August 30, 2017

By: Sherry Garcia, Intern Northeastern Marketing Department

Lily Nussbaum, a student from Denver University.

Lily Nussbaum, a student from Denver University, spoke openly to a group on community members and students at the first “Take Back the Night” event at Northeastern Junior College.

August 23, 2017, Sterling, CO – Students at Northeastern Junior College (NJC) gathered around the clock tower, Tuesday, August 22, to show their support for Logan County’s first “Take Back the Night” rally.  The event was hosted by NJC and sponsored by Centennial Mental Health.

Lily Nussbaum, a student from Denver University, spoke openly about her sexual assault and how she, at one time, felt to blame for the incident. The person who raped her was not a stranger, he was a friend. While going through the Title 9 process, Lily distanced herself from friends they shared and spoke to no one about the incident. She didn’t speak up. So not only did she lose power by being raped, she lost power by allowing the guy that hurt her tell their friends his version of what happened.

Lily, since then, no longer fears telling anyone about her assault. “I was raped” she declared in front of the small audience who attended the rally. It was with these words and her actions to tell her story, she was finally able to regain the power taken from her the night of her assault and the months after.

The next speaker was Sgt. Bill Dolan of the Sterling Police Department. Sgt. Dolan spoke of the procedure following a report of sexual assault. One of the most important things we need the victim to do is to not shower. Showering can wash away any evidence which could be used to show a jury.  If needed, the victim is then taken to Sexual Assault Response Advocates (S.A.R.A.) in Fort Morgan where a forensic exam will be done by a qualified nurse who specializes in Sexual Assault exams. A couple days after reporting the incident, Sgt. Dolan asks the victim to come back into the station to recall the events. Sgt. Dolan felt that with sleep, a victim is able to recall more details about the incidents which took place the night of the assault.

The last speaker of the evening was Cindy Carey, a counselor at the college. Cindy stated “You do not need to walk this path alone.”  And “If you are assaulted, please talk to someone.  That someone could be your RA or a Peer Helper.  It could be your Hall Director or me.  If you talk to an RA, Peer Helper or Hall Director, they can contact me any time of the day or night and I can be there to support you.  Together we will decide what to do next.”

Students were able to right their worries on a piece of wood and drop it in the burn barrel to help them let go and move forward.

Students were able to right their worries on a piece of wood and drop it in the burn barrel to help them let go and move forward.

The evening closed out with “The Light of Hope.” An exercise where students were to write down their worries or their encounter with sexual assault on a piece of wood. They then tossed that piece of wood into a barrel with a fire burning in it. This is to signify the student letting go of the worry they were carrying around with them.

 So please, if you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual assault, please do not be afraid to reach out and tell someone. There are people who are willing to listen and help you with whatever steps necessary to “Take Back the Night” with you!
If you have been assaulted or had a friend who has been assaulted, you can contact Cindy Carey at (970) 521-6676 or cindy.carey@njc.edu.  Her office is in Hays Student Center, room 132.