Cari Drolet, a May 2012 graduate of Albion College, was honored earlier this spring for several years of dedication to regional victims of sexual assault. Sexual Assault Services of Calhoun County (SAS) presented Drolet the Douglas Melhorn Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Volunteerism and Service at its annual meeting in April.
SAS Director Joyce Siegel noted that Drolet, beyond her work as a victim advocate with SAS, worked with Albion College’s Student Affairs division to raise awareness of assault victim resources on campus. "Your work is much needed," Siegel wrote in the award letter to Drolet. "It will be greatly appreciated by those who might otherwise suffer in silence."
"I was really surprised," said Drolet of the honor. "I really enjoyed working with them and have overwhelming amounts of respect for everyone I was working with. The other people I worked with were just phenomenal, really outstanding people."
Drolet received the award in recognition of hundreds of hours spent on call with SAS during her four years as a student at Albion. During her on-call shifts, Drolet was available throughout the day and night as part of a response team for victims of sexual abuse.
Drolet served as a "victim's advocate" providing emotional support to victims reporting a sexual assault. The job often entails dealing with distraught family members, supporting the victim during the reporting phase, helping the victim understand the legal services available, and providing a sympathetic ear.
"It's really sad sometimes to see how many obstacles some people face—sometimes an assault is just one part of a bigger problem," Drolet remarked. "Any support we can provide is valuable."
Along with her work for SAS, Drolet helped reinvigorate an on-campus program to counsel victims about campus resources. "It was important to me for students to feel that there was someone to go to, especially if they weren’t ready to make a formal report," Drolet said. "Posting names of campus advocates gives people the understanding that assault is wrong and they can do something about it with support from Albion College."