Coffee and Conversation: sexual assault survivors speak out

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Coffee and Conversation: Survivor Speak Out was held in Hughes-Trigg Student Center April 20, as part of SMU’s Sexual Assault Awareness month. The event was held in the Varsity from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Women’s Interest Network (WIN) and Mustang Heroes were both sponsors of the Speak Out. Jessica Jancose, who is involved in both organizations, was the event moderator. Jancose explained this specific event as a way to honor sexual assault survivors and discuss the factors of sexual consent in her opening of the event.

Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center (DARCC) started things off to briefly share about the services they provide to survivors.

Shelby, a representative from DARCC, works to help end sexual violence in North Texas. DARCC offers a 24-hour hot line and a 24-hour hospital advocacy program.

DARCC contact info
DARCC Contact Information Photo credit: Mackenzie Harper

Shelby believes that a victim must be open and honest with himself or herself after being sexually assaulted.

Cathey Soutter, director of counseling services and a professor at SMU for 26 years, encouraged students to use the free services provided to them on-campus.

“Our goal is to make sure no one has to go through this alone, or experience this alone,” Soutter said.

Soutter shared two services that are completely confidential and free for students on the SMU campus. Students are able to go to the SMU Counseling Services Office or the Chaplains Office at any time for help.

The SMU Counseling Services Office is currently located in Perkins Residence Hall, but is projected to move into the new Bob Smith Health Center in late August.

Jancose opened up discussion with the audience by beginning with the topic of consent. She showed the Tea Consent Video to put consent in prospective and easily relatable to students on campus.

Jancose, the moderator, continued and invited the audience members to share their stories of survival.

A senior student attending the conversation thought the stories to be powerful and very inspiring.

This student actually ended the discussion, by thanking the room for telling their stories as it helped hearing real experiences that were relatable to young adults and SMU students.

Jancose stuck around after the conversation and spoke to members of the audience.

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