Washburn students learn to prevent sexual assault

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Washburn University requires students to watch a presentation that teaches them how to be active bystanders when they see someone else in danger of sexual assault. One student who survived an attack said the requirement is a good thing.

Jack Siebert went to meet someone at a hotel, but then started having second thoughts.

“I’m not really comfortable with what’s going on, I want to get out of here,” Siebert told the person he was meeting. “And I kept trying to explain that, to the person and they wouldn’t listen.”

Now he’s sharing his story as a way to help other students who have experienced sexual aggression.

“Sure it hurts me a lot to share these experiences, but in the end if it helps just one person on my campus that’s all that matters,” he said.

Jacie Harris, a peer educator who facilitates Washburn’s presentations on sexual assault, said they can help victims feel more comfortable sharing their stories.

“After having these discussions and teaching people how to be bystanders as well as sexual assault prevention type lectures, I feel like people are more likely to come forward and say hey I was sexually assaulted and start to get help for that issue,” Harris said.

Siebert agrees the presentations both help prevent sexual assaults and aid victims in their recovery.

“Being able to help victims feel more comfortable, because that’s not a taboo topic anymore,” he said. “And it’s going to make bystanders more effective, because they’ll be able to recognize the warning signs.”

Siebert is running for student body president, and says he’ll make the issue of sexual assault a key part of his platform.

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