Texas A&M University student leaders representing organizations from across campus will host renowned professional counselor and post-trauma counseling specialist Whitney Bliss for a discussion on supporting sexual assault survivors Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in Rudder Theatre.
The event titled “You Are Not Alone: Supporting Survivors of Sexual Assault and Harassment,” will cover the effects of trauma on both the brain and the nervous system as well as how the university and local community can support survivors.
“This program is designed to address concerns students have about how to support their friends and loved ones when they experience a traumatic event such as sexual assault or harassment,” Morgan McMaster, executive vice president of programs for the MSC said. “Our goal is to empower students and community members to be allies and advocates for those who are vulnerable and unsure of what to do next.”
Following Bliss, the program will feature a panel of university departments and area organizations to share the existing support networks and resources available to the campus and local community.
“By creating space for conversation we are able to name what has been made unspeakable, and rise together as community to experience our inherent strength and resilience,” Bliss said. “Wounds that happen in relation cannot be healed in isolation.”
Bliss received her master’s degree in counseling and family therapy from Saint Louis University in 2009. Before relocating to Texas, she worked for four years at a trauma focused residential center for eating disorders. From January 2011 to January 2017 she worked at Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center as a Sexual Assault Counselor and the coordinator for the Center’s hospital response team.
She has also coordinated the Hays-Caldwell Sexual Assault Response Team. Bliss has been in private practice in San Marcos full time since February where she regularly trains professionals, law enforcement, volunteers, and community members on survivor support.
The event is hosted by MSC Officers in collaboration with the Residential Housing Association, Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, the Graduate and Professional Student Council, Student Government Association, Class Councils, Health Promotion, Student Counseling Service and the Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC).