HESSTON — The statistics are depressing and scary: one in two women will be molested in their lifetime, and one in six men, according to numbers given by Jessica Taylor with the Harvey County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Task Force and Safe House.
“In higher education, those chances go up,” Taylor said.
That is sobering, and something the task force wants to do something about. The group is seeking grant funds to have a presence on area college campuses. That presence will begin this fall at Hesston College.
The college will open up an office, for a few hours each Friday, for use by the Harvey County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Task Force and Safe House. The hope is students will have a safe place to go in the event it is needed.
“We know that Hesston College is a safe place, but one instance is too many. It is a scar that is worn throughout life,” said Howard Keim, president of Hesston College.
The office will be located in the Friesen Center, open two hours each Friday.
“It will be easy to access, and it will be placed where students may not be noticed going in,” Keim said.
Domestic violence and sexual assault are issues the college takes seriously, through training on campus.
Keim said in the past much of that training has come to the college through cooperation with the task force and safe house.
“We do extensive training for our resident directors, our faculty, staff, coaches and ever who has contact with students,” Keim said. “Having the safe house provide another place for students or anyone on our campus who has an experience in this area is important.”