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Sexual Assault reported off-campus

On Aug. 8 2021 at approximately 4 a.m, an unknown white male approached and assaulted a 20-year old female victim. She was able to fight off the attacker and ran to an acquaintance’s house for help.

The Pittsburg Police Department found a person of interest for the case since the assault. Because this is an ongoing investigation, information about the case is limited. However, Pittsburg State University Police has offered different protective factors on what to do in these situations.

“Law enforcement officers have access to numerous resources, including advocates, medical treatment if necessary, finding a person responsible for a criminal act, and referring them to the courts for prosecution… but only if you report it,” said chief of campus police Stu Hite.

One group on campus, the Student Violence Protection (SVP) works to prevent violence before it happens. One of their main goals is to make sure that students understand what protective factors are and how to use them. They host a variety of events to educate other classmates on ways to ‘beef up’ their protective factors. 

“I wish more students had more information on violence protection as well as resources on campus. I feel like students come to college not really understanding consent and what that all entails. I would like more students to be more aware of things like that,” said co-advisor of SVP and school counseling grad student Tiffany DeMoss.

One of SVP’s main goals is to prevent violence before it happens. But, when the violence has already happened, that is when Stephanie Spitz, co-advisor of SVP and Campus Victim Advocate steps in.

“As the campus victim advocate, it is honestly my honor and privilege to work with people on campus. If they’re in a bad relationship, if they want to break up with somebody, if they’re having safety concerns or even technology concerns I see a whole lot of different items for concern that rise up. For me I can work with faculty, staff, [and] students to help them with those places,” Spitz said.

Someone who has been sexually assaulted can visit the Student Health Center to receive treatments at no cost. A registered nurse will perform a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Exam) which serves as forensic evidence. Victims have the choice to file the report or to leave it anonymous. The victim then has up to five years to file the report and send it to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to open up a case. Victims can also receive medicine that helps prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Victims can also choose to take a Plan B. Lastly, the victim will get three free therapy sessions to work past whatever they have gone through.

“My role in this situation [is] I hold her hand,” Spitz said. “I get them coffee and we chat and we make sure that every step of the way they know that if they don’t want to do part of the exam, they don’t have to.”

SVP will be hosting a variety of events in the upcoming weeks. They will have their opening meeting on Aug. 31 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Axe Library.

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