In AN October 31, 2018 story, gorman reports on a student-led panel confronting sexual assault on campus. The story demonstrates his attention to detail and his ability to cover sensitive issues with respect for his sources.

Topeka, Kansas— A student-led panel met to discuss sexual assault awareness Oct. 30 at “The Importance of Telling Your Story,” an educational program funded by a Department of Justice grant.

The panel, held in Mabee Library, featured three students of Washburn University’s psychology department and was moderated by Dr. Jericho Hockett, assistant professor of psychology.

Becca Livgren, a member of the panel, told the audience that talking about sexual assault helps victims understand that they are not alone.

“People can share with someone in counseling or a with a close confidant,” she said.

Ana Lima, another panelist, urged people to be conscientious when deciding with whom to share.

“Sharing your story makes you vulnerable and you have to understand that not everyone can process that information or be a source of support,” Lima said.

The panel was funded by a grant awarded to the university in 2015 by the Department of Justice’s Offices of Violence Against Women. Shelly Bearman, the sexual assault education and prevention coordinator said the grant has allowed for resources which have made a difference.

“Since we started integrating sexual assault awareness education into WU 101 we have seen more reporting from students,” she said. WU 101 refers to the Washburn Experience course, which the university’s website describes as a first-semester class to help students transition into college.

The 2018 Washburn University annual security report indicates there were four reported rapes and three sexual assaults on campus in 2017. There were no incidents of rape or assault on the report in 2015 and 2016.

“We can’t definitively say, but we believe this increase is due to increased awareness and the changing attitude towards sexual assault,” Bearman said.

“I’m hoping events like these touch people’s lives for the better,” Livgren said.