On April 13, 2018, Sherrie Allsup spoke to Emanuel County 11th and 12th graders from both Swainsboro High School and Emanuel County Institute.
Allsup is a survivor of long-term sexual abuse and assault as a child and as a young adult, with a resulting diagnosis of Complex PTSD. She works every day to manage and close this chapter of her life. The focus of her next chapter is sharing her insight and experience to assist other victims with their transition to become survivors.
She is a speaker, educator and an advocate on the topics of sexual assault, sexual abuse and victim’s rights. Her advocacy centers on shining a light on the dark epidemic of sexual abuse and assault. She is a member of RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest and Neglect Network.)
Allsup is the founder of Courage Starts With You. For victims, Courage means telling someone and reaching out for help. For college administrators, Courage means accepting that assaults do happen on campus and taking the steps to address it. For law enforcement, Courage means looking beyond traditional victim interview techniques to recognize how and why victims of assault may act differently than victims of other crimes.
This talk was part of a partnership between Allsup and the East Georgia State College Police Department. The partnership began after Allsup presented a class to the ESGC PD on the neurobiology of trauma and realized that there was much that she didn’t understand from the law enforcement side of dealing with sexual assault victims. She invited EGSC PD Chief Wiley Gammon to become a co-presenter at her future trainings, which allowed officers to receive Georgia POST training credit. The two have given presentation to faculty, staff, resident assistants, housing students, and various student leadership groups such as the Student Government Association and Student Ambassadors at various college campuses. This was their first presentation to high school students.
East Georgia State College was a convenient venue for both high schools, allowing them to visit the campus and learn more about sexual assault. The presentation dealt with statistics of on-campus sexual assaults, how to read the Annual Security Reports published by colleges, what the Red Zone is and how to stay safe, prevention tips to stay safe on and off camps, bystander intervention and the role it plays in campus safety, and a question and answer session.
In August, Allsup and Chief Gammon will be doing several training classes for Wesleyan College in Macon and will travel to Texas A&M in September as well.
“We would like to do more with high school juniors and seniors,” said Chief Gammon. “We see working with them as proactive, whereas working with college students is more reactive.”