University of Arkansas student launches campaign for better resources for sexual assault victims | Arkansas Blog

University of Arkansas student launches campaign for better resources for sexual assault victims

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University of Arkansas-Fayetteville student Gillian Gullett
is launching an effort this month to encourage reporting of sexual assaults on campus and reform the resources available to victims at UA. Here's the Facebook page for the campaign, called "Don't Keep it Under Cover" (#DontKeepItUnderCover).

Gullett tells her own story and details institutional problems with the university's approach to sexual assault in a long post on the Facebook page on April 1. A sample:

Don’t Keep It Under Cover is a campaign that aims to end the stigma against speaking out. It also intends to break down the barriers that exist once you do. And unfortunately, they’re more than just cultural obstacles. They’re institutional. And they don’t just exist at the University of Arkansas, they exist everywhere. So regardless of where you go to school, or if you go to school, I encourage you to embrace your voice or be someone who listens. I ask that you help me tear down the soundproof walls. I ask that you help me draw maps to stages, and then build more. 
Gullett notes a paltry number of staff and officials and lack of resources devoted to helping sexual assault victims and ensuring student safety on campus and an unclear and confusing process for reporting sexual assault. She argues that "the University of Arkansas has made it ... structurally intimidating and seemingly impossible to report sexual assault." She notes that just five rapes and two accounts of "fondling" were reported in 2016. That suggests significant numbers of assaults go unreported, she argues, given the potential frequency of incidents.

For the month of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Gullett will be carrying a sheet, a symbolic cover, with her on campus:

I invite you to join me and carry your cover with you for the day, wherever you may be. If you OR someone you know has been sexually assaulted, join me in displaying the impact as more than a repeated, desensitized statistic. Join me in showing your university this matters. Join me in showing the survivors who remain silent that the stigma against speaking out is being torn down, that we care, and that we are here to support them no matter how they choose to respond and heal.
More at the campaign's Facebook page.



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