The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Dialogue empowers SMU

Kelly Addington and Becca Tieder spoke to SMU students about sexual assault awareness in McFarlin Auditorium Monday night.
Sidney Hollingsworth/The Daily Campus
Kelly Addington and Becca Tieder spoke to SMU students about sexual assault awareness in McFarlin Auditorium Monday night.

Kelly Addington and Becca Tieder spoke to SMU students about sexual assault awareness in McFarlin Auditorium Monday night. (Sidney Hollingsworth/The Daily Campus)

On a mission to empower generations of young students, speakers Kelly Addington and Becca Tieder stopped by SMU Monday night to talk about sexual assault awareness and prevention.

More than 1,000 of SMU’s first year students crowded into McFarlin Auditorium to hear their message.

“We hope to strip away sexual stereotypes and help people to know that inside everyone is the ability to make a change,” Tiedder said.

The event was a collaborative effort between the Delta Gamma Foundation and SMU’s Women’s Center, New Student Orientation and Student Support, Counseling and Psychiatric Services, and Student Development and Programs for SMU.
“We are proud to be a part of tonight and partner to get the word out. We want to let students know there are people here at SMU to help and to encourage them to use their voice,” Ali Fagan, a senior and Delta Gamma’s VP of foundation, said.
Every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. Addington and Tieder hope that by sharing their story and helping to promote understanding, they will be a part of lessoning this statistic.

“I didn’t want to be seen as a victim,” Addington said. “But eventually I saw the importance of helping others by telling what happened to me and gained the courage to speak up.”

Karen Click, director of SMU’s Women Center sees the benefit to having first year students hear Addington and Tieder’s message.

“They have a great story about how two college friends helped each other and were there for one another,” Click said. “And SMU is a community here for students as well.”

SMU offers a wide variety of services to students who may find themselves facing a similar scenario, which includes sexual assault, counseling and psychiatric services.

“The first step to sexually empowering ourselves is to make the decision to be true to oneself and confident in who you are. Only then will you be able to take a stand for what you believe and rock those beliefs in a situation,” Tiedder said.

Addington and Tieder encouraged students to strip away the gender stereotypes regarding sexual assault and hold everyone to an equal standard of accountability.

“This is the real world, we need to get used to communicating and knowing that it’s not a man against women issue,” Addington said. “It’s not a gender issue.”

In addition to talking with students around the country, Addington and Tieder have started their own non-profit organization, One Student, which is dedicated to providing programs and resources to further engage students and encourage them to make a positive change to stop sexual assault.

“I wouldn’t feel right coming to these universities and speaking to wonderful, dedicated students without giving them an outlet to do something after,” Tieder said.

“That’s why we started One Student, because it’s an outlet to do more.”

One student promotes it only takes one community, one school or even one student to make change possible.

SMU senior and Delta Gamma member Nicole Hodges was in attendance for the event and thinks it’s important to be a part of this change.

“Since we are in a large city like Dallas, it’s critical to know sexual assault can happen and does. By being aware of this, we can be more prepared and do something about it hopefully,” Hodges said.

“You can be the one to stop this and I can only hope our story effects students in a positive way and gets them talking about it,” Tieder said. 

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