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One out of five college women victim of sexual assault

Updated: Wednesday, August 20 2014, 01:30 AM CDT
BEAUMONT - by Jennifer Gordy

Buying books, paying tuition, moving into new living quarters, all part of starting a new semester at college, but what about preparations for avoiding becoming a victim of a sexual assault.

Student Lacie Owens says,  "I feel like you shouldn't go to a party alone. Have someone with you."

Autumn White is also a student and says, "Never set your drink down you never know if someone might slip something in there. Always keep an eye on your drink and never ever take drinks from someone."

The Chief of Police at Lamar University says three sexual assaults were reported on the campus in 2013.

Jason Goodrich concedes the number of incidents may be under reported.

Goodrich says, "We do a lot to encourage reporting, but again we always want it to be the victim's choice. We try to empower people educate them and connect them to confidential resources, if that is their preference.  Everyone is going to deal with that issue in their own way."

According to the National Institute of Justice, an estimated one out of five women who attend college will be assaulted during her time there. And, in America, a woman who attends college is more likely to be sexually assaulted than one who does not.

One student says he believes rules at the Lamar dorms protects students. Rules that require visitors to show identification upon entering.

Charles Collins says, "Safety on the campus is really good. it's gotten better. They've gotten more strict with stuff but it has gotten a lot better. The dorms are really strict which I'm pretty sure if sexual assault is happening that's a  good place to have the most security at."

Chief Goodrich encourages students to take responsibility for their safety.

Goodrich says, "It's never your fault if you are the victim of someone else's actions, but we also allow some risk reduction strategies and being aware of your surroundings is a big one know who you are going with have a plan know what your overall goal for the evening is and where you are going to end up and who you are going to be with."

All good advice to avoid becoming a victim.

WINNIE - by Haley Bull

Cecilia Olvera, 13, will start 7th grade next week, her first time back in class since a February accident. Tuesday, she's home after a second round of therapy in a Chicago hospital and is determined to reach her goals.

Inch by inch, step by step, the teen is trading one set of wheels for another.

"You can never tell with a spinal cord," Olvera said, "It is true but I'm gonna prove that you can walk again."

In February, a truck hit the teen on Highway 73 just moments after she stepped off her Hamshire Fannett school bus. She ended up in hospitals for months.

"Thanks to my mom," Olvera said, "I was like always positive, I was always thinking positive."

Now, the teen is on the road to recovery.

"I'm able to walk with a walker and bars," Olvera said.

After a second round of treatment in a Chicago hospital, she can move her left hand but not her right, and is moving her legs with the help of a walker, bars and braces.

"It makes me happy that everyone's happy, that I'm recovering real quick, I'm just happy," Olvera said.

Next week will be another stepping stone.

"It's gonna be nice to see all my friends, have my normal life like I had before," Olvera said.

She will head back to school for the first time since the accident, splitting time between her walker and wheelchair.

"I'm nervous to see the reaction of my friends because I mean it's awkward, but I think I'll get used to it, I'll get used to being in a wheelchair but I know very soon I'll get out of it," Olvera said.

She has a goal to take each step on her own.

"I know it's gonna be hard, but I'm gonna reach that goal," Olvera said.

She will continue physical therapy and go back to Chicago in about three months.
One out of five college women victim of sexual assault

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