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Student assault victim shares experience

first_imgThe Justice Education Department at Saint Mary’s began its “Week Against Violence” on Tuesday night in the Student Center with the discussion “Beyond the Violence,” led by Saint Mary’s junior Jessica Richmond, who discussed her personal account of violence.“Authenticity requires vulnerability, courage and integrity,” Richmond said, adding that she lives by these words.Richmond shared her story of physical and sexual assault to offer perspective and advice to her peers as fellow victims and friends of victims.Allison D’Ambrosia “People see vulnerability as being weak,” she said “But I build my life around viewing vulnerability as a strength ⎯ being open to having conversations like these, airing my dirty laundry, as I like to say.”Although Richmond openly shared her personal encounter with violence, she said she was once much more reluctant to speak about the horrific experience.“There are very few people in my life that knew what happened and to the great detail of what happened,” she said.Richmond, who shared her story with her father this past weekend, said her parents’ reactions to the events were why she did not want to tell them in the first place. Richmond said that upon hearing of her attack, her mother misdirected her frustration toward her daughter. She said her mother’s strong reaction made her more cautious about delving into details.“I almost felt as if there was resentment towards me for not telling her sooner,” Richmond said. “My mom immediately jumped to ‘What did he do to you?’ and being a victim, I recommend you never do that to someone because that instantly put me on the defensive. I didn’t want to tell her.”Richmond said many people, including her mother, have asked her why she did not report her attack.“I’m not trying to play into being young because I think there are many younger women that are stronger than I was [who are also] assaulted, but I was so scared,” she said. “I was so alone. I had no idea [of] the resources out there. I had no idea what to do. I was scared of him.”This fear lies in the systemic sexism of the United States’ judicial system, Richmond said.“Men have a power and an authority in society, and there’s a lot that goes into that,” Richmond said. “But he scared me to death. Even after knowing he no longer worked with me, he didn’t live near me, he terrified me.”Richmond said her decision to keep the attack private was an act of self-preservation.“It was the thought of going to the police and saying I wanted to press charges when there was no evidence and when no one knew about what had happened,” Richmond said. “I didn’t want to air my dirty laundry for the whole world to have him get a slap on the wrist.“I didn’t want to have to tell my story a thousand times only to be told ‘Well, there’s nothing we can do.’”Richmond said she also feared it would become a “he said, she said” situation, or she would be condemned for not explicitly saying “no.”“Life went on,” she said. “I didn’t report it. That is the one thing I come back to most often. Maybe I should have. Maybe if I called him to justice, it could have gone in my favor. I find myself still sort of switching a little bit, but I don’t regret not reporting.”Richmond said her decision not to report might not be the best choice for all other victims of violence. Each person should make an individual choice.“Do I think [other victims] should?” Richmond said. “Yes, because there’s a great chance [they] can get something out of it, but I think for my health I couldn’t. This is not ‘Law and Order.’ Due process doesn’t happen in 45 minutes.”Richmond said she attributes much of her growth since the attack to her boyfriend of three-and-a-half years.“He’s my support system,” she said. “It’s kind of strange because he’s a man, he’s six-foot-seven and almost three hundred pounds. He is my version of empowerment.”Richmond said her boyfriend and his sensitivity played key roles in her ability to heal.“I found that when we first started dating I had all sorts of triggers,” she said. “ A certain smell would throw me into a hysterical crying fit, a certain way of being touched, a certain playful comment. Sometimes it wasn’t the words that were being said; it was just the tone it was said in.“I can’t have my neck touched. That is like my one thing that will put me in a fetal position crying.”As a victim of violence, Richmond said it is amazing to have someone there to say, “Okay, that’s completely fine. I respect you for that.”“Once I got to that point, I became offended when people used tamer words because it’s oppressive,” she said. “Don’t be afraid of using the terms. Don’t be afraid to say, ‘She was raped.’”Richmond said that in spite of having a solid and healthy relationship with her boyfriend now, if she could go back in time she would tell her high school self that she did not need a man.“We’re women at such an amazing school with such an empowering philosophy that we can do anything,” she said. “I don’t want someone to stand in front of me.“That’s what’s great about [my] relationship now. [My boyfriend] stands behind me pushing me forward.”Adrienne Lyles-Chockley, head of the Justice Education Department, ended the discussion by offering Richmond affirmations on behalf of the audience.“This is such a gift and a refreshingly honest dialogue, so I want to affirm this and affirm you,” Lyles-Chockley said.The Justice Education professor said she also supported Richmond’s decision to not go to the police.“I’d also just like to affirm your choice not to report,” Lyles-Chockley said. “I appreciate that part of giving the person that was raped or assaulted control [means] granting them control of what happens next. So we support women by listening and helping according to their individual needs. Friends often don’t understand, and it’s just not that simple.”As a continuation of the “Week against Violence,” Saint Mary’s will host a panel presentation on community responses to violence against women, titled “Justice and the Victims: Beyond Law and Order,” on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the Vander Vennet Theater. Tags: Justice Education Department, sexual assault, Week Against Violencelast_img read more

