If you have read a blog by me before, you might know that I believe guest speakers are easily one of the most impactful parts of my course in Psychology and Criminology.
I have had the opportunity to hear from so many people during my course all the way from hacker Lauri Love to specialists who created some of the subjects I got to study. All of them were amazing and I feel so lucky to have heard from them all, but there is one guest speaker whose impact on me was completely unmatched: Sophia Cooke.
I had the pleasure of meeting Sophia as part of my Trials and Errors module in the second year when she shared her story with us. Sophia spoke so openly about what she had faced within her life and how she had overcome so many attempts made to silence her and the lack of justice she had received for violence she had previously been victim of. I, like my peers, sat in silence listening to her detailing what she had been through not even a decade ago, looking at the way she was vilified within the media for surviving domestic abuse.
Her story resonated with me and I remember watching my peers leave the lecture theatre, still stunned in silence. But I couldn’t move. I stayed sat in my seat. Once everyone had left, I had the opportunity to speak to her myself, I thanked her for sharing her story so boldly in front of so many strangers and told her how much it had meant to me that she had finely made some kind of peace with her past and spoke out, no matter how many times she was silenced, no matter how many times she wasn’t believed and no matter what it took she persevered.
She shared her own traumas to educate us, putting herself through what I can only imagine to be an emotionally difficult place to raise awareness of domestic abuse and how often cases just like hers are not taken seriously.
Sophia Cooke reflected the woman I wish I had been, she showed me her strength and her courage so openly despite being met with obstacles and adversity every step of the way. That day, I learnt what it truly meant to be a survivor, how there are no benchmarks or quotas for recovery, no timeframe on healing and that your past does not make you 'less than' or weak.
She told me what I needed so desperately to hear, putting my life into a brand new perspective that I thought was unobtainable, and I credit her for helping me discover the strength of my voice, what it meant to be heard and showing me the fiercely outspoken woman I am trying to become.
If you're interested in studying Psychology with Criminology at ARU, why not come along to a virtual Open Day?