Ashley Slay is a Prevention Program Administrator at the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Center at Boston University. Learn more about what she does, how she got there, and how she is there to support students like you!
What exactly do you do at SARP (Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Center)?
“My title is the Prevention Program Administrator and, in my role, I have the opportunity to work with students primarily. I supervise six graduate students, and their actual title is Prevention Educator, but I think most people would really recognize them as graduate assistants, and in their role, they facilitate training to undergraduate students, they also help plan events/activities, and social media posts. Additionally, I collaborate with undergraduate students, so folks like you, SARP ambassadors, to [have] more events and talk about issues of sexual misconduct on campus and look at more ways to connect with the student body at large.”
Here Ashley is promoting SARP’s I Will Walk With You campaign about sexual violence awareness on BU campus.
How did you end up at SARP?
“Before SARP, I was working at the Boston Area Rape and Crisis Center. I’d been there for technically four years if we include my work there as an intern when I first moved to Boston but as a full-time staff member two and a half years. While there, I had worked two roles as full-time staff; my first job there was the community engagement specialist. And that role wasn’t honestly a good fit for me. I had primarily before coming to Boston and before that role with BARCC , was mostly working with adolescents and folks under the age of eighteen doing like academic-based worked or anything related to youth. And, I mentioned that to my supervisor that it just did not feel like a good fit, and if there was any way for me to have different roles in the organization. Fortunately for me, there was some shifts happening then. Two of my coworkers were shifting to a different position related to community outreach and left his position open doing youth work and youth organizing. So, I transitioned to that role as youth clinical outreach coordinator.”
If someone wants to get involved in this line of work, what would you recommend they do?
“So, like I said I came to sexual violence having worked with adolescents, having worked with people in academics, and what I noticed is honestly regardless of what kind of field your working in, sexual misconduct and sexual violence comes up, either you know who has experienced sexual misconduct or sexual violence or it’s something that we know it exists within rape culture, we know there are some kinds of ideas or ways we talk where these ideas can be perpetuated, and I would say there are ways to tie in your regular or things that might seem [an] auxilliary field of work that actually really overlap with it.
So, it was kind of accidental in some ways that I ended up doing sexual misconduct because it was not my direct goal. My direct goal in life is to work with young people and to look at different ways we can organize and reach different goals. In terms of coming to it in a sexual violence lens, I’d say if it is something of interest to you, see how you can integrate it into what you’re already doing. If you want to do it directly, let people who are in this field know how you have already been trying to approach this mission in the work you are already doing.”
What is your favorite thing about working at SARP?
“Working with the students. I would not be able to do this work if I did not have the opportunity to collaborate with students and to do organizing. And again, sexual violence is definitely something I’m committed to in terms of preventing and spreading awareness around the issue. But, ultimately, my goal is around community organizing, making sure folks understand the importance of ending oppression in all of its forms and when I’m working with young people and folks who are essentially between this sweet spot of 18 and 26 is you learn so much about the environment and what people are experiencing.
Because, one the world is ever-changing, often people discount experiences that young people are having. And, I think there is a real lens that young people have to help open up the world. I take advantage of being able to listen to the concerns and having an opportunity [to listen to] folks who are like “I’m studying, I’m not working” or “I am working [and] I am studying. I am doing all of these things.” But, I have an opportunity to really zone in on what the issues are. Because I have some power being able to elevate and address those issues.”
What would you want students, whether it’s at BU or any university, to know about you?
“I would say, for students to know that I want to do more than listen. I want to be an ally I want to be supportive. Often times I start with the listening and I think about action steps after that. Because, I […] almost can’t have a conversation if I don’t know if there are actionable things I can do. So, I am always looking at what can I do to help. What is something that [students] need from me or I can assistant in? I am okay with being pushed to those limits in allyship.”
*some of her responses have been shortened and edited for clarity
Ashley Slay works at SARP which is located across from Agganis Arena at 930 Commonwealth Ave. Whether you want to stop in for a cup of tea or coffee or play with Auggie (the therapy dog), she is always there to talk!