Avina I. Ross

Graduate Student, Virginia Commonwealth University's Sociology Graduate Program '11
B.A. The College of William and Mary '09
Sociology and Women's Studies

For the past two years, I have made victim advocacy central to my education and professional life. I have worked with RAINN as a research intern and volunteer for their online hotline. I have also interned and co-facilitated a support group for the Center for Sexual Assault Survivors. My senior capstone project at William and Mary addresses black female sexual images and spectatorship of blaxploitation film. These experiences have paved the way for my current educational and professional aspirations. I am currently attending Virginia Commonwealth University to obtain a Master's degree in Sociology. I will be focusing on sexual and domestic violence. For my thesis, I plan to address the silences in contemporary African American film and television concerning sexual and domestic violence in the African American community. Finally, I also plan to pursue a doctorate in Sociology and continue working as an advocate for survivors of sexual and domestic violence.

Wendy Jenkins
A.A., Richard Bland College of The College of William and Mary '02
B.A., The College of William and Mary
Keynote Speaker at reception for The Art of Surviving Sexual Violence
JD, The College of William and Mary '16
Interdisciplinary Major with focus on Women's Studies and Sociology

I came to the College of William and Mary after a 5 year break from education in an effort to ensure victim advocacy was an attainable lifelong dream for me. I have always been interested in awareness and prevention of sex crimes since I was gang raped from the age of 13 to 16. I have long been a supporter of increased awareness and budget for programs that help educate schools and institutions on the proper course of action once sexual assault has occurred. But more importantly I support the prevention of such crimes. I am currently working on a project to travel from school to school in Virginia as a motivational speaker to raise awareness about the seriousness of sexual assault in schools, its lifelong effect and how to prevent it. I am a walking example that sex crimes take years from your life and your worth.

Since graduating, I work for the Department of Defense at Fort Lee, Virginia as an Installation Victim Advocate assisting soldiers who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.