Why Mercyhurst needs a club to support survivors

Jordan Kessler, Staff Writer

I have felt very strongly about the topic of this article for a while now.

Many people I know, including myself, have been victims of sexual assault or other assaults.

It is important to talk about these things and what we can do as a school to prevent them from happening.

Having a student-run organization focused on this topic would help empower students and encourage them to use their voices.

Many students feel victimized and are afraid to come forward because they feel that their voices will not be heard.

Yes, there is a Women’s Empowerment club on campus that touches on the idea of sexual assault.

However, sexual assaults and other assaults do not just happen to women.

We talk about the ones that happen to women more often than the ones that happen to men. And we rarely talk about women!

Recently, there was an assault on campus.

This is something that a club based on this topic could help address.

Additionally, the student organization would work with staff members to provide training on what to do and who to go to when an assault is reported.

I know that you can go to the Mercyhurst University health center, tell a staff member, or the counseling center, but what is the next step?

Do you go to police?

Who do you contact?

This connects to another part of this incident that needs to be discussed: that there are nowhere near enough blue lights across campus.

The number of blue lights scattered across the campus of Mercyhurst University is very limited.

The point of them is to provide safety to the students on campus and to see one wherever you are.

Unfortunately, the student that was assaulted last week was not near a blue light and could not get help.

If a blue light were there, maybe the outcome would be different.

Not only is a club or organization based on the issue of assault recommended, it is needed.

We as a university community need to protect our many students.

Many students do not feel safe walking home alone at night, and they have a right to.

I, myself, call one of my friends to stay on the phone with me until I get where it is I need to go.

I encourage you all to do the same.

Unfortunately, a student has already tried to form this club and the idea was ultimately shot down.

I encourage this student to try once again, and I encourage you all, as students and staff of the Mercyhurst University community, to stand up with them.

Let’s fight sexual assault and other assaults together.