I came to Auburn in 2012 on a whim. I was a newlywed and mother of a two-year-old daughter, Alexandra, and there was lingering uncertainty on what I would study when I became part of the Auburn Family.
Initially, my dream was to work with an Egyptian nonprofit working with women and girls who experienced female genital cutting/mutilation or work for an embassy in North Africa. This is where I began to major in political science, international relations. I began to research more and read about horrors that were occurring in Egypt and other nations such as sexual harassment, abuses, and sexual violence. And that is when it happened. All the trauma from my own assault when I was 15 surfaced.
Auburn’s student counseling services saved me. I was able to see a counselor about a month after applying, and I was able to work through the various traumas that occurred throughout my lifetime: alcoholic father, sexual violence, trauma that stems from the divorce of my parents, etc. Working through that trauma allowed for me to be a better wife, mother, and overall person. It allowed me to heal, and it steered me into a path that lead to where I am now.
After applying to the Auburn Master’s of Public Administration Program and being accepted, I was able to really focus on nonprofit work geared specifically towards survivors of sexual violence. I became a part of the RAINN Speaker’s Bureau and traveled across the State of Alabama participating on panels with judges and law enforcement, gave speeches to my peers and listened to other survivors. During this time I began to intern at the Sexual Assault Support Center (SASC): The Center at 909 in Columbus, Ga. under another Auburn alumna and The Center’s executive director, Kyle A. Bair.
I am now the assistant director at The Center and have worked with survivors of all ages. As young as four to 80+; some were survivors of human trafficking. I have also given presentations at numerous events, trained local law enforcement, have written grants that have awarded The Center nearly half a million dollars this year alone, reconstructed our social media presence, created many flyers and brochures, and am spearheading a new program to the center where I will speak with local youth on healthy relationships.
Out of all of this…what is the best part of my job? Seeing the survivors heal at their own pace. Their bravery and courage to continue to heal is truly awe inspiring, and I am honored to be a part of that journey.