North Texas Daily

Students petition for rape victim services

Students petition for rape victim services

Students petition for rape victim services
November 04
08:35 2013

Mollie Jamison / Staff Writer

Six UNT students started an online petition this semester asking the UNT Health and Wellness Center to provide services to sexual assault and rape victims.

The petition is part of a community activism project for an intro to women’s studies class taught by adjunct professor Kristen Alder.

“There’s not really any kind of crisis center on campus,” said group leader Melina Padron, a psychology freshman. “I know that there are counselors you can talk to if you have been assaulted and there is a hospital within 10 minutes, but the chances of getting transportation at that point in time is very small. With an assault victim it’s important that they get the help they need as soon as possible.”

The change.org online petition currently has more than 530 signatures. Padron said there is no cap for the signatures.

“We’re trying to spread the petition to just kind of back our cause and show the university that this is something that students care about, it’s not just a certain group of people,” Padron said. “It is picking up flame. That should show that both women and men and past and present students do care about the safety of our current students.”

Another member of the group, Lisa Kramer said she would like to continue working on this project even when the class work is done.

“This project means a lot to me because it hits close to home,” said Kramer, a hospitality management freshman. “I find it shocking that our campus does not have a rape crisis center. I think that it is important considering that we are a big school in a college-based town.”

Padron said the reason that UNT doesn’t already treat rape victims is probably because of money.

“With the rape kits I know that there is a lot of training the nurses have to go through and it is costly but when it comes to the safety of students it’s kind of like, ‘are you really willing not to go that extra mile?’” Padron said.

Patron said the supplies they are asking the Health and Wellness Center to carry are used in hospitals to clean the victim and swap for DNA of the assailant.

Buddy Price, manager of UNT’s news service, said UNT like all other colleges and universities in the state, doesn’t provide evidence collection services or rape kits.

Price said rape kit exams must be administered by a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) nurse. The nurse collects physical evidence that is used later in a criminal case.

“Right now there are only 5 SANE nurses in the area on call to cover 3 hospitals in Denton County,” Price said. “SANE nurses offer more thorough exams, they are trained to provide effective courtroom testimony, to collect evidence and know how to properly follow the evidence chain of custody.”

Price said that UNT’s primary concern for survivors is to address medical issues related to physical injury, sexually transmitted infections and/or pregnancy.

He said services for those issues are available to students at the Health and Wellness Center.

“Though we can’t provide rape kit exams on campus, UNT ensures that victims of sexual assault have safe transportation to Denton Regional Hospital, where evidence collection can take place and where sexual assault counselors are provided to help survivors,” Price said.

Psychology freshman Melina Padron started  the online petition in Oct. on the online petition site Change.org Padron hopes to set up a student led support group in addition to urging the Health and Wellness Center on campus to provide basic rape incident medical services. Photo courtesy of Melina Padron’s Facebook page. 

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