Local Project Works To Raise Awareness About Sexual Abuse

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- This spring, The Collins Center has partnered with three classes from James Madison University to raise awareness about sexual violence and in our community.

On Wednesday, they will showcase the results of their collaboration in a public event at the Court Square Theater titled “Engaging Voices.”

The goal of the event is to raise awareness about the Collins Center, a local nonprofit whose goal is to prevent child sexual abuse and provide sexual assault response and treatment. The evening will consist of guest speakers, a panel discussion, and the presentation of the JMU students’ work, which includes a redesigned website, strategic media campaigns, and seven videos that promote the Collins Center’s mission.

The event is the culmination of a semester-long collaboration between the Collins Center, video production and web design classes from the JMU's School of Media Arts and Design (SMAD), and a nonprofit communications class from the School of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication (WRTC).

SMAD professor Shaun Wright, one of the event organizers, said this kind of collaboration gives students the opportunity to make their school-based learning have real-world impact. Another organizer, WRTC’s Seán McCarthy, said the Court Square event celebrates what is possibly the largest engagement collaboration between JMU and a community partner in a single semester.

Anthea Liu, a local college student, said she plans to attend because she wants to learn how to protect herself, "Because I know these kinds of things can happen, some of my friends may have experience with it. So, maybe if I know more about it, I will know how to avoid it and protect myself and my friends."

The Engaging Voices event is Wednesday from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. at The Court Square Theater in downtown Harrisonburg.

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