Sexual assault survivor says Augustana feels like a “good space” to share her story

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One of the survivors featured in the Augustana Observer’s special edition shared her story with Local 4 News of Friday.

Lyli Chavez says she was sexually assaulted on campus by someone on her cross country team.

She says when she was first approached about doing the story, she wanted to stay anonymous. But she later agreed to reveal her identity with hopes of making it easier for other survivors to come forward. She’s happy with the way the Administration handled her case, but says there’s room for improvement. 

Chavez says the last few months at Augustana have made her proud to be a part of the campus. 

She says sharing her story wasn’t easy. 

“Originally I wanted to stay anonymous.” 

She now that she has, she’s glad she did. 

“My story essentially tells not only that experience but the experience as a whole,” said  Chavez.

The recent piece by the student newspaper was brought on by a series of events dating back to January. 

“It feels good for me as a survivor to see people care about this issue so much,” said Chavez.

And she says if it weren’t for the support of her campus, she’s not sure she would’ve had the courage to come forward.  

“It was a very long process, one that was just awful,” said Chavez.

She says these last few months have proved she picked a college she can trust.  

“Seeing the campus community, faculty staff, students, seeing that they do want to support survivors made me feel that much more comfortable sharing my story,” she said. “I felt like I was in a good space to do so.” 

But says there’s always room for improvement. 

“I think they could be more transparent in terms of what goes on on this campus with sexual assault,” said Chavez.

And by sharing her piece of the story, she hopes to be one more voice for the voiceless. 

“I told my story and I felt very compelled to attach my name with it,” said Chavez.

Since the sexual assault that was reported on campus January 1, Augustana College has created a Sexual Assault Task Force, held rallies for survivors, and hosted a forum to hear student’s concerns.  

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