Dana Fleitman of JWI and I had real talk session with college age interns. The group was amazingly attentive and engaged!
We looked at what sexual assault is, myths around sexual assault, and how we can actively change the conversations.
With the interns, I shared about how my assault started as a girls night out. How we were having a good time with new people and didn't recognize the signs of a sexual predator. How I was completely caught off guard when things escalated from consensual to illegal. The other three didn't know how to respond when I tried telling them the next day. Because what happened to me didn't fit the stereotype, it was confusing to figure out.
What stood out the most from this speaking engagement were the conversations afterwards. These young women identified with the excitement of going out with friends, encouraging friends to get involved with individuals they hardly knew also lacking any accountability. We had a conversation about ways we can watch out for each other and support each other if someone does experience an assault. I would much rather be a protective friend in the moment than one who ends up being called to testify in a court of law after an assault.
It's on us to get informed about sexual assault facts, to learn skills like bystander intervention to help prevent assault, and to speak up and change the conversation.