INDIANAPOLIS — IUPUI students continued to call for change Wednesday after campus police reported a sexual assault took place in the stairwell of University Tower last week.
Dozens of college students stood in the rain in the school's courtyard, listening to the organizers of the protest. Some even shared how sexual assault has impacted their lives. Katie Deken was one of those people.
"I want there to be cameras. I park in the garage. I live off campus. I don't feel safe walking to my car at night. I don't feel safe walking in stairwells, elevators," Deken said.
This report of a sexual assault brings back the memory and feelings associated with the sexual assault that happened to her. Deken said she was raped while in the army.
"I definitely have residual PTSD from my experience and I'm sure plenty other people share that same feeling," Deken said.
Deken and a few others shared their stories about surviving sexual assault. There were multiple goals in sharing those stories: let others know it's okay to share your story and seek help, make campus leaders aware that this goes beyond one incident and emphasize that IUPUI's campus needs to be a safe space for students dealing with trauma.
"We want change. We want good change. We want safety. We want cameras. We want to just be safe," Noah Thomas, one of the organizers, said.
"We're here for every single student on this campus right now," Caeley Hayes, another organizer, said. "We need safety for everyone. It's not just me. It's not just my friends. I care about everyone, no matter what."
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When asked about people sharing their stories as part of the protest, Hayes and Thomas both said it was something they hoped people would do to raise more awareness about the impact of sexual assault.
"In hopes that more people would feel comfortable sharing their story and getting help because there are so many people who don't get help that truly deserve help," Hayes said.
"We hope the university is watching and knowing that we want to work with them together to make this campus safer so people don't have to suffer every single day," Thomas said.
University leaders are aware of the ongoing calls for change at IUPUI. A university spokesperson released this statement in regards to Wednesday's protest.
Any instance of sexual assault on our campus is one too many. We appreciate our students calling attention to these most recent incidents. We constantly review our safety measures and are examining what policies and equipment, including some that the students are calling for, would make the most difference.
We do want to make sure all IUPUI students are aware of the numerous resources now available through our sexual assault prevention, intervention, and response task force at https://sapir.iupui.edu/.