The Student News Site of University of Nebraska at Kearney

The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

Speak up, speak out – Freshman organizes gatherings in response to alleged sexual assault


Support, not shame. Speak up, speak out. No means no.

These were among the phrases chanted by over 30 UNK students marching past residence halls during a demonstration against sexual assault. 

Demonstrators gathered Tuesday night after the UNK Police Department emailed an announcement on Aug. 30 about a “possible sexual assault.” 

“A lot of people on our floors were joking about (the FIJI protests at UNL), and we never thought it was a joke,” said Fedalina Schuessler, the freshman who organized the event. “And we thought it was something we need to educate people on how serious it is. With this sexual assault that happened at UNK, (my friends and I) were talking and we’re like, we should protest for a movement to educate and to support the victim.”

Schuessler posted her plans on Instagram and her friends to share the post through social media.   

That night, a crowd gathered outside Centennial Towers East, where the victim was allegedly assaulted early in the morning Aug. 29. UNK PD said the investigation is still ongoing. 

“It was just a sensitive topic, and I felt for the victims involved and with that happening on campus like where I live,” said Jackie Mendez, a sophomore demonstrator. “I obviously wanted to support and stand up for the victims and fight for them.”

Some students were inspired by the recent protests at UNL to shut down the FIJI fraternity.

“After what happened at FIJI, it’s really concerning,” said Charles Rinke, a senior demonstrator. “We would talk about just things going on in like whatever dorms we were in, and at least one person will be saying, ‘Yeah, I knew somebody who was sexually assaulted here,’ like every year and every semester, and that’s not right. That should not be happening especially at a small campus like UNK.”

According to numbers from UNK Communications, over the past 17 years, there were 32 on-campus sexual assault cases reported at UNK. Eight cases were reported over the past five years. Two cases have been reported this year. 

The rounded-up average of sexual assaults per year at UNK is two cases. These numbers do not include the unreported assaults that happen off-campus. 

UNK offers prevention programs through the Campus Sexual Assault Response Team, annual Title IX training, the Office of Equity and Compliance, and sexual assault educational programming and training for student groups. 

Students can also call campus police to be accompanied while walking to their residence hall from UNK buildings at night.   

The demonstrators marched past the residence halls with UNK PD protecting demonstrators and passersby. 

A moment of silence at CTE concluded the half-hour demonstration, and a second gathering was planned for Friday at 10 p.m. 

Approximately 20 people returned for the second demonstration.

“I feel like even though it was a small amount of people, I still think just being out here, still educating people, and spreading awareness makes a difference,” Schuessler said, while standing with supporters. 

There are no further demonstrations organized, but Schuessler said she wants UNK students to continue advocating for sexual assault victims and spread awareness.

Some of the advocates were sexual assault survivors, one of whom painted handprints on their mouth, neck and thighs. 

Schuessler is also a survivor. 

“I’m glad I am able to finally talk about it and to finally speak my truth about it, but it still haunts me,” Shuessler said. “It gets better, eventually.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Antelope

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Nebraska at Kearney . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Antelope

Comments (0)

All The Antelope Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *