The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

    Stan State’s HAVEN: A Resource for Advocacy and Awareness

    Stan+State%26%238217%3Bs+HAVEN+Educator%2C+Malia+Bert+%28left%29+and+Victim+Advocate%2C+Kennedy+Cassidy+%28right%29+running+the+HAVEN+booth+at+Warrior+Wednesday+Student+Fair+%28Photo+Contributed+by+Natalie+Ramos%29

    Stan State’s HAVEN Educator, Malia Bert (left) and Victim Advocate, Kennedy Cassidy (right) running the HAVEN booth at Warrior Wednesday Student Fair (Photo Contributed by Natalie Ramos)

    Stanislaus State’s HAVEN provides resources, services, and a safe space for students and staff who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or human trafficking. They also host educational events on campus that help spread awareness on these matters.
    The work of Stan State’s HAVEN victim advocate, Kennedy Cassidy, and Malia Bert, Stan State educator, is important to recognize because of the safe environment they bring onto campus.
    As HAVEN’s mission statement says, their organization advocates for individual empowerment, societal change, and also works to end gender-based violence.
    Cassidy’s role as the victim advocate is to provide students and staff with fully confidential services such as peer counseling, safety planning, case management, advocacy, crisis intervention, hospital accompaniment, court accompaniment, and many other resources and referrals for other accessible services.
    Students and staff may feel intimidated by counseling services that are more traditionally structured. However, the space that Cassidy provides for survivors on campus does not have a specific structure or set of rules.
    “Reaching back out to clients that make contact with me, setting a time to meet up, figuring out what it is that they need or need support with, and then making a plan to do those things, whether that be a follow-up appointment, or setting up peer counseling. I can provide different resources in the area. There’s a lot of different avenues that a session can take with a client,” said Cassidy.
    With this client-lead approach, the peer counseling sessions she offers create an inclusive safe space where clients can take control of what they want out of the appointment. These sessions are guided by what students or staff request and need, Cassidy explained.
    “The people I have talked to have been in very tough situations where they don’t feel like they have any support so by me giving even a small fraction of support, it does change things a little bit,” said Cassidy.
    “The thing about advocacy work is you don’t have to do everything correctly. There’s not some strict formula I have to follow. Most of the time, you can just be there and exist for that person and you’re already doing 50% more than what they had,” she also added.
    Cassidy’s office is located in the Science I building (room S234).
    Bert also takes on a unique role as a Stan State educator. She does not work directly with survivors, but she helps coordinate awareness events on campus, such as outreach events, workshops, and presentations.
    These events, workshops, and presentations focus on awareness of survivors and healthy relationships. They are designed to educate people on these matters in a welcoming environment.
    “I think we try to really break down everything that we are talking about. We don’t go into it with any assumptions that people know about what we are talking about, we break it all down, even down to what a healthy relationship is, what a healthy relationship isn’t, how to say no, how to end things with someone,” said Bert.
    Bert’s work also involves networking and building connections on campus. 
    “A lot of people on campus don’t know that we exist so it’s kinda more our job to get into people’s worlds so we reach out, go to their events, meet people where they’re at,” Bert said.
    “We don’t expect everyone to come seek us, especially because we are not only trying to build relationships with survivors, we want to build relationships with everybody because everyone could play a part in advocating and spreading awareness,” she added.
    Throughout this semester, HAVEN has collaborated with other on-campus departments, such as CAPS, the  Student Health Center, the Athletics Department, and the Warrior Cross Cultural Center to spread awareness through their presentations and workshops.
    They were especially busy during this fall semester in October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. During this month, they were requested to take part in six different presentations/workshops.
    This includes the workshop event that they participated in that was mandatory for all Stan State student-athletes, which took place in the University Event Center. Bert and Cassidy’s segment in the workshop was called “Healthy Love.”
    On October 3rd, they spoke only to men who are student-athletes, and October 4th is when they spoke to women student-athletes. In total, they presented to over 200 student-athletes over these two days.
    Speaking in front of this many students was nerve-wracking for both Bert and Kennedy, but it was worth it to them. They believe that their work helped their audience learn more about healthy relationships.
    “Most kids will leave with a seed planted…As far as that seed being watered, I think life experiences will water that seed, but I think they will always leave with a little bit of knowledge and awareness,” said Bert.
    HAVEN is a service on campus that uniquely represents survivors like no other, where students’ and staff members’ stories can be heard. Because of this support, they may not feel alone, like they may have previously.
    Additionally, there are also ways that students and staff can help HAVEN..
    One instance of such is when the sociology club took part in hygiene-kit building for HAVEN. This event took place this semester on September 29th.
    The club contributed to the donation of hygiene products and also received some from other students on campus. These supplies were put into 59 kits and donated to the HAVEN shelters.
    Public Relations officer of the sociology club, Vanessa Lara, (senior, Sociology) played a major role in organizing this event and bringing it to life.
    Student Event Coordinator of the sociology club, Ashley Sulvaran (junior, Sociology), was one of the students involved in the kit building and was glad to be a part of the experience.
    “It was really cool because it was something completely new to me and the club as well, so it just felt very rewarding to know that your work is helping others, which is the main focus of the Sociology club,” said Sulvaran.
    Sulvaran is in strong support of what HAVEN does here on campus.
    “I think HAVEN is super important because it’s a program that helps people and advocates for awareness around abuse and domestic violence and I think it’s super important that people know about it and know that it’s offered through our campus,” she said.
    Another way people can show their support for HAVEN is by participating in their upcoming 2022 holiday drive by donating new, unwrapped items for all ages. These gifts will help the survivors HAVEN works with to have a positive holiday season.
    There are also fundraising events that take place each year, such as In Their Shoes and Kick Up Your Heels.
    Reposting information from Stan State’s HAVEN Instagram account or passing around flyers in the community can help spread the word about the organization.
    If interested in seeking on-campus services, check out HAVEN’S linktree.
    Services are also available at the Turlock and Modesto HAVEN offices.
    Other useful resources for survivors of DV, SA, and HT include the24-hour Crisis Line, End Rape on Campus, Center for Human Services, love is respect, and One Love Foundation.
     

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    Stan State’s HAVEN: A Resource for Advocacy and Awareness