Alcorn’s Office of Educational Equity and Inclusion hosts Sexual Assault and Domestic Abuse Symposium

Alcorn’s Office of Educational Equity and Inclusion held a Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Symposium in the J. D. Boyd Library’s Medgar W. Evers Auditorium Tuesday, Jan. 24. Christy Pickering, who is part of the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) and owner of Christy Pickering, CPA, was the keynote presenter for the occasion.

In her speech titled “Girl You Deserve Better,” Pickering took the audience on a journey through her 21-year relationship with her ex husband in which she experienced verbal, mental and physical abuse. She shared some of her mistakes in hopes of preventing others from going down the same path.

“My first mistake was not realizing that he had a controlling personality,” said Pickering. “I thought that it was nice of him to want to control my every move; I thought it was because he loved me. I didn’t realize until I married him that he wanted to know my every move because it was his way of controlling me. Another mistake I made was thinking I could change him. Even though he was abusive, I thought that my love for him would change him. You can’t change someone who doesn’t want to change; I don’t care how much you want them to.”

Pickering said that people stay in abusive relationships because of emotional attachment, financial reason, for health benefits and for their children. She emphasized that it’s not a good idea to stay in a tumultuous relationship because of the children because it will affect their outlook on how to treat others and how they let others treat them.

“It’s best to leave and take your children with you because peace and happiness is better for them. If you’re in a bad relationship, go get some help. Go to a minister, a trusted friend or a counselor. They are here to help and listen to you.”

Alcorn’s Chief of Police Douglas Stewart moderated a panel discussion with surrounding law enforcement agencies that included the Adams, Claiborne, Jefferson and Warren counties.

Students learned the warning signs of sexual assault and domestic violence, and what they can do if confronted with these issues.

Lieutenant Penny Jones, domestic violence coordinator for the Vicksburg Police Department, informed the students that there is always someone to talk to about domestic violence.

“My job is to let victims know that they can come and talk to me if they’re involved in domestic violence,” said Jones. “Don’t think that physical abuse is the only form of domestic violence. If you are simply afraid of what your spouse may do to you, that’s also considered domestic violence.”

Deputy Karren Ewing, victim’s assistant coordinator for the Adams County Sheriff’s Office who dealt with domestic violence in her past relationships, applauded the University for educating young people on such a serious issue.

“I think that this symposium is so important because there are so many families in our communities that are dysfunctional because of domestic violence,” said Ewing. “There are women, and men, who are facing this issue without any knowledge of properly dealing with it. This is an awesome event, and it should continue.”

LLijuna Weir, director of Educational Equity and Inclusion at Alcorn, thanked the panel and Laura Drake, Educational Equity and Inclusion administrative assistant, for their hard work and participation. She also encouraged the students to reach out to them if they ever need help.

“This is a way for us to show the students that there are caring people around us that are willing to help,” said Weir. “If you are dealing with any domestic violence issues, please take advantage of the resources that we have provided for you.”

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