EOT 331- Pack Survivor Support Alliance

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Alecsai Allen interviews Carlyn Wright-Eakes, who is the Interpersonal Violence Prevention Education Coordinator of the Women's Center at NC State, about the upcoming launch of the Pack Survivor Support Alliance (PSSA) and how to stay educated on interpersonal violence.

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Alecsai Allen 0:20
I'm Alexei Allen with WKNC at 88.1 Eye on the Triangle. Joining us today is Carlyn Wright-Eakes, interpersonal violence prevention education coordinator for the Women's Center at NC State to discuss the upcoming launch of the pack survivor support Alliance and how to be proactive and stay educated regarding interpersonal violence.

Alecsai Allen 1:01
Thank you so much for joining us and welcome. Can you start off by introducing yourself and your role within the NC State community and its Women's Center?

Carlyn Wright-Eakes 1:10
My name is Carlyn Wright-Eakes. I use she/her pronouns. I'm the interpersonal violence prevention education coordinator with NC State's Women's Center. The Women's Center is one of four campus community centers and we're housed under the office for institutional equity and diversity here at NC State.

Alecsai Allen 1:26
Your job title mentions interpersonal violence. Can you provide some examples of what the Women's Center considers circumstances of interpersonal violence?

Carlyn Wright-Eakes 1:35
Yeah, so we, the Women's Center houses our IPV, or interpersonal violence, both prevention and response services at NC State, then we define the IPV, kind of as an umbrella term that covers anything from sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking, any type of non consensual behavior. So we really are here both to do training and education across campus, as well as supporting anybody, any students who might have experienced any of these things. So we can help students seek support connected to resources on campus, as well as just provide information about what their options are.

Alecsai Allen 2:15
The pack survivor support Alliance is a new program the Women's Center is implementing. When does this program launch? And what can the NC State Community expect from it?

Carlyn Wright-Eakes 2:23
We are launching the Pack survivor support Alliance this fall. So the past year was kind of a pilot version. So we were building up our workshops, we did a couple pilot workshops just to test out the content and kind of start to think envision what the program would look like. So we are offering four workshops this fall, we'll continue to offer the four core workshops every semester. And our hope is that once faculty and staff complete those four, they'll be enrolled in the program. And we'll provide some continuing opportunities for people to stay engaged. We're modeling some after the faculty and staff advocate program, which is out of the GLBT center. So really looking at ways that we can bring faculty and staff into our work and into being allies and supports for students.

Alecsai Allen 3:15
You're launching this program during COVID-19, which is a very brave endeavor. Have you found the pandemic has caused roadblocks during the planning and preparation process?

Carlyn Wright-Eakes 3:24
We have known regardless of the pandemic, that students need additional supports from faculty and staff on campus, many of the survivors that we work with, oftentimes will have some difficulties, maybe communicating with professors about what their needs are, or even just navigating the pressures of being a student, while you know, going through whatever might be part of their healing and recovery after experiencing a sexual assault or dating and domestic violence. So it's something that's been on our radar and something we've really wanted to do. I focus primarily on the training and education side. And I was somewhat surprised when everything went virtual that it actually gave a little bit more flexibility and opportunity for faculty and staff to engage in different opportunities. So I think on the first pilot workshop, we had 60 participants, which I was surprised, I thought it would have been lower. Yeah, so there's definitely been interest. And I think, you know, in some ways working from home or the flexibility of being to join from your office anywhere means that faculty and staff have more time and ability to engage rather than having to trek across campus and find space in Talley. So we're going to continue offering these four workshops virtual through the fall semester, even though many people are back on campus, hoping to kind of provide that ease of access for faculty and staff. We hope in the future to also have some programs or opportunities that are in person so people who are part of the program can really network and get to know one another and continue to learn more about what's going on in the field of IPV and prevention.

Alecsai Allen 5:08
The term allies is a term that you use a lot. What does it mean to be an ally? What does the Women's center think it means to be an ally?

Carlyn Wright-Eakes 5:15
Yeah, so we spent a lot of time actually thinking about the name of what this group could be, and ally was one of the terms that came up, we ended up going with Alliance, really wanting to think about, how are all the different ways that people can be engaged in this work. So we want it to be open to anybody who might consider themselves, or identify as an ally to survivors, meaning that they themselves have potentially not experienced any form of interpersonal violence, but want to be engaged and involved in the prevention work. And in making the campus a safer and more supportive place. We also really want it to be open to any faculty and staff who may have experienced IPV, or consider themselves a survivor. So recognizing that it is very widespread, we also want to provide opportunities and abilities for people to maybe reflect on how their own individual experiences, you know, whether it's positive or negative may really have an implication on how they interact with students, and how supportive they are.

Alecsai Allen 6:22
Are there any other programs or upcoming activities, the Women's Center, or one of the other three community centers is hosting that our listeners should know about?

Carlyn Wright-Eakes 6:30
Despite COVID, there's a lot going on. So we are, like I said, one of four campus community centers. So our sister centers are the GLBT Center, the MSA, which is Multicultural Student Affairs, the AACC, the African American cultural center, the Women's Center and the AACC are both having their 30th anniversary this year. So we have a couple different celebrations for those and also really trying to take a dive into understanding more about, you know, what does it look like to be part of these cultural or identity centers on campus for 30 years? And what has the past looked like? Where are we now, what is coming in the future. So that'll be a big part of this upcoming year. We also focus a lot on different Awareness Months. So from the Women's Center, we'll be doing programming for Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, and really focusing on stalking and human trafficking in January. And then we have lots of programs in April around Sexual Assault Awareness Month. So a lot up and coming. We're happy to be back on campus and training up our group of students who are peer educators. So we have a student group called The Movement and right now we're in the midst of training, but they'll be doing a lot of workshops around campus on consent and healthy relationships by standard behavior. So really trying as much as possible to kind of get the word out and continue to create spaces for students to have these conversations.

Alecsai Allen 7:56
Lastly, is there anything else you want our listeners to know about the Women's Center? Any advice? Any thing specific to the PSSA?

Carlyn Wright-Eakes 8:03
We do you have a couple different funds that people can donate to some go directly to our survivor Fund, which provides financial assistance to students who identify as survivors or who have experienced IPV and they can apply for up to $500 of financial assistance and this can cover anything from medical bills, seeking off campus counseling, loss of transportation, needing to move, anything like that can be covered. So I have other funds that will be kind of more directed towards our prevention work. So we are here doing the work and in full force and would love to have any support.

Alecsai Allen 8:38
Thank you so much for joining us today Carlyn. Today's music was Sunset and Beaches by Achene. Brought to you via the YouTube Audio Library. Reporting for Eye on the Triangle. This is Alecsai Allen.

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EOT 331- Pack Survivor Support Alliance
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