Scratching beyond the surface: How Lasell students are building a trauma-informed community

By Joanna Lopez – 1851 Contributor

Content Warning: Topics featured in this story may be sensitive to some readers. Discretion is advised.

(L-R) Seniors Haley Sherman, Jaclyn Hough, Mya Maxim, Julia Resener, and Sydney Carter wait in the Science and Technology Center on Valentine’s Day with scratch-off hearts and sweet-and-sour candies at the Valentine’s Day Blitz 2022 event. Photo by Joanna Lopez

Valentine’s Day is a widely recognized holiday that ranges in sentiment and meaning for people all across the world. To some, it is a day to appreciate your closest loved ones and celebrate romance. To others, Valentine’s Day is a holiday invented by large corporate companies to capitalize on a clear opportunity.

Assistant Professor Of Legal Studies Karin Raye’s Advanced Sexual Violence Directed Study students and Lasell’s Title IX interns chose to use this Valentine’s Day as a chance to emphasize the impact this holiday can have on survivors of sexual and domestic violence, and highlight how the campus community can contribute to promoting healthy relationships.

An on-campus LasellLoveBetter event ran from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, February 14th in the Science and Technology Center, where students gathered to create messages to survivors on scratch-off hearts. Students also dropped by to take photos with friends and significant others and of course, the holiday sweets too.

Student-written messages on scratch-off hearts from the Valentine’s Day Blitz 2022 event. Photo by Joanna Lopez

Title IX is a federal statute enacted in 1972 that prohibits sex-based discrimination, sexual violence and all forms of sexual misconduct, gender-based harassment, and discriminatory sex stereotyping. In April, 2011, the Obama administration began to highlight and focus on the needs of survivors of sexual misconduct on college campuses by lending importance guidance to universities and colleges with respect to their policies, programs and interventions.

Professor Raye’s classes and the Title IX interns create programing and events designed to elevate survivors’ voices on campus and emphasize the importance of standing up and speaking out against domestic and sexual violence.

#LasellLoveBetter sheds light on how to identify healthy characteristics of love and friendship, encouraging our peers to look beyond the surface of relationship idealism and dig deeper into what creates a healthy environment.

Senior psychology and criminal justice major and Title IX intern Haley Sherman believes the media can be harmful for survivors of sexual or domestic violence, “There is a lot about healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors, love-bombing, and it can be a really hard day for survivors of intimate partner violence because it can bring up a lot of trauma. So, we wanted to do something on our campus that raises awareness about what it means to be in a healthy relationship while still making it fun for students.”

Professor Raye’s classes and the Title IX interns hold several educational events and campaigns on campus throughout the year to raise student awareness about sexual misconduct and establishing a healthy, trauma-informed, and safe environment for the community.

Lasell recently appointed Maryrose Anthes as Director of Compliance and Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator.

For more information on domestic and sexual violence issues, visit for additional information.

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