Assault Victim Shares Story
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2012 02:10
R.U. Ready celebrated a decade of education of sexual assault awareness during an event featuring Southern Illinois University communications professor and rape survivor Dr. Rachel Griffin Wednesday.
A student and community program, R.U. Ready provides a support system for victims of sexual assault.
During her presentation in Copley Formal Lounge, Griffin explained that although she works with students on a daily basis in the classroom, she wants to reach out to students on a more personal level
“Being ‘Dr. Rachel Griffin’ sounds so fancy, but what I need you to understand is that long before I was ‘Dr. Rachel Griffin,’ I was a survivor of rape and a survivor of childhood domestic violence,” she said.
Griffin began her story by explaining her past. She was a victim of sexual assault during her sophomore year of high school and kept her experience secret for seven years.
“I became really good at hiding my secret and hiding my pain,” Griffin said. “I was on the edge of self-destruction.”
Griffin said that she finally broke down while sitting through a class discussion about sexual assault while in college, leaving the room to share her story with a peer volunteer.
“I didn’t say anything for a long time, but when I finally whispered my story to her, her first words were, ‘I believe you. What he did was wrong. It wasn’t your fault.’” Griffin said. “I hated myself for so long, and I had to learn that what happened wasn’t my fault.”
Griffin stressed the importance of volunteers, like those involved in R.U. Ready, who ensure that victims of sexual violence have the ability to speak out.
“There must be a core group of compassionate people committed to doing the work of raising social consciousness about sexual violence,” Griffin said.
Griffin and the volunteers of R.U. Ready want to ensure that Georgetown students know that they have somewhere to go and someone to talk to about sexual violence whenever necessary.
“These volunateers can provide consistent, compassionate and confidential support that can help victims understand how to save themselves,” Griffin said.
R.U. Ready volunteers facilitated private round-table discussions about sexual violence after Griffin’s presentation.
“All the tables reported really productive discussions,” peer discussion facilitator Lena Hermans (COL ’14) said. “Lots of faculty members and young men and women were in attendance, and it was a great success.”