Radford University partners with global nonprofit Fear 2 Freedom

Radford University Fear 2 Freedom volunteers collect stuffed bears for survivors of sexual assault.

A "medical kit for the heart."

That's what hundreds of Radford University students, faculty, staff and administrators assembled on a recent fall evening for survivors of sexual assault.

The uplifting effort was orchestrated by Fear 2 Freedom, a global nonprofit the university hosted on Sept. 27 for the second consecutive year.

Fear 2 Freedom, or F2F, was founded by Rosemary Trible in 2011.  The nonprofit's name reflects the startling statistic that a person is sexually assaulted every two minutes. Trible - a survivor of sexual assault herself - and her team bring hope and healing to those who have experienced such devastation through Celebration Nights at which college students pen handwritten notes and pack kits for sexual assault survivors.

Throughout the past three years, Trible has expanded F2F from its Christopher Newport University origin – where her husband Paul serves as president – onto 18 college campuses. To date, F2F has provided more than 13,000 After Care kits to sexual assault survivors.

Five hundred members of the Radford University community, representing dozens of clubs, organizations and sports teams, lent their time and energy to contribute to the powerful cause.

"It makes me proud to know that so many of my peers feel strongly about this issue," said senior Kaitlyn Julien. "I hope that the student body will continue to stand up and say they won't let this happen anymore. I am very proud of my university for taking a stand and being the change."


Radford University students stand with Fear 2 Freedom founder Rosemary Trible (center) at the Celebration Night on Sept. 27.

At Radford's Celebration Night, Trible shared her personal journey from "fear to freedom" of her abuser. She also screened a moving film titled "Be the Change," in which survivors shared their stories of trauma, grief, healing and empowerment.

Trible announced that the film, which is part of F2F's "Be the Change" national campaign, received a regional Emmy award from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter. She displayed the Emmy on the podium as she addressed the Radford University family on the packed Student Recreation and Wellness MAC court.

"You are the solution," Trible told the audience. "You are the tangible difference in the life of someone who has been so traumatized."

Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill applauded Trible for her activism and called students to unite against sexual assault, "a tragic and painful incident that no person – male or female – should ever experience," he said.

"Let us stand together for a campus free of violence and full of compassion," Hemphill said. "Central to my vision for Radford University is student-centeredness. Violence is contrary to that fundamental principle."  

Following the presentations, participants got to work.

They wrote anonymous notes of support for survivors and collected stuffed bears - symbolic comfort tools.

"This event is a huge step forward for raising awareness of sexual assault in our community," said senior Alan Ward. "It is critical that we play a role in ending the violence that affects so many peoples’ lives. I am most amazed by Mrs. Trible’s story and how she has turned such a dark moment into a force for good."

Following the event, students loaded the kits onto an ambulance, which carried the supplies to Carilion New River Valley Medical Center. Other participants joined in a ceremonious walk to the Women's Resource Center in downtown Radford to deliver the rest of the kits.

"I can't imagine a better way to expose our students to this amazing community resource," said Substance Abuse and Violence Education Support (SAVES) Director Kelly Rubin. "It was a great experience and set a prime example of how Radford University partners with community providers."

Sep 30, 2016
Mary Hardbarger