Injuries create chances for underclassmen to shine

first_imgTeams in any sport would agree the one thing they could do without is the plague of injuries. That plague may be one answer to explain the struggles of the Wisconsin women’s hockey team.Injury woes resurfaced for the Badgers in their frustrating series split with St. Cloud State this past weekend.Senior forward Kyla Sanders was sidelined for both games, while sophomore forward Brooke Ammerman was briefly sidelined during the series’ first game.Despite the issues the Badgers have been experiencing in that regard, the rest of the roster has answered the call as best they can when a teammate has been absent.Injuries have not been the only reason for the season-long roster shuffling. Sophomore forward Carolyn Prevost missed the series against North Dakota two weeks ago as she was playing for Canada’s National Women’s Under-22 Team in Germany.She was joined by junior Mallory Deluce who missed the North Dakota series as well as the following series against Minnesota-Duluth.Interim head coach Tracey DeKeyser has cited the constant roster rearranging as the cause for some of the struggles the team has experienced all season, such as taking full advantage of scoring opportunities, which the team had trouble doing Saturday.“I think part of it is because all year we haven’t had consistent lines because, if you noticed today, we had one person [Sanders] out to start, another person [Ammerman] left after the second period, all forwards,” she said. “We’re just riddled with injuries and it’s hard to develop chemistry with your lines when it’s ever-changing.”The most easily recognizable result from all of the roster movements is junior Geena Prough, who plays forward as well as defender for Wisconsin. She registered a goal in Saturday’s win and showed her versatility by playing in multiple spots.“She’s played center, she’s played wing, she’s played defense, she’s at the point on the power play, she’s on penalty kill,” DeKeyser said of Prough. “She’s been a great asset to our program.”DeKeyser also acknowledged that even though players like Prough have filled in spots comfortably, players missing from the ice have at times made the team stretch itself a little too thin.Nevertheless, several younger Badgers also have stepped up in light of the roster adjustments.The Badgers have struggled to put rebounds in the back of the net, but those concerns turned out to be a non-issue in Friday’s 5-3 win, in which Prevost put back three goals for a hat trick.“I’ve been on the other side where you do all the work and then the other player just puts it in the open net,” Prevost said. “Pretty much what happened was my right wingers were making amazing plays and then the goalie was coming out with a big save and then I just happened to be in the right spot.”Offensive involvement overall is widely influenced by underclassmen as well. Two of the three goals and all five assists were tallied by underclassmen in Saturday’s 4-3 loss.Although St. Cloud’s high-scoring forwards got the best of Wisconsin in Saturday’s game, DeKeyser noted that freshman defender Saige Pacholok, who also added two assists in Saturday’s game, has upped her play as well.“Saige did a great job of getting in the right position to break down the two-on-one or just getting in front of the passes and blocking those passing lanes, so I give her credit,” DeKeyser said. “She has some great bounces going her way and I think that’s a function of just working hard out there.”The Badgers have eight games remaining in the final season to smooth things out for a playoff run. Should the injuries persist, Prough believes compensation will be found among the eager and primed younger players.“We have a lot of young girls and they’ve been thrown in the fire early and they’ve embraced that with open arms,” Prough said. “They’re just ready to work hard and play hard — and it’s really helping us.”last_img read more