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Fear 2 Freedom Launches "Love Event"

By Brett Wilson | October 10, 2013

Students collected items to piece together F2F kits for assault survivors.

"It's time to stand for freedom; it's time to let these people know that what happened to them isn't fair and that it wasn't their fault," said Rosemary Trible, president of Fear 2 Freedom (F2F), as she addressed participants in F2F's celebration night at Regent University on Friday, Oct. 4.

Regent's Student Services team led students, faculty and staff as they assembled 300 "F2F kits" for survivors of sexual traumas. The kits, which are given to those who have undergone rape or assault upon their departure from the hospital, are filled with an assortment of toiletries, a teddy bear, a journal and a change of clothes.

Trible explained that after an assault takes place, a survivor undergoes a tedious medical examination that last nearly four hours. In order to obtain evidence about the assault, the survivors must leave their clothes behind. After their exams, they are normally sent from the hospital in clothing made with a thin, paper-like material.

"You are passing on the love in this room to those who will have experienced the greatest trauma in their lives," said Trible.

F2F was originally launched two years ago by Trible out of Christopher Newport University. Since its start, F2F has distributed more than 3,000 kits to hospitals from nine different universities in Virginia.

Of the 300 kits assembled Friday evening, 200 were distributed to Norfolk General Hospital, while the remaining 100 were sent to the YWCA. Marissa Westmoreland, a forensic nurse from Norfolk General Hospital, also addressed the crowd. Westmoreland said that on average, she comes across nearly 100 sexual assault cases in a year.

"You wouldn't believe how many people who go through this testing ask, 'what did I do wrong?'—and a lot of them leave feeling very guilty," said Westmoreland.

While providing fresh clothes and other basic needs to those having just undergone the exam, F2F also seeks to clothe sexual assault survivors in strength and dignity—and to also assure them that the crime committed against them was in no way their fault.

This assuredness was something that Brook Bello, prolific author, actress, filmmaker, minister and sex trafficking survivor, wishes she could have had throughout her healing own process. Bello, who shared her story during the evening's celebration, struggled to find peace after being raped by an older man at a very young age.

"I'm a living witness for the transforming power of God, love and therapy," said Bello.

Bello at one point, found herself walking the fine line of discovering life after trauma, and reconciling the past. She recalled hearing God's voice through the season of her life when she was struggling with healing tell her that she would have to "die to herself." Now, she travels and shares her story to assuage the stigma that society is tempted to place on rape and assault survivors.

"We can't judge the men and women who this has happened to, because when we judge, we lose compassion," said Bello.

Ultimately, Bello explained, this fight and climb for justice, along with love and "staying power" is what changes a trauma survivor's life. She encouraged participants to continue to share the love and support to those who need healing from traumas similar to what she experienced.

"Never treat a victim like a victim," said Bello. "God bless you and keep doing what you're doing—and if you see something, say something."

Learn more about Regent University's Student Services.


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E-mail: mhughes@regent.edu



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