Linking Up to Address the Bitter Realities of Sexual Assaults on College Campuses
On November 12, 2015, the Gateway Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and Harris-Stowe State University held its first partnership forum – “Addressing the Bitter Realities of Sexual Assaults on College Campuses.” Students, staff and members of the Gateway Chapter engaged in “real talk” about assaults, preventive efforts, eliminating stigmas and personal stories. Students offered open and honest accounts. Local professionals representing Call for Help, Inc., YWCA Metro St. Louis, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and Life Source Consultants, Inc. were an added value to the forum. As a result of the forum, student support groups will continue under the leadership of Dr. Vicki Bernard, Director of Counseling at the university. The Center for Non-Violence and Abuse Prevention was established in January 2014 as part of the Division of Student Affairs at HSSU. The center serves as a platform to educate, facilitate programs and provide resources that address different forms of abuse and violence.
“As Harris-Stowe continues to press forward as an intellectual think tank in the St. Louis community, I feel it is imperative we establish centers such as the Center for Non-Violence and Abuse Prevention to address major issues that our society faces,” stated HSSU President Dr.Dwaun Warmack. “Those who have been a victim of abuse or violence are many times left feeling helpless. Therefore, we must work together to fight these stigmas and educate and empower through dialogue and other resources.”
The Gateway Chapter of The Links, Incorporated has responded to the call and created a partnership with the university to increase awareness of preventive efforts about violence of students. The Gateway Chapter was organized in May, 1986 by Dr. Lillian A. Parks. The Chapter has the distinction of being the “Original Bi-State Chapter” of The Links, Incorporated. Given the Chapter’s history of service, forging a partnership with Harris-Stowe State University was evident. The Chapter continues to be a long-time supporter of the only HBCU in the St. Louis region. In addition, the Gateway Chapter provides services to women and children of African descent located within the St. Louis, Missouri, East St. Louis, Illinois, and communities within a 50-mile radius of St. Louis.
Together, the Gateway Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and Harris-Stowe State University are committed to the big picture – increase students’ awareness of preventive efforts about sexual violence.