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Western works to prevent sexual violence

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Ensuring student safety is a priority at Western Technical College.

With domestic and sexual violence assaults happening at college campuses across the county that sense of security isn't always guaranteed.

"I've actually had a couple of friends that have gone through domestic violence and they actually came to me and I didn't know what to tell them," Matthias Haschke, a sophomore at Western said.

Haschke's friends needed someone more qualified to talk to.

That is Marcia Morales' role.

"I deal a lot with just advocacy with the students. So referring them to either a person on campus or off-campus that can help them it they are experiencing or know someone who is experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, and or stalking," Morales explained.

As a violence prevention coordinator, Morales offers safety training, education and classroom presentations.

She's someone students can confide in.

"A lot of people I know can feel alone and there is a big shame factor that goes into it too. A lot of people don't want to talk about it so I think it's really important to have somebody like me that can offer those resources and give those referrals," Morales said.

"We really found that is a valuable resource for our students. It provides some of the more emotional health and well-being of our students," Shelley McNeely, Western's Dean of Students said.

Western student said they are appreciative of the resources their college offers.

"I think it's important, especially for people my age going back to school to have someone important here to help us, as a resource, who I can go to and trust because you just never know," Amy Haefs is a non-traditional student at Western.

The college said it wants to prepared for any situation its students could face.

Western has a history of minimal sexual and domestic violence on their campus.

On average there is one sexual assault per year for the past three years.

It has three reported cases of stalking in the last 3 years and no cases of domestic violence.

Western said while it's numbers may seem low, the college wants to do everything it can to be prepared to help its students in any situation.

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