4th Annual Fear to Freedom: Creating a Safer Campus for Mason

4th Annual Fear to Freedom: Creating a Safer Campus for Mason

Fear 2 Freedom is dedicated to the life and legacy of Anne Pressly, a vivacious news anchor for KATV Channel 7 in Little Rock, Arkansas. On October 20, 2008 at 26 years old, Anne died following an attack that left her brutally beaten and raped. Her perpetrator is now serving a life sentence. In memorial, the Fear 2 Freedom program helps bring hope and healing to those sexually assaulted. Rosemary Trible is the President and founder of Fear 2 Freedom. Her compassion to help others move from victim to victory led her to write the book Fear to Freedom, and to the expansion of the program.

Fear 2 Freedom is a global non-profit dedicated to redeem and restore the lives of those affected by sexual assault. The reason why this is so important is that every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted in America. Therefore, for the past four years, Women and Gender Studies has worked collaboratively with other Mason University Life offices in featuring Fear 2 Freedom as one of our key signature events to raise awareness of sexual violence.

This event has become a catalyst for social change within the Mason community. In partnering with hospitals and community organizations, there is a sense of family and everyone present truly takes the time to care with an open heart and open mind. At this year's event, on September 19, there were several stations in which students and faculty could participate that included: words of affirmation letter to victims, a care package, pillowcases with inspirational and motivational words to the victims, hopeful rocks to design and give away, and a photo booth that created a sense of belonging for participants.

In addition, several speakers contributed their insight, including Christian Suero, who currently works with Housing and Residence life. Christian introduced Rose Pascarell, vice president of University Life, who gave an introduction to this issue we are mutually passionate about. Angie Hattery, the director of the Women and Gender Studies program, introduced the Title IX coordinator of George Mason, Jennifer Hammat, who was able to walk through some of the procedures the university follows in a Title IX incident. We also had a wonderful keynote speaker, Esther Chou, who gave a very moving narrative in regards to personal experience and the abundant  resources that are made available for students at George Mason.

The speakers were followed by Yudy Arguello from Mobile Advocate, Doorways, and a pledge activity that was completed by students, including Mason athletes. These speakers provided another way of seeing Mason and community advocates making a change for those who are transitioning from fear to freedom. This event promotes educational growth so that our campus can be more informed and spread that knowledge, in addition to becoming advocates for victims still trying to come out from the shadows.  

And the program makes an immediate difference. Just days after the Fear 2 Freedom event, a local community partner learned of a victim of intimate partner violence who had fled a domestic violence assault without even the clothes on her back. The agency provided them with five of our kits to have on hand for victims prior to them going to the hospital. “We have enough supply to share with them throughout the year as needed,” our community partner told us, “and it’s yet another way these amazing kits are making their way into the spaces where they’re needed most. Just wanted to say thank you again!”

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