Sexual assault summit in Iowa City following UI student's expuls - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sexual assault summit in Iowa City following UI student's expulsion

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

The University of Iowa held a sexual assault summit in conjunction with April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Saturday, victims, survivors and advocates discussed their efforts in fighting sexual violence and what still needs to be done.

Joy Beadleston is a sexual assault survivor and says while her freedom is lost, her voice won’t be.

“This is the worst, because you lose your freedom,” said Beadleston. “[My voice has] been silenced at times, but I know how to speak.”

It's all part of a series of conversations put on by the university's Department of Communication Studies presenting what they call a "powerful platform" for action and change.

A panel of 6 campus and community leaders discussed ways they’re trying to stop sexual violence.

“We’re trying to engage matters that are of local concern, and certainly the issue of sexual assault on campus has gained national prominence, and also it's particularly relevant and salient right now on the University of Iowa’s campus,” said communication studies assistant professor, Natalie Fixer-Oraiz.

The summit follows a rather unusual step by the university.

Just this week, a student was expelled for sexual misconduct, only weeks after the school president announced a zero-tolerance stance toward combating sexual assaults.

“It makes me say it's about time that this should have happened from the beginning,” said Beadleston.

Organizers and panelists say sexual violence is an outward manifestation of a lot of cultural problems.

They say it's clear the school's administration listened to students' voices and are ready to do what it takes to end sexual violence.

They say the need is now to bring together resources and figure out ways for positive social change.

“As long as there are still perpetrators in our community, I think there's always going to be work to do,” said Laurie Haag, program director for Women's Resource & Action Center.

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