There was no question for Nicole Finley on what her Homecoming platform would be. She always knew what she cared about – sexual violence awareness and prevention.
Partnering with WE.auburn, the University’s active bystander intervention program, Finley, senior in chemical engineering, plans to use her platform for Miss Homecoming, “Freedom With Finley,” to draw attention to an issue that is close to her heart.
Finley was nominated by Chi Omega, her sorority since freshman year. She serves as
Although some students may feel awkward when talking about sexual assault, Finley said it is a subject that must be addressed and shouldn’t be something they are ashamed to speak about.
“I think it’s just about time for us to break that barrier and begin the conversation,” Finley said.
Finley wants to see the “culture change at Auburn.” She said the volume is always lowered when speaking about sexual assault, but programs like Green Dot, an extension of WE.auburn, give students the confidence and push to address issues as such.
“I am a survivor of sexual assault,” Finley said. “I experienced it at a young age, actually by a family member – someone my parents trusted enough to leave me alone with – someone I trusted.”
Finley said it changed the way she looked at herself and who she trusted
Finley said she wants to draw attention to others that survived sexual assault that
“I understand how it changes someone who has gone through that,” Finley said. “I think one is too many to have someone go through this, and I don’t want to see one more person go through this.”
Finley said this campaign is not about her, but rather an opportunity to draw attention to something that has affected herself and many other students and faculty.
“It’s not just the times we get an email from campus that it’s happening,” Finley said. “It’s happening a lot more often than that.”
She has three days of campaigning and a theme for each: acknowledge, believe and protect. Finley and her campaign team will be
Finley acknowledged how heavy and serious her platform is and prayed to know whether Auburn was ready for the message.
“My definition of victory isn’t going to be Saturday, it is getting to have these conversations, getting to give even one person that has some experience with sexual assault the courage to tell someone or seek support,” Finley said.