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Pitt State Hires Full Time Campus Victim Advocate - KOAM TV 7

Pitt State Hires Full Time Campus Victim Advocate

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

According to a study out of the CDC, 19-percent of undergraduate women experienced sexual assault in college. Pittsburg State University now has a full-time advocate on campus to help victims.
Pitt State students continue to adjust 2 weeks into the school year.

For freshman, “it’s definitely scary not going to lie, when I lived in my town I was surrounded by people I knew on a daily basis and I trusted and I’d see those familiar faces and then moving out here starting college it’s a whole new journey,” says student Sierra Reinhart.
And as students get used to campus life, so does Ali Smith. She is the new full time campus victim advocate located in the student center to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
“It’s a problem everywhere and of course we are serving victims and I would say even 1 is too many,” says Smith.
Studies show the first 6 weeks of school, when students may be partying and looking to make new friends, are a "red zone" for sexual assaults.
“You're kind of in a new environment there’s a lot of people and things to be doing so maybe you're not as aware of your surroundings or what your safe area sort of is, so people just getting used to what they should and shouldn't be doing,” says senior Megan Thurston.
PSU has partnered with Safe House for the past 5 years. Last academic school year they served 80 students, an increase from the year before. This year they wanted to bring services directly to students on campus.
“It’s easier for them to get services that they need rather than okay you have to call this number or you have to drive across town,” says Smith.
Smith says she's noticed as more services become available, more people feel comfortable enough to seek help. While some students say they've never felt uncomfortable on campus, they're glad to know there are resources available.
Smith advises the campus group Students for Violence Prevention, which speaks to freshman classes to ensure they know what to do in dangerous situations and where to go on for help.

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