
Jennifer Hunt is SARC’s education and outreach specialist for Brazos Valley. In her opinion, being silent about sexual assault is a mistake.
“I think it’s important to start the conversation because it’s happening,” Hunt said. “And if we’re not talking about it, we’re kind of denying that it occurred. Survivors are smart, right. So, they pick up on the cultural signals that we send them and by being silent about something so horrific, we’re basically communicating to survivors that we don’t care and we don’t want to do anything about it.”
Kathryn Hendrix, SARC’s client services coordinator, handles case management for clients and advocates for victims at local hospitals as emotional support. Her work, as well as SARC’s in-office and individual counseling, are offered free of charge to victims.
“We try to get as involved in the community as we can,” Hendrix said. “Since April is sexual assault awareness month, we try to do some more things in April just to get the message out that there is a place for help if people need it.”
Ashley Alley, Public service and administration graduate student, has been a volunteer for SARC for the last six months. She works on call for the center’s hotline or act as an advocate who provides emotional support for victims at the emergency room.
“[Volunteering for SARC] was eye-opening in the sense that I never really thought about the before and after of what goes on when somebody’s experienced something like that,” Alley said. “You tend to think about those traumatic experiences in that moment and how awful that must be, but we don’t think necessarily about what that person’s life was like before and how it’s going to change after.”
According to Alley, nurses and law enforcement officers are trained to inform victims of SARC. This ensures that survivors are provided for medically and legally, but also emotionally through SARC’s support and counseling.
“It helps the community itself when a victim or survivor shows up at the ER having gotten through something like this…the nurse onsite has SARC’s information and immediately contacts us,” Alley said. “And so, they kind of get the ball rolling and make sure that the survivor has the connections that they need”
According to Hunt, SARC serves the Brazos Valley, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson, and Washington counties. The SARC was initiated to assist victims of sexual assault and their families.
“I think I want survivors to hear that there are people who will believe them and support them,” Hunt said. “So, even if the first person or the second person or the third person they talk to isn’t supportive or doesn’t believe them, keep seeking help because you will get to someone who will help you and support you and SARC will be those people as well.”

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