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More than 300 ODU Students Volunteer for Fear 2 Freedom Public Service Event to Support Victims of Sexual Assault

More than 300 Old Dominion University students turned out Oct. 28 to join with the non-profit organization Fear 2 Freedom to assemble 225 sexual abuse recovery kits to be distributed at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

On the Old Dominion side, the partnership with Fear 2 Freedom was led by First Lady Kate Broderick and La Wanza Lett-Brewington, director of the university's Women's Center. The "Celebration Night" event, which was organized in conjunction with ODU's Public Service Week, was held to assemble F2F Kits which are designed to meet the immediate physical, emotional and psychological needs of those affected by sexual assault.

During opening remarks, Old Dominion University President John R. Broderick noted a broad range of ongoing university initiatives aimed at curbing sexual abuse. He asked the volunteers to join him in making a 365-day per year commitment to being diligent, responsible friends as part of a society that has "zero tolerance for sexual assault, dating violence or stalking."

Ellen Neufeldt, vice president for student engagement and enrollment services, commended students who are taking a stand on the issue.

"What you do each day, looking out for each other, is what makes a safe campus and frees us from sexual assault and dating violence," she said.

During the event, students assembled the kits, each of which included a personal note from the volunteer who put the package together. Two minutes of silence was also observed during the event to represent the statistic that a sexual assault occurs every two minutes in the United States. Finally, the completed kits were provided to representatives from the YWCA and Help Emergency Response Inc. (H.E.R.) shelters for future hospital distribution.

The packages, which are described by the organization as "a medical kit for the heart," are meant for distribution to sexual assault victims who have to undergo a PERK examination, during which time their clothing is taken for forensic evidence. Each of the child and adult-specific kits include: a t-shirt and sweatpants, underwear, toiletries and the personal note of support as well as other items such as a "Freedom Bear," storybook, journal or toy and a list of community resources.

Prior to the event, Kate Broderick said the partnership with Fear 2 Freedom marks an important opportunity to come together as a community and support victims at a critical time.

"I can think of no better way to show how much we care, in the face of a crisis no one should ever have to experience, than by providing some degree of comfort and normalcy as they embark on a difficult road to recovery," she said.

Fear 2 Freedom is a Virginia-based nonprofit organization that works to educate college students on sexual abuse and restore joy to sexual assault victims. The group was founded in 2011 by Rosemary Trible, the first lady of Christopher Newport University, who was raped at gunpoint in 1975.

In the last 3 years, Fear 2 Freedom has delivered 6,000 F2F Kits to women and children affected by sexual abuse and currently have 12 university-hospital partnerships across Virginia. This year, Fear 2 Freedom is introducing its national campaign to make F2F Kits available to hospitals across the country.

"A critical answer to ending sexual assault on college campuses is to educate students on the effects, repercussions and the lifetime impact that sexual assault has on the victim," said Trible, the wife of former U.S. Senator and current President of Christopher Newport University Paul Trible Jr.

For more information about the organization, visit the Fear 2 Freedom website. To RSVP for the Oct. 28 event, go here or call the. Information about sexual assault prevention and available resources can be found at the ODU S.A.F.E. Program website or by calling the ODU Women's Center at 757-683-4109.

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