Staff trained on responding to sexual assault, violence cases

Staff trained on responding to sexual assault, violence cases

(KYTX) -- There's a new resource for students at an East Texas college who are victims of sexual assault or other types of violence.

Jacksonville College has a new relationship with the Crisis Center of Anderson and Cherokee counties.

Staff say 1 in 4 girls will experience sexual assault at some point in college, and even more worrisome, those who report it.

"Less than 5 percent of those victims will ever report it," Michael Morse, Chief of Security at Jacksonville College, said.

Morse recently went to a seminar about sexual abuse on campus. "I had some speakers come in, even opened my eyes to sexual assault going on on campuses nationwide," Morse said.

He got the ball rolling to step up efforts in Jacksonville.

"They need an advocate, and they need to know that people are concerned about this and that there are people willing to help them," Morse said.

Dianna Smith has acted as the school's counselor.

"We sometimes have college students on campus that have lived through an abusive situation and are just now dealing with it, now that they're away from home and out of the situation," Smith said.

Smith has seen a lot of issues in the dating world. "They come to college, there's a lot more freedom. They don't always use good judgment in situations," Smith said.

Smith is now happy to have a partnership with the Crisis Center of Anderson and Cherokee counties-- where students will be in the care of professionals familiar with these situations.

"They think that it's their fault, why they were sexually assaulted in a lot of cases. They feel embarrassed to talk about it," Donald Hammock, Executive Director of the Crisis Center of Anderson and Cherokee counties, said.

Part of the training today gave teachers do's and don'ts when confided in. "Let them tell the story the way they see it. Don't try to interject your own ideas in it," Hammock said.


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