Students pack after-care kits for survivors of sexual violence


Students packing after- care kits taken by Alex Noth


The Hour 2 Empower event, held on March 29, featured students packing over 200 after-care kits that have supplies to help survivors of sexual violence.  Not only was this event about creating kits for people who have suffered sexual violence, but it was also about learing.


The event was opened by Paul Trible and then followed Rosemary Trible; they both talked about the horrors of sexual violence. After they finished speaking, a video was shown and the students were taught how to pack the kits. 


Each kit has a size. To start, grab a bag and put sweatpants in it first, label side up. Then, they would put underwear and shirt in the bag. Next, a freedom stone for adults and a children’s coloring book for the kids’ bags. Then one item of toothpaste and toothbrush, a journal and pen, a resource card, and a card that explains how to use the freedom bear, a handwritten note and finally put the freedom bear on top. Then take the bag to the checkout table.


The students would also write notes to the people receiving these kits that would be put into the kits. 


The orginization Fear2Freedom, has distributed 30,000 of these kits over the past ten or more years.


Due to the sheer amount of people there it took about 30 minutes or less to make all the kits and write all the notes.


Students came to the event for many different reasons


Nick Thomas said that he came to the event because “This is just something that’s important to have the knowledge of that you can carry yourself with confidence while also knowing how to be mindful of things that people are going through.”


As for Hannah Goldman, she came to the event and said “I think it’s something really important that we can do to give back because a lot of us can’t relate to this personal trauma, but we can help to make a difference in someone’s life.”


For Elise Brook, this event was important. She said, “It’s very meaningful because I’ve had lots of people in my life especially girlfriends that have been through this. So just helping others that have been through this situation is meaningful.”


Ryan Castle said “I think it’s extremely important to raise awareness on campus and to make this an issue that we’re talking about.”


There was a record number of participants this year, with over 100 students showing up. 


With this amount of people at the event, Paul Trible said, “By bringing the Christopher Newport family together with large numbers of students that are active and participate across this campus, that we can underscore the seriousness of the problem, but more importantly commit to each other that we’re going to be there to look out for each other, to be vigilant to keep people safe. And so nights like this are so encouraging.”


For Rosemary Trible, seeing all these people at the event was great. She said “It was just incredible for me. In fact, I just got emotional that all these students would take the time, especially so many men that would care enough to come. And our hope is not only to care for those that have been sexually assaulted, but to bring education, as young people college can change the world. And if you can get them to understand this issue, they’re so much more likely to really respect women respect each other, and also to be willing to do something like this. …and so it meant the world to me.”


Virginia Woodard said, “It does something to my heart to see students being committed to being the change, so that gives me joy. It gives me joy because as a survivor myself, the more that we can get the word out and the more that students are aware of what can happen and what can happen to their friend and how to support them.”


This is a personal for Rosemary Trible as she said, “Having been a victim myself. I’ve been someone very trusting and hugging and suddenly I had this ice wall around me and it is the most stealing of your joy.  I’d always been a very joyful person. I had this fear. And it was call my husband and friends that helped me get through that time. But I wanted to devote the rest of my life to making a difference in the lives of others and encouraging them that they too can get over this. Whatever it is. And I think one of the things that’s hardest for me is so many of these are children, and it’s child abuse by men and women. That is just so destructive to their future. So yes, this is my heart.”


However this event would not be possible without students volunteering, specifically the club, Where is the Line?


Ryan Bocompani, a member, said he chooses to volunteer because, “I know so many people who have been affected by sexual assault and domestic violence. And I know how painful this is for them. And I’ve been told by people who have gotten these eye care kits, how helpful they can be in the recovery process. Just the smallest little gesture can mean the most to somebody when they’re at their lowest. So doing whatever we can to help them out and just give them that little extra boost when they need it most is probably the most important thing we can do to support survivors.”


Bocompani also said, “I’m really proud of everybody for showing up. I’m really happy to just see how many people are here caring about the plight of the survivors and how difficult their lives have been and how they can work to make a meaningful impact and change to help them. It’s just really inspiring to see so many people willing to help others even if they don’t know them.”


A big part of the kits is the bear that they put on the top of bag. The bear is something soft that can serve as a counsling tool. 


For Rosemary Trible, founder of Fear2Freedom and creator of the after-care kits, she said that “The first thing that I came up with was the bear. Trying to find something that would be sensitive and caring and yet not overwhelming to someone who’s a victim. And I’ve always loved magic and these dissolving pieces of paper. There’s something that is so personal, for them to read a note from the student, caring about them, but then putting that little note from the bear in the bears heart and then taking it out and watching it disappear. It gives them a chance to believe that I can live through this I can ge on the other side.”