Victims’ rights discussed at symposium


Alexandra ScicchitanoOnline Editor

The Melanie Ilene Rieger Memorial Foundation Victims’ Right Symposium honored the memory of Melanie Ilene Rieger, who was murdered almost 25 years ago, said her father Samuel Rieger and a founder of The Melanie Ilene Rieger Memorial  Foundation.

The foundation was created in memory of Melanie Rieger, who was murdered by her boyfriend on May 24, 1994.

It supports the needs of domestic abuse survivors, educates the public and works with other organizations to reduce violence in communities, stated the foundation’s website.

“We hope that you will bring Melanie’s hope for the future in doing good deeds for those less fortunate,” said Samuel Rieger.

There was a panel at the symposium, that included panelists from The Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence, CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence, SCSU Violence Prevention, Victim Advocacy and Support Center, University Police Department, Office of the State Victim Advocate, Office of Victim Services New Haven Court, New Haven State’s Attorney, Women and Family Center Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Department of Correction, ESQ., and State Victim Advocate Office of the Victim Advocate, according to OwlConnect.

The panel answered questions from the audience and moderator regarding how to access services on campus, if services off-campus are free of charge, the biggest challenges of their jobs and how to support those who might be going through sexual violence.

“One thing about, especially abuse, is that they isolate people, so stay in touch if you can,” said Natasha Pierre from the Office of the Victim Advocate, answering a question about how to help friends in abusive relationships.

Bayleigh Takacs, a freshman and business administration major, said she and other members of the women’s lacrosse team were encouraged to go to the symposium by their coaches, with it being mandatory for them to come if they did not have a class.

Makenna Perry, a freshman and another member of the lacrosse team, said she thinks it was weird that she did not see the men’s no men’s baseball or men’s lacrosse sports teams.

The coaches wanted the team to go “to grow some knowledge on a domestic topic,” said Takacs.

“Most importantly,” said Samuel Rieger, “please stay safe. If you do not feel safe in your environment, get out of it as fast as possible and go to the proper authorities and or agencies, don’t wait until it’s too late.”

Photo Credit: Izzy Manzo

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