Ponoka native Kaitlin Lomas, seen here playing for the TRU Wolfpack, was one of the leaders behind a student-driven sexual violence awareness campaign at the Thompson Rivers University. Image: Thompson Rivers University

Ponoka university athlete taking a leadership role in battling sexual violence

Kaitlin Lomas helped spearhead a campaign using #IBelieveYou to generate awareness at B.C. university

A Ponoka product is helping to draw attention to preventing sexual violence.

Kaitlin Lomas, 22, is in her final year of eligibility playing middle on the women’s volleyball team at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in Kamloops. She recently spearheaded a public service announcement (PSA) for the local television station.

The student-driven PSA and the awareness night was on Jan. 27, when the WolfPack men’s and women’s volleyball teams played host to the University of Calgary. The PSA was in partnership with the university and the Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre (KSACC).

Both the men’s and women’s Wolfpack teams, as well as the UoC women, wore purple shirts with the hashtag #IBelieveYou on the back for the evening to show their support for the initiative. It is designed to bring attention to sexualized violence.

Last September, TRU athletics was approached by KSACC and is the first university team to address the issue. The PSA also highlighted male and athlete ‘champions’ along with Indigenous, international and LGBTQ students and communities.

The three minute long PSA, which is also on YouTube and the TRU Facebook page, includes players from both TRU volleyball squads issuing messages of support and showing what needs to be done to prevent sexual violence.

Lomas begins the PSA, noting, “Roughly two per cent of the Canadian population reported an experience of sexualized violence in 2014.” She ends it with, “To all survivors, I believe you. I’m sorry this happened to you. What can I do to help?”

To watch the PSA or learn more about the awareness campaign, search #IBelieveYou or head to www.athletics.inside.tru.ca.

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