Two Western officers work against sexual assault on campus

Institutional

Two Missouri Western State University officers are working on a five part series on preventing the victimization of women.

Officers Martin Wood and Ryan Boyer are two overnight officers who are taking a stand against the victimization of women threw their program A.V.O.W. (Against the Victimization Of Women), which is a program started by Wood and Boyer to help keep the female population on campus safe.

Students on campus are slowly but surely learning about the program.Tara Duckworth, a MWSU student, is very excited about the series on campus.

“Any program that educates students regardless of gender about sexual assault is inspiring, and a step in the right direction,” Duckworth said.

This program is part of their bigger plan to make the MWSU campus and the community of St. Joseph aware of the problems of violence against women.

The five part series began on Oct. 12 when a small group turned out to watch a presentation conducted by three women: Detective Trenny Wilson, St. Luke’s Nurse Connie Brogan and Crissy Phillips of the YWCA. Wilson did a profile of a rapist which surprisingly enough is more likely to be a close friend rather than an unknown.

Brogan shared the contents of a Sexual Assault Nurses Exam (SANE) kit. Phillips explained the programs offered by the YWCA for victims of sexual assault, rape and victims of assault.

Martin WoodWood spoke passionately about the program he and his colleague are trying to establish.

“We are trying to enlighten, empower and educated the women on campus so they do not become victims of those three things,” Wood said about the three things Phillips spoke about.

“For every rape or sexual assault that is reported at least four more go unreported,” Wood said.

The third part of program is Enlightenment which is for women only. The program Survivors Speaking Out will be held on Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Hearnes Theater. The program will consist of three survivors who will come and share their experiences.

Vincenza Marash from the MWSU counseling department will preside over the event along with Wood and Boyer.

“The next part of the program hopefully will be scheduled for Dec. or Jan. and will be held at the Town Hall for men only,” Wood said. This part of the program is so men can know what they can do to protect the women in their lives against acts of violence.

“Our goal with this part of the program is to educate men in helping to keep our women safe,” Wood said.

The last two parts of the program are still being worked out by Wood and Boyer but they hope to complete the series by the end of the year.

Part Four would consist of getting MWSU social workers involved in a program called Advisory Advocates which would involve helping victims of Sexual assualt and rape on campus.

Part five, which will be the empowerment part of the program, will depend on funding. This will be a self defense class for women to protect themselves from becoming a victim of a sexual or physical assault.

So far Wood and Boyer seem pleased with the results, but they still know that they have yet to obtain their final goal.

“We can’t prevent everything but with education, enlightenment and empowerment we can lower the numbers,” Wood said.

To know more about this program please contact Officer Martin Wood at 816-271-4438 or mwood1@missouriwestern.edu.

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