Stacey Branchin, one of the founders of the Lewiston-based It Happened to Alexa Foundation, an organization that provides financial, emotional and advocacy on behalf of victims of sexual attacks, will speak at SUNY Buffalo State’s next “Take Back the Night” event Wednesday night in the Performing Arts Center at the college’s Rockwell Hall on Elmwood Avenue.
The event, which will also feature poetry readings, dance performances and other speakers, is free to the public and will begin at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.
Branchin and her husband, Tom, founded their organization to try to offset the costs for families traveling to support their victimized children during criminal trials of their attackers. The Branchins’ daughter was raped her freshman year at Boston University 13 years ago.
The “Take Back the Night” event has been hosted at Buffalo State since 1980 and this year coincides with government designation of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. For more information, call 878-4719.
- The Buffalo News, 4/13/15
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Wednesday night, SUNY Buffalo State held a Take Back the Night event.
The evening featured poetry readings, performances and talks to help build awareness of sexual assault. The event has been hosted at the college since 1980.
Stacey Branchini, founder of the It Happened to Alexa Foundation, was the keynote speaker. Branchini's organization helps offset travel costs for families supporting a child during a criminal trial. She shared the story of her daughter's experience with sexual assault... and its aftermath.
"A man broke into her dormitory, took her at knife point and raped her several times," said Branchini. "She had to go through a horrendous month-long trial, head line news all over Boston and it was a big case. And we learned first hand how horrific it is for a victim to go through the criminal justice process. So, anything that we can do to ease that burden for other victims and also help there be fewer victims is very important to us."
- TWC News, 4/16/15
A mother spoke at Buffalo State Wednesday night as part of their “Take Back the Night” event.
She shared her powerful story about her daughter who was raped when she was a Freshman in college in Boston.
“Her first week at college a man broke into her dorm room, took her at knife point and raped her several times,” Stacey Branchini told the crowd at Buffalo State.
Branchini was with her daughter during the trial and started a foundation called “It Happened to Alexa” to help other victims get the support they need to bring their attacker to justic.
The organization pays for families to travel during a criminal trial, just like Stacey and her husband did in 1999.
“We have some victims that are as small as 3, 4, 5 years old. This crime touches every age, every ethnicity, every gender; men get raped too and its very difficult to go into a courtroom and talk about such an intimate crime,” Alexa’s mother said.
People can get more information about the foundation at their website,ithappenedtoalexa.org.
- WIVB.COM, 4/16/2015
Hundreds of people gathered at Buffalo State College Wednesday to show support for victims and survivors of sexual assault.
They are fighting to stop sex assaults from happening on college campuses. It happened to Stacey Branchini's daughter, Alexis.
"He grabbed her by the throat, held a knife to her throat and raped her in the shower room and took her back to her room and raped her again," Branchini said.
Alexis, from Lewiston, was just barely 18 then. She was a freshman at Boston University, destroyed by the trauma and trial of her rapist.
"She said, 'Do you know how hard it is to get up there and talk about such an intimate crime and hope that people believe you?' It's very, very hard," Branchini said.
Branchini has since founded the "It Happened to Alexis Foundation," which raises money to help with victim's legal fees. She spoke at Buffalo State College's Take Back the Night event.
Masked faces danced across the stage. Each had a different color, showing sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere. Paula Madrigal coordinated this event.
"When students get into college and we start talking about these issues, it's uncomfortable, it's difficult and it's very challenging," Madrigal said.
But Buffalo State administrators are now having their own conversations, about the way they may have handled a complaint of sexual violence. The school has been under investigation by the federal government, along with more than 100 other schools, nationwide.
Buff State students now wear t-shirts, promoting consent.
"I can't say enough about the steps the school has been taking to make sure we are ahead of the eight ball and not behind it," Madrigal said.
"I think that it's time we all started being proactive about violence against women, period," Branchini said.
As for the Buff State investigation, the school president says they are cooperating with the feds, but believes they are in full compliance with regulations.
- WKBW, 4/16/15
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