MI first lady holds summit to fight college rapes - WNEM TV 5

MI first lady holds summit to fight college rapes

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LANSING, MI (WNEM) -

Michigan's First Lady Sue Snyder held a statewide summit to fight rape on college campuses.

Recent reports, most notably by the Detroit Free Press, show a number of Michigan universities are failing when it comes to preventing sexual assault on campus.

"I would question how on Earth could he take something so precious, and sacred, and use it to make life so ugly for me," said Lauren Debski, rape survivor.

Fighting back tears Debski spoke out against the horrific crime at a summit in Lansing on Monday to fight sexual assaults on college campuses.

"I think it was tremendous in terms of their message. Hopefully we'll get to a couple hundred thousand students on campus today and in the long term. So, this is an important step forward," Gov. Rick Snyder said.

Organizers said about 450 people showed up to see the event and hear from two survivors.

Emma Hanrahan, survivor, said it's not just the assault that takes its toll on the victim, but the shame afterwards.

"About six months ago I ran into one of his friends, and he gave me a little bit of grief, still now," Hanrahan said. "A big one that I get is, 'you've had sex before, it's not a big deal.' I've also crossed the street before, and I don't want to get hit by a flying mack truck one time."

After hearing their heartbreaking stories the governor vows to make this an important issue during his tenure.

"This is going to be a lot of teamwork with colleges, universities, but having the students here was tremendously important. And again, there could be students in this audience today that may have suffered through this event and never shared it,” Snyder said.

The governor and first lady said they'll take the ideas discussed and use them to formulate plans going forward, to address the issue.

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