CARE Sister’s helping out University of Kansas

She woke up in a dark room confused. She stumbled to try to find her shoes. Something didn’t feel right, and had no clue what happened last night. Sexual assault is not a light subject to talk about. Young women who have been a victim of sexual assault are scared to speak out. Whether that is because they are worried people will judge, or they think they will get in trouble. The idea of CARE Sisters was originally from the Panhellenic president in 2015. Merrill Evans noticed a need for more education and support within the sorority community.
“We really want this to be a student run initiative,” Merrill Evans said.
CARE Sisters say they are really well informed friends who will believe, validate, advocate and connect their sisters to campus and community resources. They will also have a solid and strong foundation for the landscape of sexual violence both here at KU and in our community.
Merrill Evans is the CARE Sister coordinator. She organizes the trainings and does all the background logistics of the program and provides confidential supervising. She has to arrange all the guest speakers who come and talks at the trainings for the CARE Sisters. Merrill makes sure that the women who apply to be a sister are good women and have what it takes. She is also someone that women can come talk to if they are not comfortable talking to a CARE sister.
“My role specifically has been able to provide individual support and guidance to these young women when they’re supporting survivors and unfortunately on a number of occasions where they were the victim. I’m able to support, advocate and mentor them,” Evans said.
There are two to three girls from each Panhellenic sorority on campus that are CARE Sisters. They are trained to be an advocate for sexual assault victim and direct them to places they can go to get more professional help. The women who are CARE Sisters all have similar stories on why they became one.
Sarah Johnson became a CARE Sister because one of her sorority sisters was sexually assaulted. Seeing her sorority sister crying and scared to tell anyone opened Sarah’s eyes. Sarah had to just sit there and thought to herself that she wanted to become a CARE Sister so then she could be someone that women can talk to if they think they have been sexually assaulted. “I had seen and heard about women on college campuses going through cases of sexual assault and wanted to be able to help others be aware of those situations and help prevent them,” Johnson said.
CARE Sister Program is only for the University of Kansas, but they are growing the program out to other sources on campus.
“We have been working with the CARE Sisters program for about 2 years now. It has been such a great program, I believe has truly helped young women become less intimidated to talk about a time they thought they have been sexually assaulted. Sexual Assault happens more than we think it does and is so great that these young women created a program that can truly impact and create more of awareness,” Jen Brockman says.
Jen Brockman is the Director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center here on campus. She has been in the field of victim advocacy and prevention since 2001.
“We’ve also been approached by athletics and housing to model a similar program within these units. We work very closely with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center here at KU, this department is responsible for all the prevention and education work here at KU in regards to gender based violence.” Evans said.
The whole basis for this program is for women to feel comfortable. Being a CARE Sister is filled with emotions. Sexual assault is a scary thing and knowledge needs to be spread. The program has helped so many young women and the goal is to help double the amount of people

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