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Local college students listen, learn about sex assault

The topic of sexual assault was front and center at Regent University as students gathered to learn and listen from a non-profit organization.

VIRGINIA BEACH — From Congress to the campaign trail sexual assault has been a topic of discussion every day at the national level.

On Wednesday, the issue was front and center at Regent University. Dozens of students gathered in the library to listen and learn from the non-profit organization Fear 2 Freedom.

“Unfortunately, sexual assaults do go on on college campuses. We wish that they didn't, but because they do we want to make sure we are empowering students with information, awareness, [and] how to stay safe,” said Jocelyn Harrison of Fear 2 Freedom.

Harrison said 90 percent of all sexual assaults on college and university campuses are never reported.

“I think that’s a terrifying statistic, and that’s something as college students we should really work to prevent in any way that we can,” said junior Renee Hogan.

Hogan said it’s important for her and her friends to look out for one another. No victim should ever feel like they're helpless or alone.

“We aren’t blind to these things. We know that they even happen on a Christian campus, and we want to be aware and prepared to respond properly,” said Hogan.

As part of the event, students put together aftercare kits that will be given to sexual assault victims after they go to the hospital.

“When we have survivors come in, they come in with all sorts of moods: angry, upset, shock,” said Leanne Crawford, a nurse with Sentara.

Crawford said being treated for a sexual attack is one of the most difficult things anyone will ever go through. A simple kit with supplies like clothes, a teddy bear, and a note of support, can make all the difference for the victims.

“I have seen it where the patients and survivors grab onto those bags, and they hug them, and they pull out the bear, they pull out the info that is very specific to them,” said Crawford.

Fear 2 Freedom would not comment on how national politics has affected how we look at sexual assault on the local level, but they said when it comes to victims, they all need to be treated with respect.

“There shouldn’t be victim blaming, you should believe them and let the investigation take the course that it’s going to take,” said Harrison.

Fear 2 Freedom has distributed over 20,000 aftercare kits to hospitals and shelters nationwide.

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