Southwestern College issued safety whistles at the beginning of the year to aid in the protection of students. (Carly Budd/Collegian photographer)

By Korie Hawkins
Staff reporter

One in six women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Of these assaults, 60 percent are never reported to law enforcement.
Some people tell friends in hopes of secrecy, others tell family in hopes of comfort, and most keep it to themselves in fear of what may happen when the story unfolds.

There are two sides to every story, and the truth somewhere in the middle. This story is just too hard to tell, too hard to believe, to real to pretend it never happened.

That is why Southwestern College is raising awareness on sexual assault.

Sexual assault is a wide range of crimes sexually toward another person. This can be caused by force or threat. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, there are several types of sexual assault, including incest, hate crimes, partner rape, sexual assault on males, stranger rape and more. Around 73 percent of rape victims know their assailants.

Brett Sokolow, founder and president of the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management, will be on campus on Assessment Day, Sept. 22. Sokolow is a
nationally known speaker on alcohol awareness, hazing and sexual assault.

He will be doing a program entitled, “Drunk sex or date rape? Can you tell the difference?” It is based on a real rape case. Sokolow will draw from his legal experience as an expert in preventive law and risk management. The audience will hear the case and decide for themselves. He will then provide the outcome of the trial given by a real jury. It will conclude with a message of prevention for the students.

Dan Falk, dean of students said, “He will meet with faculty and staff to discuss the issue of sexual assault on campus and their role in reporting and awareness.”

The sessions are scheduled for students from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and a repeat for students from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. Faculty and staff will meet from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and another repeat from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Falk said, “We just think it’s really good information. We think it’s good for him to come in and guide student life on their policy and procedures and even help our human resource department. This is a real issue that students on campus face and we just want a real expert to help guide us. I’m hoping this raises awareness for everybody on campus.”

TaMesha Lamons, nursing freshman, tries to be aware of her surroundings in order to not become a victim. Although she said she wasn’t aware of how often sexual assault happens, Lamons always tries to walk with her friends. “I never walk alone,” she said. “If I’m alone, I make sure my friends always know where I’m going and I call them when I get there.”

She says she doesn’t feel more at risk for the situation just because she is a freshman, and carries physical protection as well, although she didn’t want to go into details.

Ashley Nixon, general studies senior, said she feels safe on campus, but she wishes there was more lighting for walking at night. She carries mace, and hasn’t been assaulted, but said the most important advice she could give was to talk to someone on campus if you have been a victim.

Anyone who has been sexually assaulted can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. Winfield has a sexual assault crisis center. It can be reached at 620-221-HELP.

Korie Hawkins is a senior majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at korie.hawkins@sckans.edu.