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MSU Students to Raise Awareness of Sexual Abuse with ‘Take Back the Night’

Statistics show that 1 in 4 women will be sexually abused while in college. Missouri State students will help raise awareness about sexual abuse Tuesday at the event “Take Back the Night.” KSMU’s Samuel Crowe has this report.

Take Back the Night is designed as a forum for conversation and action regarding sexual abuse and violence on college campuses. The event is sponsored by VOX, or Voices for Planned Parenthood at Missouri State. VOX president Amanda Henemyre says Take Back the Night will educate college students on what constitutes sexual abuse and rape.

“On college campuses, a lot of people will say that a girl is asking for it because of how she dresses, where she is, she’s walking alone, she’s drinking, things like that. I think a lot of people don’t understand what rape is, and they think that the girls who are raped or the boys who are raped are asking for it or they’re responsible for it. But they’re actually not,” Henemyre said.

Henemyre says many common misconceptions exist about sexual abuse. One myth is that only females are the victims of rape. She says often times males are victims too, but are less likely to report it.

“Men are generally pretty ashamed to admit they were raped, or don’t think they can be raped. I think it is an issue though, and Take Back the Night focuses on sexual assault in general, so against men and women,” Henemyre said.

Tammarie Hamilton is a Prevention Specialist with the Community Partnership of the Ozarks. She says college aged women are at the greatest risk for sexual assault, a majority of the time at the expense of someone they’re already close to.

“Women between the ages of 16 and 24, which is usually your college age students, experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence. Six of 10 acquaintance rapes on college campuses occur in casual and steady dating relationships. So even though we talk about stranger danger and being safe when they are walking around campus, it’s usually somebody they are dating or in a relationship with,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton is part of the local Violence Free Campuses Committee, which works to reach out to victims of sexual assault on college campuses. They’ve put together a brochure called “Facts on Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault,” which contains statistics as well as local resources for college age abuse victims. The brochure is available at the office of the Community Partnership of the Ozarkson Jefferson Avenue downtown.

“It’s got listings of not only local hospitals, where if they need help, 24 hour hotline numbers, but it also lists the counseling services for each of the campuses, as well as the safety and security numbers at the campuses so we can try and encourage them to seek help. Even if they feel like they don’t want to go through the police, they still could have access to counselors and safety when needed,” Hamilton said.

The event will feature speakers from MSU’scampus security and its criminology department, as well as a statistics reading, survivor speakout, candlelight vigil and a campus rally. The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Bear Paw on MSU’s campus. For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.

More information about Tuesday’s event can be found by contacting VOX at mostatevox [at] gmail [dot] com.