Students around KC show support for sexual assault victims

Students from around Kansas City wear black in support of a Shawnee Mission East freshman who is an alleged victim of sexual assault.


STA seniors, along with much of the rest of the student body, wore black shirts Wednesday to support sexual assault victims. photo courtesy of Gabby Ayala

by Katie Mulhern, Staff Writer

Students from around the Kansas City area wore black Wednesday in support of a Shawnee Mission East High School freshman who reported being sexually assaulted in the boys’ bathroom after school last week. Because the students involved are minors, their names have not been disclosed. According to the Shawnee Mission Post, the school has confirmed their ages range from 14 to 15 years old.

Students began to use social media outlets to report the news late Tuesday afternoon. After hearing of the story, students from multiple schools from around the Kansas City area came up with the idea to wear black.

Alex Freeman, a sophomore at East, sees the upside of this situation in the community it has created.

“It’s really refreshing to see so many people coming together to send the message that we support the victim and won’t tolerate sexual assault at school, or anywhere else,” Freeman said. “It really unified us and East is usually divided on just about every issue.”

The movement spread to STA when seniors introduced the idea of wearing black uniform shirts as a form of support in group messages Tuesday night.

Senior class president Gabby Ayala recognizes how attending an all-girls’ school has shaped her outlook on this issue.

“[Senior] Grace Schloegel was the one who informed the [senior] class about it,” Ayala said.“I’m glad STA did join in because it shows that not only did it affect Shawnee Mission East, but STA as well. Going to an all-girls’ school makes us realize how women need to be empowered and not assaulted by others.”

Students from Notre Dame de Sion High School, Bishop Miege High School and Rockhurst High School also wore black after seeing texts and social media posts asking their peers to take part.

Mary Kelly Shevlin, a sophomore at Sion, sees the black shirts as a sign of support beyond this particular instance.

“I feel that this was to show our solidarity with the East girl, but also to raise awareness for all sexual assault victims,” Shevlin said. “She was the beginning of an amazing movement that showed support for everyone who experienced sexual assault.”