ECU students take a stand against sexual assaults

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Hundreds of ECU students gathered on campus Wednesday to walk together and take a stand against sexual assaults on campus. The event was called “Pledge Purple: Take Back the Night.”

Organizers of the event said it not only raises awareness about a major problem, but also provides support for those who need it.

“It’s sort of an empowerment event,” said Kathleen Burski, a victim’s advocate at ECU. “People holding messages of hope for survivors and basically taking a stand and saying this shouldn’t happen to us.”

Despite one in four women being a victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault, reporting of the incidents still remains low. In 2014, only 11 cases of sexual assaults were reported on and off campus at ECU, up from 8 in 2013 and 9 in 2012.

ECU Senior Grace Turner was the guest speaker at the event. She was sexually assaulted on campus back in October of 2013.

“It was a friend that I trusted and had been in class with, and I invited him to study for a test like we had done before,” Turner said.

Following the incident, Turner said she tried to pretend it hadn’t happened and didn’t want to talk about it. With the help of friends, she reported the incident to police, but ended up not filing charges against the man she said did it.

She said it was inspiring to see so many students attend the event to talk about an issue that many are uncomfortable with.

“It’s a human issue, it can happen to any type of person, and it’s extremely degrading, and those people need our support,” said Turner. “So look out for one another, look out for your loved ones.”

ECU officials said they understand why these types of crimes are under-reported, but hope events like this will help victims step forward.

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