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Health Services hires sexual assault staffer

Correction appended.

Health Services has chosen Trisha Glover to fill the new position of sexual assault response and prevention program coordinator. The position was approved last year, partly in response to the efforts of the Sexual Assault Task Force, a group of students advocating for more support for victims of sexual assault.

"This position is definitely an affirmation that we take the issue seriously," said Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn.

Glover, who hails from upstate New York, will serve as a point person for both response to and prevention of sexual assault, and will hopefully increase students' awareness of the services on campus for those affected by the issue, Klawunn said.

In addition to counseling survivors and friends of survivors, Glover will lead education programs for students. Glover, who arrived at Brown in August, will also advocate for sexual assault victims seeking disciplinary action against their perpetrators.

"Now there is someone to make sure our resources are visible," Klawunn said.

Glover received her undergraduate degree in women's studies and political science from SUNY Albany. She also has two master's degrees: the first in women's spirituality and the second in mental health counseling.

Her studies in spirituality helped instill in her the compassion necessary to do sexual assault prevention and response, Glover said.

"I come into this issue wanting to be accessible, empathetic and warm," she said. "It's who I am."

Glover also gained experience in the field as a rape crisis counselor in Lowell, Mass., where she counseled victims and coordinated a crisis hotline for three years.

When Heather Bennett '11, a member of the task force, first met Glover at an informal luncheon last year, she said she was struck by her approachable manner.

Glover "seemed very willing to understand Brown students," Bennett said.

For Marta daSilva '09, who co-directed "Hush," a documentary exploring the stigma of sexual assault victims, Glover's presence on campus is a step forward in an ongoing effort to raise awareness about sexual assault at Brown.

"It was kind of like waking up from a dream," daSilva said of her return to campus this fall after a semester abroad. "Almost everything we were working for is coming true."

Two years after the Department of Public Safety reported zero sexual offences occurring in 2005, a statistic questioned by both the task force and Gail Cohee, director of the Sarah Doyle Women's Center, many of the demands made by the task force have been addressed, daSilva said.

The task force also lobbied the University to fund a sexual assault peer education program and a sexual assault resource center in the Sarah Doyle Women's Center - both successfully.

However, Bennett and daSilva said Brown's resources for victims as well as its reporting and prevention measures are still works in progress.

The task force is considering advocating moving the resource center out of the Sarah Doyle Women's Center and into Faunce House in order to make it more accessible to students of all genders, Bennett said.

Glover said she would like to improve the process of reporting sexual offenses. She plans to look for other anonymous reporting methods - besides the sexual assault response line now in place - that would help sexual assault victims feel safe coming forward.

In addition, Glover said she plans to work with DPS to reevaluate its methods of response to sexual assault.

Glover said her services are confidential and available to students of all genders.

"I want people to know I'm a safe, confidential place to come for help," Glover said. "It's easier for someone to access resources if they know who I am."

In a recent Herald article, ("Health Services hires sexual assault staffer," Sept.18) Gail Cohee, director of the Sarah Doyle Women's Center, was stated to have questioned the sexual assault statistics released in 2006 by the Department of Public Safety. However, Cohee was not interviewed for last Thursday's story. She was mentioned in reference to a Oct. 26, 2006 Herald article in which Cohee said that more incidents of sexual assault may have occurred than were reflected in University statistics.


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