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Public Safety Office reaches out to support sexual assault victims

Madison+College+Public+Safety+staff+including+director+John+Flannery%2C+Joe+Steffen+and+Freddie+Arthurs+hand+out+ribbons%2C+wrist+bands+and+cupcakes+on+April+8+to+help+bring+awareness+of+support+for+sexual+assault+victims+that+is+available+on+campus.
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Public Safety Office reaches out to support sexual assault victims

Madison College Public Safety staff including director John Flannery, Joe Steffen and Freddie Arthurs hand out ribbons, wrist bands and cupcakes on April 8 to help bring awareness of support for sexual assault victims that is available on campus.

Madison College Public Safety staff including director John Flannery, Joe Steffen and Freddie Arthurs hand out ribbons, wrist bands and cupcakes on April 8 to help bring awareness of support for sexual assault victims that is available on campus.

ANDREW KICMOL / CLARION

Madison College Public Safety staff including director John Flannery, Joe Steffen and Freddie Arthurs hand out ribbons, wrist bands and cupcakes on April 8 to help bring awareness of support for sexual assault victims that is available on campus.

ANDREW KICMOL / CLARION

ANDREW KICMOL / CLARION

Madison College Public Safety staff including director John Flannery, Joe Steffen and Freddie Arthurs hand out ribbons, wrist bands and cupcakes on April 8 to help bring awareness of support for sexual assault victims that is available on campus.

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Awareness of sexual assault is the priority for Madison College Public Safety this April. John Flannery “Flan” Public Safety Director and Alfred “Freddie” Arthurs Public Safety Shift Lead want the community of Madison College to feel safe, and know that they can be trusted.

“We have resources available here at the college and we can get people help,” said Flannery

Sexual assault is extremely underreported, and Public Safety thinks this needs to be addressed. Flannery pointed out that assaults are happening to men and women, and to all communities, like the LGBTQ community.

Public Safety’s goal is to provide everyone with support. First and foremost, survivors will feel safe and supported, and second, survivors will always be believed.

“A victim is never at fault, and we would like people to know that we are here to hear them out,” said Arthurs.

If you do feel comfortable to approach a Public Safety officer, they want you to feel as comfortable as possible. If you do not want to share in detail that is OK, the first step would be finding you resources that will be helpful to you and your situation.

For the month of April, Public Safety partnered with the Dean of Students and the Rape Crisis Center. On campus we have a counselor who comes directly from the Rape Crisis to help survivors. Public Safety is also handing out and wearing teal wristbands that say hope, love, and faith in support of the survivors.

When and if you do decide to report an assault, Public Safety has their own paper reports to fill out, but they are held confidentially and will not be sent to the police station. So, if you have a worry about that, all information will stay confidential and kept for records.

Arthurs also brought up how to help a friend if they decide to open up to you about an assault, and the key takeaway is to listen.

“If you have a friend and something seems a little off, hear what they have to say,” explained Arthurs. Creating that first dialogue is the goal and after that maybe they will feel more comfortable reporting the incident.

“Listen to them, believe them, then encourage them,” said Arthurs.

Flannery recognizes for those who are in different communities, for example LGBTQ or other ethnic communities, that it can be hard to tell people within your community. He wants everyone to know that Public Safety will be your support if you cannot find any.

On April 22, a booth will be set up in the cafeteria with different materials and resources. Public Safety encourages everyone to come up and talk, you do not need to share anything if you are not comfortable but they want to start gaining trust and support.

“The more awareness we bring to it, the more supportive the environment becomes,” said Flannery.

Public Safety hopes to continue this awareness for more than just the month and hopes to educate people more about safe sex. Arthurs brings up how we need to be aware that when an assault happens that it is not always the initial intent. Sometimes people think it is going one way, but then it could actually completely flip and someone could not be comfortable with what is happening anymore. 

Flannery also provided information on how sexual assault is not just about sex, it is about power and control.

“We not only need to educate people on what that means, but include bystander intervention, and educating the community about complete consent,” explained Flannery. Unless you have complete consent, you should not be doing anything.

Here at Madison College, Public Safety is working at building a strong community and strong support system for people with all backgrounds and all kinds of trauma.

“I would love to see students see Madison College as a safe space, a place where they think I will be heard and I will be believed,” said Flannery.

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