Over 100 students attended “Breaking the Silence: Sexual Harassment,” a panel hosted by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies Wednesday. 

“This panel is in response to the growing culture in the United States where the dialogue is more open about sexual assault, ” said Kailah Glock, graduate assistant for the center. “All these things with celebrities, the Weinstein case, president’s statements, all these made it much more of a dialogue.”

The panel was led by speakers Melissa Holloway, Ball State’s Deputy General Counsel, and Allison Wynbissinger, victim advocate for the Office of Victim Services. It covered several topics from what constitutes sexual harassment to what the university does to prevent sexual harassment and assist victims. 

If you have been sexual harassed, you can contact the Office of Victim Services at 765-285-7844 or at ovs.bsu.edu

“Know that the university will support you in what decision you make about what to do if you are sexually harassed,” Holloway said. “The primary goal is to help the victim heal.”

Wynbissinger said the university offered victims a multitude of confidential and non-confidential resources. She listed the Office of Victim Services as a confidential source and the University Police Department as a non-confidential source.

However, according to the Clery Act, universities must report sexual assaults in a timely manner to the community. The reports, however, are vague and don’t include names.

The panel provided students with Ball State sexual harassment handouts. Multiple resources were listed for students if they experience, witness or know a friend who was sexually harassed.

“As a potential friend to a victim, your role as a support person is to support the victim as they need it,” Wynbissinger said. “And not try to take control. The reality is that person is the expert on their life.”

Several students attended the panel for extra credit, while others attended to fulfill a Greek Life requirement.

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“There were a lot of brothers here from a certain fraternity here. I saw all of them paying attention and taking it seriously,” said Genevieve George, junior psychology major and intern at the Center for Peace & Conflict Studies. “A lot of students have wanted the school to do something. I think this panel will reassure them.”

Contact Liz Rieth with comments at ejrieth@bsu.edu or on Twitter at @liz_rieth.