MSU social workers recognized for work in sexual assault education
The subject of sexual abuse and sexual assault are two topics that Gary Anderson said can be taboo, and might be hard for students to talk about.
Anderson said usually, people don’t have the chance to talk openly about assault, so accepting the Teal Ribbon Award for the MSU School of Social Work was something Anderson, the school’s director, was proud to do.
The Teal Ribbon Award is presented each year to an MSU unit or department that goes above and beyond to promote awareness and education around sexual assault violence.
“The MSU School of Social Work has a commitment for empowering survivors of sexual violence and educating the community about the dynamic of sexual violence,” said Shari Murgittroyd, program coordinator for the Counseling Center Sexual Assault Program.
Anderson said recognition from the Counseling Center Sexual Assault Program is deeply encouraging.
“We do so many things on campus and in the community, and often times, it is quiet and not really recognized,” he said. “I was thrilled when I found out the school received this award.”
The program was recognized for providing classes about the trauma from sexual assault and sexual violence protection and having a student-led vigil for the sexual assault victims of Penn State University in November.
The program also works to develop university policy on training faculty and staff so they understand all aspects of sexual assault and has social work students work with agencies, such as sexual assault programs, to prepare future professionals to intervene and work with people who have dealt with sexual assault.
“It’s important for students to know that they have these resources, and it is very convenient for them to get help,” said graduate student Erin Kennedy, who attended the award presentation said.
Not only does the School of Social Work provide education on campus for faculty and students, but the Counseling Center Sexual Assault Program presents therapy sessions for students who are dealing with sexual assault.
Soul Speak, which is a drop-in support group for female survivors of sexual violence, and Sexual Assault Survivors Support Group, which is a group for female students who have experienced childhood sexual abuse or adult sexual assault, are two of the support groups within the sexual assault program. In addition, there is a therapy group called Hope and Healing that provides therapy for women who have experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse.
Leah Elliot, sexual assault therapist within the Counseling Center Sexual Assault Program, said all of these groups are here to support women who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual assault, but the therapy group is more structured.
“We talk about coping methods, building relationships and working on self-esteem,” Elliot said. “It is support in their healing process to hear their reactions and let them know how they are feeling is normal.”