New Sexual Assault Awareness Initiative at Berea College
Berea College and the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center are partnering on a new class offering this week. Representatives from the Center and the College’s women’s studies department are co-teaching the seminar class. At the end of the semester, Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center Director Mae Suramek says the 17 students will be trained advocates.
“Coming in and actually providing students with skill set, the tools necessary to be able to identify somebody who has been affected by this and to be able to connect them with resources such as counseling, legal advocacy, medical advocacy,” said Suramek.
Suramek says representatives from the Rape Crisis Center will lead the class every other week. She says the curriculum will include sessions on police investigative techniques and human trafficking problems.
“I don’t know how easy or comfortable or safe it is for people to talk about it on campus or to feel that they have options or feel supported or even believed. So, by having a class like this, it’s going to really sort of open those doors,” added Suramek.
Suramek says class instructors will be collaborating with public safety and residence hall staff at the college. Suramek(SUR-ah-meck) says there will be male representation among the 17 students enrolled.
“A lot of times males feel uncomfortable or feel like there’s not a place for them in the anti-violence movement which couldn’t be further from the truth. Males are amongst our greatest allies to help sort of reeducate people on how to look at things like masculinity and aggression and violence,” said Suramek.
The Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center serves a 17 county region in central Kentucky. Suramek hopes to see the seminar class expand to other private colleges in the area.