Faces of Pace: Meet Erin Doolin

Erin Doolin is one of Pace University's hidden gems. She's informed, smart. funny but most importantly - she's your go to resource for anything when it comes to sexual assault and prevention. 

Her Campus: What is your current position?

Erin Doolin: I am the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Specialist here at Pace, so I over see my own office. I was hired last April of but officially I started in June 2017! 

HC: Can you give me a brief overview of what it is you do as the Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator?  

ED: Since I am an office of one that means there are a lot of different aspects to my job. I would say the most visible aspect of my job is that I oversee the student peer educator group F.I.R.E (Fighting Ignorance and Rape through Education). I also coordinate and oversee the violence prevention education that we do on this campus; and that can include sexual assault prevention education, intimate partner violence education, healthy sex and healthy relationship education. A lot of that includes trainings for students, faculty and staff. Another aspect of my job is that I serve as a support person for students who have experienced trauma through gender based violence. I’m a confidential resource, so students can meet with me and I can be that first stop for them as they decide what, if anything they want to do next. I also consider part of my job staying on top of national trends and the news around this issue because it is ever changing. So - I’m lucky that I love reading the news, and I love reading about that. 

HC: What was your major in college?

ED: For undergrad? I went to Emerson College for undergrad and I changed my major a bunch of times. I went in as a print journalism major. Actually, I did write for Her Campus for a little while! I originally wanted to be an entertainment journalist - mostly because I was obsessed with the magazine Entertainment Weekly, and that was all I wanted to do. I ended up switching to creative writing and broadcast journalism and then I got really involved in the TV stations at Emerson, so I ended up switching my major to Visual Media Arts with a concentration in Studio TV Production. 

HC: What led you to this job?

ED: I think people really expect me to have an inspiring, bombastic story as to why I got into this – but it was complete luck. I started working in the television industry after I got out of college and it wasn’t fulfilling to me at all. I just wanted to help people, and make people feel comfortable and accepted.  After some tough decisions, I decided to go into higher Ed. I ended up working in a community college in their scholarship office and it was eye opening for me. Just seeing how badly people wanted an education and all of the ways the world was pushing back against them to get that – that was very eye opening for me. But, the way I got into this specific niche was that when I was applying to grad school I was accepted to Boston College. I started applying to work as a grad assistant… I should’ve mentioned this before but my brother was the only witness in a sexual assault case at Emerson. I didn’t realize how much that affected me, just seeing him go through that… I didn’t realize how big the problem of sexual assault was until I kind of heard the story behind what he witnessed. I couldn’t believe that this happened at my artsy school, and the student that it happened to felt unsupported by the school. In my grad assistant interview I talked about the experience, and I started working with Bystander Intervention at Boston College. It ended up eyeing the best decision I ever made.

HC: It feels like every day in the media and in an average person's day to day life that new sexual assault allegations are coming out, do you have any advice on how to cope with that?

ED: That’s a tough one, even for me. I consume this stuff 24/7 and people will come to me and ask me “Well what do you think?” and even those conversations can get exhausting. One of the most important thing I would tell students on how to cope is… it’s okay to step away from it. People feel some kind of guilt if they are not experiencing the full range of emotions if they’re not updated every time a new story comes out, and I just don’t think that is sustainable. I think you have to step away some times – definitely delete Twitter sometimes – which I have definitely done. Also, it’s okay if you see a new headline that you don’t read it. That doesn’t make you a bad activist, It just means you are going to be more sustainable in the long run and you’re not going to suffer from empathy fatigue.

HC: How do you personally cope?

ED: I mean, I deleted twitter for like a week… but TV and Film are also still my big hobbies. I’m a huge comedy person – I love The Office and 30 Rock. Those are shows I have watched probably upwards of 20 times. 

HC: Lastly, do you have any words for survivors? 

ED: I guess its cliché, but I would say – you are not alone. It can feel like such an isolating experience and you can feel like you don’t know what you’re going to do next. But the fact that you’re existing, and that you’re alive - that is resistance. There isn’t a timeline on that you need to be sticking to, to be a good survivor.