United Way helps bring sexual assault awareness to campus
Staff in the Freshman-Sophomore Advising Center help students with all kinds of academic issues. Whether it's choosing the right class, informing them of their academic responsibility or making them aware of campus resources, they often are the first to help students with their questions. Thanks to the United Way and GaDuGi Safe Center, the Freshman-Sophomore Advising Center is ready to help students with a far more serious problem: sexual violence.
Tracy Williams, sexual violence outreach coordinator with the GaDuGi Safe Center spoke to staff of the office at the beginning of the semester to make them aware of the center and to train them on how to respond to a student who discloses to them that she is a victim of sexual violence.
College women are at a high risk of sexual violence, Williams said. And counselors at the center may be the first people a victim tells about her experience. In her presentation, Williams spoke about sexual assault services and how first responders to violence can react in a nonjudgmental way.
"We were really pleased to learn about them. We're going to have students who need to know about these services," said Kathy Mason, academic adviser in the Freshman-Sophomore Advising Center.
GaDuGi representatives urged the advisers to encourage students who are victims of sexual assault to "take the next step" and contact the safe center, Mason said.
The GaDuGi Safe Center, a United Way beneficiary, provides confidential services to female and male victims of sexual assault 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information is available at www.gadugisafecenter.org.
The United Way of Douglas County and KU campaigns will continue through the end of the year. The KU campaign goal is $220,000, and the Douglas County campaign goal is $1,560,000. More information can be found at www.unitedwaydgco.org, and donations can be made online.
Williams said working with the KU community to spread the word about GaDuGi Safe Center is worthwhile.
"I think it pays off. People give us good feedback. I always say 'if one person listens to you, it's successful.'"