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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Advocating for assault victims

Advocating+for+assault+victims

By: Mikala McBride, staff writer

Working with victims and survivors of sexual assault requires a certain amount of maturity, understanding and strength. These are three characteristics Rachel Ann Gresko ’19 must employ when volunteering for the Safe Homes Rape Crisis Coalition.

A volunteer with the 24-hour crisis line, Gresko is on call during Safe Home’s off hours, which makes her responsible for any phone calls that come in during that time. She primarily deals with victims of sexual assault, which requires trips to the hospital to provide clothing, explain the forensic exam and provide comfort to traumatized victims. Secondarily, Gresko also interacts with cases of domestic assault, in which she will answer the phone and offer information on the services Safe Homes can provide.

Gresko also serves as a liaison on campus, providing communication between Safe Homes and Wofford’s campus. Although she focuses mainly on “facilitating talks and discussion through organizations on campus,” Gresko has also managed to make personal connections with many sexual assault survivors on campus and offers them information on some of the resources available through Safe Homes, which may offer different services than those already provided on campus.

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In particular, Safe Homes offers three main services: victim advocacy in the court system, an emergency shelter and counseling services to both victims and anyone else affected. Safe Homes is open to anyone affected by either sexual or domestic assault, without any forms of discrimination. Although current laws impact some of the court advocacy, Safe Homes still attempts to offer help to anyone in need, despite legal definitions.

Gresko explains that this entire experience started because of her passion for helping others.

“I’m interested in women’s advocacy,” she explains. “I knew I wanted to do an internship to get involved in the Spartanburg community.” Gresko’s work with Safe Homes actually started during the fall 2017 semester, when she completed a 30-hour training course on how to handle sexual assault and domestic violence. She learned important statistics, developed techniques for responding to people and acquired an awareness of the prevalence of sexual assault in the Spartanburg community. She also has experience in the courthouse learning how survivors are able to file Orders of Protection, so she can better assist victims and communicate information to students at Wofford.

Gresko’s work fighting for victims of sexual assault doesn’t stop with Safe Homes though; she is running a marathon and organizing events. She is raising $6,000 for Restore NYC, which is an organization trying to end sex trafficking and help survivors, and also running a New York marathon with this charity. On campus, she has helped organize some of the events coming up for Sexual Assault Awareness Month and hopes to continue being a resource for the Wofford community.

 

Sexual Assault Awareness Month Highlights:

Week of April 9 – Start of Safe Homes fundraising through AVI (donate terrier bucks to donate supplies and food to Safe Homes)

April 10 – TEAL DAY: Embrace Your Voice Poster for students to sign

April 10-12 – Chalk the Walk: students can leave messages around campus about assault

April 17 – Panel on Title IX at 11:00 a.m.

April 25 – Denim Day

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