AU Working to Raise Sexual Assault Awareness


Katie Harrigan

AU supplies information and guidance for those in abusive situations.

Katie Harrigan

As sexual assault continues to be a rising issue on college campuses, Ashland University is working with Safe Haven to educate, raise awareness and help those facing misconduct.

Safe Haven is a rape crisis and domestic violence center that provides support to anyone who has survived a sexual violence or may be currently suffering from it. They provide a range of services including counseling, medical care and housing.

With the help of Safe Haven, AU hopes to assist those who have survived sexual abuse along with informing students of how to recognize sexual assault warning signs in order to prevent it in the future.

Vice president of Student Affairs and Title IX coordinator, Robert Pool, said the university’s partnership with Safe Haven allows anyone to receive private or group counseling with one of their advocates.

“Often times students experiencing sexual assault or other sexual misconduct want to confidentially talk with a neutral third party for advice and guidance. Safe Haven is an excellent choice,” Pool said.

Hannah Shaw is a 2015 graduate of AU and the on-campus advocate for Safe Haven. She began her involvement with Safe Haven as a sophomore in college. Shaw eventually became an intern for the organization and has now spent three years working for them.

“It is good to have something like this on a campus community to show students they do have a voice and they can use it,” Shaw said. “They have somebody that will listen, believe and support in any way that they can.”

Shaw said a common fear among survivors is not being believed. AU provides services without judgement to make the recovery and healing process easier. Everything said in a meeting is protected by confidentiality sheets and the victim has the ability to choose police involvement.

Those looking for counseling will receive “normal reactions to abnormal situations,” Shaw said. “Everything that a victim is feeling, that they’re thinking or they want to do is normal in some capacity to the situation they have endured.”

Along with supporting any student who seeks help, AU strives to prevent sexual assault through warning sign education.

Pool said the main goal in spreading awareness is to end harassment by knowing when to report a situation and urging students to step in if they take notice of suspicious behavior.

When others involve themselves and create a divide, non-consensual activity can be stopped before it happens.

“If a student, friend or simply a witness notices someone being aggressive with another, helping someone walk who is obviously intoxicated or struggling, take the initiative to intervene and help. Ask questions like, ‘are you ok?’and ‘can I help?’ cause a distraction, or simply call the authorities” Pool said. He added that you should not wait to get help or assume someone else will interfere.

In the unfortunate event where sexual assault does happen, you do not have to go though it alone with the help of AU and Safe Haven.

“We will help you get all the support you need. You have options. You are empowered to be in control of how and when AU responds in virtually every sexual assault situation,” Pool said.

To get in contact with Safe Haven, call 419-289-8085 to contact their 24/7 hotline.