Adrianna Branin (FLC ‘16) made headlines this past September after stopping a campus sexual assault leaving a college campus party at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she is a rising senior. For her actions, Branin received the 2019 Biden Courage Award in the city of New York.
She was leaving a party at Indiana University of Pennsylvania when she saw a very intoxicated woman who happened to have one of her breasts exposed yelling about wanting a cigarette.
She says, “I turned and immediately started to hear really vile, disgusting, sexist language coming from male voices. There were 9-ish men surrounding her at the bottom of her driveway. I saw a hand on her breast and I saw the flashes of cellphones. I kind of went into a blind rage. I ran up to them and pushed through them.”
The men were not happy with the actions she took. “When they realized that I was pulling her shirt up and trying to take her back to her house they got really angry and I started to feel grips and hands trying to stop me.”
She grabbed her and started to push her up her driveway and handed her off to one of her friends in her house. The men had started to disperse so she didn’t get a good look at their faces.
However, that didn’t stop her from doing the following, “I started to go up to any men that I could find in the street and called them monsters…If they don’t delete those photos they’re gonna go to jail and they deserved it. How dare they take advantage of a vulnerable person like that.”
The following Monday she went to her …. Coordinator in her campus and reported the incident along with her boss ….. She says, “I told those two people because I wanted them to know that even though I didn’t know this girl and I didn’t know those men that if these photos had come out I wanted them to know that they weren’t consensually taken.”
After the incident, Branin says that, “I didn’t feel heroic, amazing or that she changed the world in some sort of way. It wasn’t until I won this award that I ever thought of it as something that was out of the ordinary.”
There are things that have taught her that you need to act in an instant and she believes that anyone can make a difference.
“Understanding sexual violence in my campus, understanding the way it’s perpetrated and how you only get so many changes to stop it before it could really escalate to a fighting point has really taught me that you need to act in the moment, you can’t sit around and wait for somebody else to do it. I really believe that anybody can make a difference in those types of situations, regardless of your size, strength, age, or educational level.”