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Spreading the Word

Student and faculty volunteers translate flyers on domestic violence and sexual assault

Domestic violence and sexual assault don’t stop with social distancing. Neither do efforts to support victims. And, thanks to Bridgewater State University, information about those resources is available in several languages.

Staffers in the Massachusetts House of Representatives approached BSU for help translating a flyer about hotlines and restraining orders into languages commonly spoken in immigrant communities. They worried victims would not know services remain available during the pandemic.

“We were honored they asked Bridgewater State to do this,” said Dr. Wing-kai To, assistant provost for global engagement and senior international officer.

Members of BSU’s diverse community completed Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese and Khmer (the official language of Cambodia) translations.

“It shows what we can do as a campus,” said To, a Chinese native who put his own skills to use for the project. “We have good resources among faculty, staff and students who speak all these languages.”

Lyhour Sreang, an international student from Pannasastra University of Cambodia, was happy to do the Khmer translation and serve Cambodian-Americans.

“This is my responsibility as a student to do what is better for society,” said Lyhour, who also taught the language to a BSU contingent who traveled to Cambodia.

Faculty members Ryan LaBrozzi, Fernanda Ferreira, Castagna Lacet and Quoc Tran also provided translations.

Thanks to their efforts, state representatives are posting the flyers on social media and in their communities. They are also displayed in package and convenience stores.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop, praised the effort for allowing information “to be shared widely across the commonwealth.”

The BSU translators knows these resources are especially important in the COVID-19 era as people spend more time at home.

“This is very meaningful for us to help and address the issues of sexual assault and domestic violence,” To said.

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