Actress addresses effects of sexual assault in lecture

first_imgWhen actress, producer and philanthropist AnnaLynne McCord spoke to Notre Dame students Thursday evening in the LaFortune Ballroom, she had one very clear message: the importance of acceptance and forgiveness.At age 18, McCord, who has starred in “90210,” “Nip/Tuck” and “Dallas,” was sexually assaulted in her own home by a male friend, and she said the fact that she knew her attacker that made it harder to grasp.“[Knowing the attacker] is the part that makes it very shameful, very uncomfortable, and this is what keeps silence,” McCord said.As the assault took place, she said she was unsure of how to fight for herself. But it was when she thought of her boyfriend that she suddenly found a voice and stood up to her attacker.“For [my boyfriend] I had a voice … but I couldn’t do it for myself because I felt pushed down as a woman,” McCord said of the weakness she felt in the moment of the attack.She said instinctually repressed the memory following the attack and did not speak about it to anyone for many months.“[It was] denial, denial, denial,” she said, until she told a male friend 10 months later.“That was the first time I ever said it,” McCord said. “That was the first time I ever acknowledged that that’s actually what it was. That was the first time I even gave any kind of thought towards it.”That moment led her to a revelation: she was not reacting to her assault in the same vengeful and angered way that her friend was reacting.She couldn’t quite understand this difference, she said.“Why didn’t I feel that for myself? Why did I feel like I didn’t have a voice?” McCord said.After her many trips to Cambodia as part of her work against sex trafficking, McCord said she began to find her voice and heal.“These girls [in Cambodia] have been raped everyday. … And they were not suffering, and they were not angry,” she said, which was completely antithetical to the anger, frustration and depression that she felt after for years after her assault.However, it was not until McCord went back to the exact place where her attacker had confronted her not long after her assault that she was able to feel at peace with what happened.“I cried for myself,” she said. It was then that she felt she had moved on.As she stood in that spot, McCord said that she thought, “I’m done. I’m done with the cycle of abuse. I’m done with the suffering. … [He does not] have power over me. I’m no longer shackled.”Another big moment in her healing process came when McCord finally admitted her assault publically, she said.“I felt relieved,” McCord said. “Everyone knew I’m damaged, I’m tainted, bad stuff has happened to me … but I’m still kicking.“It was a weight off my shoulders.”Now, McCord said she forgives her attacker because her story of healing is not about him, it is about her. She said overcoming her sexual assault has led her to better forgive and accept others in her life today.“I can’t go back. I can’t undo it.” McCord said. “Now, when something happens to me, I own it, and I practice letting it go.”The event, entitled, “It Starts with Me: Healing and Forgiveness,” was sponsored by Sponsored by the Department of Film, Television and Theatre, the GeNDer Studies Program, Lyons Hall and Duncan Hall.Tags: 90210, annalynne mccord, Dallas, It Starts With Me, Nip/Tuck, sexual assaultlast_img read more

Students react to new safety plan

first_imgSeveral students said they believe new safety measures announced Tuesday by USC President C. L. Max Nikias are improvements to on-campus safety.The new policies come after four victims sustained gunshot wounds on Oct. 31 in an on-campus shooting. The incident occurred after a suspect, not affiliated with the university, got in an argument with Geno Hall, a former Crenshaw High football star, at a Halloween party promoted by LA Hype in association with the Black Student Assembly.The new security policies include banning outside event promoters and requiring university identification to enter campus between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. The university also plans to increase surveillance and the number of security guards on the perimeter of campus.Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Jackson said student groups were consulted and briefed before the changes were announced.Several student leaders said the new changes are likely to enhance on-campus security. Mikey Geragos, Undergraduate Student Government President, said banning promoters should give student groups more oversight of their events.“I think we are all in agreement of having party promoters on campus was probably not a good idea,” Geragos said. “When you get party promoters involved … there is always the risk they could advertise to people who they shouldn’t advertise to and you don’t have control of what’s being put out there.”Molly Russell, a senior majoring in public relations, said she supports the policy for checking IDs to enter campus at night, but is not convinced that banning promoters will solve any safety issues on campus.“The ID thing is huge. I think it’s a logical step that should have been taken years ago. This area is not very safe, and that’s always going to be a challenge,” Russell said. “But I don’t think the promoter thing will really help. USC is supposed to be integrated with the community, so I think it’s weird to go back on that by not allowing them to hold events.”According to Geragos, events will still be open to individuals in the community, but USC will be checking IDs at the door.“We wanted to make sure there was a good way to monitor [events] without excluding those guests,” Geragos said.The university expects all new policies to be fully implemented by Jan. 14, 2013 — the first day of the spring semester.Arya Roshanian, a sophomore majoring in vocal arts, doubts that the Dept. of Public Safety will be able to enforce the new safety measures during times when there is a high volume of students on campus.“I’m not sure how it’s going to work with crowds,” Roshanian said. “During finals week, so many people go to campus at night to study and everything. How will they handle it when a big hoard of people is trying to get on campus?”Nikias also said that the university will increase the amount of DPS officers stationed on campus and at campus and residence hall entrances. The banning of outside event promoters will extend to the Row.Student Affairs consulted the Inter-Fraternity Council before announcing the changes. IFC President Michael Madden noted that the ban on promoters does not apply to party planners.Madden said some fraternities have already started checking student IDs at the door -— a policy IFC hopes to make mandatory for all fraternities.“That’s an idea that has been discussed and will probably be implemented next spring,” Madden said. “We are still in the process of working out the logistics of it.”Some students, such as Sheun Alli, a junior majoring in business administration, said that staying safe is mainly up to the individual.“People just need to be careful,” Sheun said. “The school can do whatever they want, but we’re still in South Central.”last_img read more