Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center comes to WSU


Mosaic Griffin thinks more Wichita State students would use the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center’s services if it had an office closer to campus than its downtown location.

“Downtown can be intimidating to a person,” said Griffin, a junior double-majoring in sociology and political science. “Not everyone wants to be seen as a victim.”

That changed when WASAC Campus Outreach Advocate Alexis Crowther began working in Room 301 in Lindquist Hall.

“I’m an advocate for survivors,” she said.

Crowther said she offers crisis counseling and refers survivors to counselors for therapy and other needed resources. Her office hours are 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and 1-4 p.m. Wednesdays.

She has an undergraduate degree in criminology from the University of Kansas and a masters degree in criminal justice from WSU.

WSU Title IX Coordinator Natasha Stephens said she began working toward having an advocate on campus more than a year ago. She began her coordinator duties two years ago.

“It’s a collaboration between WASAC and WSU to support survivors of sexual violence and sexual assault,” she said. “It’s a need. It’s providing a service for the campus community.”

Stephens said the confidential services are for everyone – students, faculty and staff.

“We won’t deter,” she said. “I want to make sure we provide as many resources as possible.”

Stephens said available transportation and its expense and the time to travel to downtown Wichita can be a deterrent to some survivors getting help. A WASAC staff member on campus eliminates obstacles anyone might have to access the services they need.

She said easily, readily obtainable resources do more than help someone who has been assaulted.

“We’re trying to be proactive — that’s one of the goals,” Stephens said. “The more information we can provide, the better.”

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center website indicates that one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college and more than 90 percent of sexual assault survivors on college campuses do not report the assault.

The National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence’s website says sexual violence is mostly a crime of power and control. It also reports that 77 percent of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows.

Stephens said she expects more people to come forward and tell their story with an advocate on campus.

Griffin also does.

“It makes it a lot easier to come here instead of going all the way downtown,” she said.