As part of Greek Week and Sexual Assault Awareness month, speaker Jackie Mortillaro will share her story as a survivor 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.
“In my speeches, I talk about how to rebuild your life from your lowest point,” Mortillaro said. “You’re not alone with the struggles you face, even if they aren’t the same struggles everyone else has. There are people out there who can sympathize and empathize with the evils and struggles you face.”
Mortillaro said her life was changed in one night.
“I masked the pain in many ways. I had to rebuild my life from that point…with my story you get to see that there is a silver lining even when it doesn’t seem like it’s in reach,” she said.
In the past, Mortillaro’s story has encouraged others to open up about their personal battles.
“It’s kind of one of those things where if you just come and listen for five minutes, I promise you’ll get something out of it,” she said. “I have heard that it is impactful and inspiring to other people.”
She said the first time she spoke publicly was absolutely nerve-racking.
“I was so nervous because my parents were in the audience and they had to relive everything all over again,” she said. “I’ve accepted that this has happened, but for them it was very fresh. Now every time I speak I find that it’s smooth sailing after you start. You have to get over the hump.”
Mortillaro also stressed the fact that on college campuses, one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted.
“Unfortunately, it’s the sad truth,” she said. “It’s speaking events such as this that raise awareness and prevention…we need the knowledge to be able to make sound decisions.”
Mortillaro graduated from Xavier University in 2015 with a criminal justice degree. After attending a police academy in Los Angeles, she realized she wanted to take a different path in life.
Now currently working for Cigna Group Insurance and Pure Barre, a full-body workout boutique, Mortillaro makes time to travel and speak at different institutions about her experience.
Mortillaro said she sees herself continuing with motivational and public speaking with plans to also write a book about her experiences.
Loren Dickson can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]