A small crowd gathered at the steps of St. John’s church on the Creighton University campus Thursday night. As the sun set, the serene sounds of a campus fountain were drown out by stories of sadness—from students affected by sexual assault.
The crowd cried and clapped with each of victims brave enough to stand up and share their stories of sexual assault. Personal stories. Painful stories. Stories that happened in dark places, with perpetrators the victims trusted and considered friends.
Each one spurred a call for the entire campus to take back the night, so no one has to worry about danger, specifically sexual assault.
“I want [victims] to know we are here for them. We support them,” said Lauren Ward, with the university’s Violence Intervention and Prevention, or VIP, Center.
Ward said so far this year, 125 survivors have contacted her staff. That averages to three each week. The number is up from previous years. She said that brings hope that more victims feel safe talking about the abuse.
Earlier this month, police say a 19 year-old Creighton student was assaulted outside Heider Hall. They connected the suspect with another incident, but have not made any arrests.