By Dannielle Blunt
In 2014, there were six reported sexual assaults on campus.
“I am hopeful that that great jump is because we are better educating students and encouraging them to seek the resources we have available, so more are being reported, not necessarily more are happening,” Director of Security Steve Leonard said.
The security office denied to give The Franklin individual sexual assault incident reports.
Franklin isn’t alone in increasing sexual assault numbers.
Indiana ranks second nationwide in sexual assault of girls under eighteen years old, according to the The Department of Child Services and Domestic Violence Network.
Statewide, there have been nearly 3,600 reports of sexual abuse this year.
In September, Greg Zoeller, Indiana Attorney General, announced Indiana was forming a coalition to end sexual assault.
“This new entity’s mission is to educate and prevent instances of sexual assault and to ensure Indiana has a strong support network for victims of sexual assault and similar crimes,” Zoeller said in a press release posted on the Indiana state website.
In response to state initiatives, the college rolled out a sexual assault task force a few weeks ago.
The purpose of the newly-formed group is in charge of reviewing the college’s sexual assault education programs and the services available to those effected by sexual assault.
The group is made up of eight members, including Franklin College president Thomas Minar, student congress president Erika Brock, vice president and dean of students Ellis Hall and a few trustees.
Brock said she hopes to use it as a learning opportunity to impact students.
An email about the program to students, faculty and staff said the task force formed because of the “turbulent time” college campuses are facing internationally in regards to sexual assault.
Before the semester began, incoming Franklin College students had to complete a module on sexual assault.
John Shafer, director of the counseling center, said he believes the modules are helpful.
“They really show the reality of sexual assault,” Shafer said.
Shafer said he has had students tell him they become much more careful with their actions after completing the module.
Shafer said it’s important for students to know who to report a case a sexual assault to.
“Professors are not trained counselors,” Shafer said. “Sara Kinder and I are full-time counselors at the college. We have experience working with the students for a variety of issues, including sexual assault, sexual misconduct and rape. We know exactly what to do.”
The college’s counseling center services are free.
If an incident happens on the weekend or late at night, security will contact either John Shafer or Sara Kinder to respond.