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MSSU Students Bring Light to Sexual Assault - KOAM TV 7

MSSU Students Bring Light to Sexual Assault

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

April is sexual assault awareness month. According to notalone.gov, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while they're in college. Students at Missouri Southern were bringing awareness to those numbers, tonight.

The message MSSU students want to send to sexual assault victims, that they’re never alone.

“It’s not okay to stay silent about it and just for people to feel safe when something like this happens to them and know that they have places to turn,” says Kierstyn Hillman, a MSSU student and president of Alpha Sigma Alpha.

Her sorority partners with the Lafayette House to "take back the night," and bring awareness to the issue. They hold a candle light vigil and encourage community members to share their experiences.

“It’s happening and it’s happening everywhere, especially our college campuses so I really want people to step up and talk about these things so more people will feel comfortable about it,” says Hillman.

Most sexual assaults victims are ages 18 to 24, a typical college aged student. Although it’s not often discussed, Missouri Southern students hope to start the conversation. And doing that can be very helpful.

“Somebody took something away from you and now you're taking that power back away from them and you're able to say this is what happened to me, I’m not ashamed it isn't my fault and I’m going to talk about it with others and hopefully empower them the same way,” says Amy Lane with the Lafayette House.

Statistics show that the majority of sexual assault incidents are against women, but some of the men at the event say they could play an important role in helping to advocate.

“The way that we talk about women, whether that is with your friends when there aren’t any women present and how we talk about them when they are present, talking about them in a very respectable manner,” says student Raymond Viel.

As the flames flicker tonight, students bring light to sexual assault.

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