Townhall II helps sexual assault victims

Erik Svensson

Danielle Older saw an opportunity to do some good when she was put in charge of a project at Kent’s Townhall II that gives support to survivors of sexual assault and others who need it.

“There is a lot of stigma surrounding sexual assault,” said Older, who explained that being there for victims of assault is important after what they have gone through. “We won’t turn anyone in need away. If we get enough people, we’ll just start a second group.”

While many find the current climate of attitudes toward women and sexual assault horrifying, Older said that “just because (there’s) a big case, I’m not working harder.”

She explained that a high-profile case is not needed for Townhall II employees to take their job seriously.

“It’s always important to have people who understand,” Older said.

While Townhall II serves all of Portage County, Older noted that there are a higher number of problems with sexual assault at Kent State.

“The amount of people at and around Kent State just makes the amount of assaults higher,” Older said. “More people are attracted to Kent — and it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more dangerous — but the number is higher for that group of people. How many people end up not reporting sexual assault to the school or police is also scary.”

While the group Older heads is designed to help support those in need, she said it is not the only option.

“There is counseling also — I think both are needed, but they provide different services,” she said.

Older said Townhall II is committed to continuing the program and other programs like it to contribute to teaching prevention, intervention and the meaning of consent in order to stop sexual assault and abuse.

Contact Erik Svensson at [email protected].