Eight minutes. If that’s all the time it took to get help, do you know where you’d go?
For many students on campus, an action plan to prevent or respond to sexual violence isn’t at the forefront of their minds. If something were to happen, finding the resources necessary to respond and get the support they need could easily become an arduous task for an already distressed individual.
Fortunately, accessing one of UMKC’s top resources for providing confidential support to victims of sexual and relational violence, called RISE, only takes eight minutes.
Short for Resources, Intervention, Support and Education, RISE operates out of Haag Hall, just an eight minute walk from the Volker Campus dorms, and offers both responsive and preventative measures to address issues such as sexual assault, sexual violence, gender-based violence, stalking, abuse and consent.
Sensitive matters require the work of seasoned and sympathetic experts, like Michelle Kroner. Kroner, the director of RISE, has worked in the office for over ten years and also serves as an advocacy and crisis intervention specialist, and the Title IX educational compliance administrator.
RISE is available to help the entire campus community. “We collaborate frequently with many other campus departments, we are a confidential resource on campus and we have several educational opportunities that students can get involved with,” Kroner said.
One of the campus departments Kroner and RISE collaborate with is the Office of Affirmative Action, which includes Equity and Title IX.
While Kroner said that the two groups work together, they address sexual misconduct in different ways. She said that RISE provides confidential support to students, victims, family, friends and allies, but Title IX is more focused on receiving reports of discrimination and harassment and investigating violations of UMKC policy.
RISE’s mission is evident even just from their website. Students can easily access information about RISE as an organization and find links to specific services through RISE’s website. This includes a detailed list called “React-Plan-Respond,” which walks through the proper way to move forward following a sexual assault.
This easily accessible information allows students and staff alike to educate themselves on the complex issues of sexual assault and violence. While UMKC community members can access a variety of general information through RISE, the organization also offers individual support to those on campus.
“I strive to provide whatever support may be needed, tailored to the specific needs of the individuals that I am assisting,” Kroner said. As director, she takes the majority of the cases at the center.
While professionals like Kroner handle the brunt of response work, students also have the option to involve themselves in the RISE Peer Educator Program, which is focused more on prevention than reaction.
Kroner said that these peer educators “provide effective and inclusive education to facilitate well-being on campus, empower the community to become agents of change, and spread empathetic understanding of how power-based personal violence can affect individuals.”
Check out RISE’s website to access their free educational resources, find the support, and volunteer to get involved in their mission.