Vikki Lampton

 To help combat sexual violence at UMKC, the Women’s Center hosted a booth in observance of RAINN Day on Sept. 26. The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) sponsors this annual event to raise awareness about sexual assault problems on college campuses. This year marked its 10th anniversary. Students and volunteers nationwide gathered to provide information and support.

“Part of our mission is to prevent sexual violence, and prevent violence against women,” said Katie Birkenfield, graduate student volunteer with the Women’s Center. “We are out here having people sign umbrellas to pledge that they are against sexual violence.”

According to the RAINN website, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted every two minutes. Approximately 54 percent of these sexual assaults go unreported, and 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. College students face the highest risk for sexual assault, especially by their peers. Women are not the only victims of sexual violence, with men comprising 10 percent of total reported incidents.

“We want to get the message out that violence against women isn’t okay, that any violence isn’t okay,” Birkenfield said.

More information is available in the Women’s Center.  The center also encourages students who may be experiencing sexual violence to contact the confidential 24-hour National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.