Sexual assault victim to speak at SIUC - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Sexual assault victim to speak at SIUC

(Source: SIUC) (Source: SIUC)

A nationally recognized women's advocate and sexual assault victim will share her story Wednesday, September 9 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale at 7:00 p.m. in Student Center Ballrooms.

Speaker, entrepreneur mother of four, and former SIUC student Sheri Poe who was sexually assaulted at 19-years-old, will recount her story in the presentation "A Journey Back from Sexual Assault."

Poe hasn't returned to campus since the 1970's -- She was sexually assaulted when she hitchhiked with a stranger and was held at gunpoint. Poe is expected to answer questions from the audience through text messages and note cards.

Since 2014, several sexual assaults have been reported on SIUC's campus, even prompting student leaders to form a task force to tackle the issue.

The University has taken steps to keep its students safe including safe transportation options at night, the addition of several lighted paths, emergency call boxes are scattered throughout campus, free self-defense classes and more.

“We appreciate this opportunity to increase awareness about SIU’s ongoing campus safety initiatives," Linda McCabe Smith said in a news release, the associate chancellor for institutional diversity. "Sheri Poe’s visit provides another campus community effort to reinforce our priority of eradicating sexual assault and it also reminds us that everyone has a role to play."

Poe said being sexually assaulted often leads people down a difficult path.

“As I began to speak out, I regained control of my life,” Poe said in a news release. “As I talk, I have people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and even older come up to me and say they were assaulted years ago and have never told one single person. My message of speaking up is very important, not just for me but for hundreds and hundreds of women.” 

Sponsors for Poe’s visit to SIU include the Department of Public Safety, the Office of the Associate Chancellor for Institutional Diversity, Student Affairs, the Student Center and Counseling and Psychological Services.

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