Christopher Newport University’s “Where is the Line?” club and “Fear 2 Freedom” hosted Celebration Night on Nov. 13 to promote awareness for sexual abuse.Students in attendance helped assemble kits for children and adults at the hospital who have just been a victim to assault.
“It shows how much of a family we are here at CNU,” said Mary Dittmar, a junior. “I think the statistics is one in eight people are affected in some way by this. That means that all of these people are coming alongside each other, and supporting each other, and caring for people outside of themselves. It shows how much we care about others.”
As they entered the gym, students were given a piece of paper that told them what kind of kit they would be putting together. There were several stations set up for “F2F Kits,” “Bear Gear,” pillowcases, and cards to be addressed with words of encouragement.
The “F2F Kits” are given to victims ages 13 and over. These include a t-shirt and sweatpants to wear when they leave the hospital, toiletries to shower with, a journal, pen and Freedom Bear.
Designated for children, ages 12 and under, are the “Bear Gear.” These are also assembled with the clothing items, toiletries, and Freedom Bear of the “F2F Kit,” but also include items like books and toys for children to be occupied with while they go through their exam, which can take up to several hours.
The pillowcase station was created for students to decorate pillowcases for children who aren’t able to return to their homes because that’s where they were abused.
“Fear 2 Freedom” is a global nonprofit organization that was created by Rosemary Trible to help those who are victims of assault find the healing process. The “2” represents the fact that every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes in the United States. It is also the umbrella organization for CNU’s “Where is the Line?” club.
These clubs are also spreading to other colleges across Virginia.
Rosemary Trible told the crowd, “We’re grateful that we have friends from Radford, Mary Washington, VCU, International Justice Mission. There’s so many of these groups that we’re now expanding to eight universities, and eight colleges, across the state, and ultimately want to blanket the state with this program.”
There were also speakers in attendance, including former CNU student, Molly Waters, who shared her personal experience with assault.
During her speech, Waters encouraged students who may be suffering from abuse, “Keep pressing on. There is good in you. You were created for a purpose. Your work is not finished yet. You’re here for a reason. Take back control. Take control of your life, and be free.”
Dawn Scaff, a Pediatric forensic nurse from C.H.K.D. (Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter) in Norfolk, Virginia, was there to explain why the kits are of such importance and to share stories where they have made a difference.
Also in attendance was John Quinley from the Step Ahead, who is also in charge of a partnership with Thailand, where they plan to assemble and send kits to 17 organizations that work with sex trafficking.
Representative David Yancey was in the crowd as well.
Many students, like junior Brittany Freelin, had participated in the event before and returned to help out.
“I came last year and I really enjoyed it, so I wanted to come back and do it again,” commented Freelin.
Throughout the evening, those in attendance enjoyed food by Chick-fil-a, took pictures in a photo booth, and listened to music provided by a DJ.
The week before Celebration Night, “Where is the Line?” hosted the Shadow Event, where several CNU students anonymously shared their personal experiences with abuse.
Freelin stated, “CNU is a community and a family, and this proves that that is the case, that we’re special. We’re not just a random university. We care and we can come together to make a difference for the entire community.”