Many at K-State work to prevent, raise awareness of sexual assault

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but many K-State faculty
members and students work every day to help prevent rape and help rape
victims.

In 2012, the Riley County Police Department reported 32 sexual
assault cases prosecuted in Manhattan — 31 committed and 1 attempted.
RCPD also reported 11 sexual battery cases prosecuted. In
2011, the K-State Police Department reported 12 sexual, forcible crimes committed and
prosecuted. 2012 reports are unavailable at this time.

Donna
Potts, professor of English, said she thinks sexual assault awareness
should begin with relations with the victims. The majority
of rapes are acquaintance rapes where the victim knows the violator, Potts said.

“The trauma of rape continues for years after the rape has been
committed,” Potts said. “Friends and family of rape victims should
remember how important it is to take the victims’ stories seriously.”

Mary
Todd, director of the K-State Women’s Center, said she helps provide assistance to
all students who are dealing with traumatic experiences. Through the Women’s Center, students can seek a professional
opinion about what to do in a sexual assault situation.

On a preventative level, the Women’s Center gives multiple presentations
on campus and in the Manhattan community to educate students and citizens about
the legality of consent for sexual activity.

The Women’s Center
also sponsors the student organization Wildcats Against Rape, also known as
W.A.R. The group helps educate fellow students about sexual assault.

According
to the K-State Women’s Center website, sexual assault affects men in
three ways: through the pain their loved ones endure, as victims themselves, and as members of a
culture that allows such violence to occur. The “About Us” page states that 2 in 10 men will be exploited sexually in their
lifetime.

Earlier this month, K-State hosted an event called Take Back
the Night to raise awareness of sexual assault and to support survivors. According to the Take Back the Night Foundation, strives to end domestic violence and sexual assault
in all of its forms. According to their website
they “serve to create safe communities and respectful relationships
through awareness events and initiatives.” Universities and women’s
centers around the country have sponsored similar events.

Todd spoke at the event and said she was glad that so many organizations, like K-State’s Delta chapter of Gamma Rho Lambda, the LGBT Resource Center, the women’s studies department and K-State Counseling Services, put together the annual Take Back the Night event.

“We admire the students from many clubs who work every year to put this event on,” she said.

Kaitlyn
Dechant, senior in psychology, works to integrate nonviolence into her
life and at K-State. She has directed several programs to educate students about
sexual assault and rape within the K-State community.

“If everyone
were to practice living in nonviolent ways, they would contribute to
changing the culture, even if it is just here on campus,” Dechant said.

The K-State Police Department also provides a service called “Wildcat Walk,” which students can use to make sure that they do not walk alone at night while on
campus by calling 395-SAFE (7233). An escort will accompany the concerned student to any location on campus and up to two blocks off campus.

“I think that K-State works the best that it can to prevent and bring awareness to sexual assault,” Dechant said.

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