Title IX support group hosts guest speaker for awareness and prevention luncheon 

By Caleb McGever | Staff Writer

Health resources poster in Boppell Hall, Friday, Mar. 24, 2023, in Spokane, Wash. | Caleb Flegel/The Whitworthian

On Tuesday, April 5, the Title IX support group hosted lawyer Kendel Froese, a Whitworth alumni. