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’It's on us'

CU speaker: Sexual assault robs us all of dignity

Olivia Polynice and Katie Hubbard, both employees of Cameron University, have been planning the rally which took place Thursday since early last fall. The rally was entitled, "It's On Us," and it culminated the month of April which saw many activities focused on sexual assault.

"This is our first year of the 'It's On Us' campaign on campus," Polynice said. "We have been named as one of the safest campuses in Oklahoma, according to the Office of Public Safety on the Cameron campus."

Attendees at the rally on Thursday were there to hear Dr. Kimberly Dickman, who is an analyst and therapist at the United States Air Force Academy in Fort Collins, Colo. 

"Imagine you're at a river and are relaxing," Dickman said. "You suddenly hear someone yelling for help from the water. Would you save that person? Yes, you would. Then, two more people come floating down the current. Would you save those two? I think you would."

"Next, think you are at the same river and hundreds of people come down the river yelling for help," she said. "How would you help them? Join hands and try to save all of them? That's one way of doing it. Now think of the hundreds in the water as sexual assault victims. How would you reach them and why would you even try?"

"Human response is imbedded in science," Dickman said. "I was raised by a soldier dad, which meant that he was regimented, but my mom was one tough lady. That meant that one side of me is very hard and the other side of me is soft and compassionate. I grew up in Boulder, Colo., and loved both of my parents."

"I'm going to give you a science lesson here, so listen very carefully," she said. "We, as humans, are all wired to be compassionate and care about others. It's scientifically proven. Our Vagus Nerve runs through our whole body and can have an effect on many different emotions. The 'fight or flight' manifestation is real and presents itself as fear. Another reaction to the 'fight or flight' manifestation is being tonic immobility, or the inability to move. So many victims of sexual assault cannot move, cannot scream, and after the incident is over, they cannot talk about it to anyone."

"If anyone opens up about a sexual assault to you, be glad that they can trust you enough to speak about it, because some victims don't ever open up to anyone, and never tell anyone what has happened," Dickman said.

Dickman went on to say that compassion, emotions, and tears are all the result of the Vagus Nerve and that it was a powerful little thing to have as humans.

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