Originally published in The Berkeley Beacon on April 12, 2018 - By Dylan Rossiter
During Jillian Gearin’s junior year, a discussion about Colin Kaepernick and other sports figures using their platforms to promote social causes came up in her sports reporting class. The conversation got the infielder thinking about what Emerson’s softball team could do to help the college community.
“I got the idea in my sports reporting class when we were talking about NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem and athletes using their platforms,” Gearin said. “I realized that even though we’re D3, and a small school we still have a platform and sexual assault is a really big problem on campuses, so we decided to tackle that one.”
On Friday, Gearin, her softball teammates, and the Student-Athlete Advisory Council are teaming up for the second annual sexual assault awareness game to help end the stigma surrounding sexual assault.
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 11.2 percent of college students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation during their education career. Additionally, 4.2 percent of students reported experiencing stalking since entering college.
The doubleheader against Smith College, first pitch at 3 p.m., will feature Shake Shack catering and cookies for students. Attendees are encouraged to donate towards the cause. Proceeds raised will go to RAINN.
RAINN’s website states it is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. The nonprofit helps survivors and their loved ones, change attitudes and beliefs surrounding sexual violence, and create more opportunities for justice.
Freshman pitcher Neely Eddleston said she is excited to participate in her first awareness game.
“It’s really exciting. I’ve never done a game like this where we’ve raised money. I’m excited to see the turnout and to see how much money we actually raised,” Eddleston said. “I know they did it last year and it was a huge success and I’m hoping this year it’s an even bigger success.”
As of 10 a.m. Thursday, event donations totaled $1,570. Gearin said they hope to raise at least $2,500 this year, $1,500 more than last year’s total.
“It’s just our way to make a difference in the world and remember that there is a life outside of softball,” said Gearin. “We just want people to come, donate, and really just start the conversation about ending the stigma.”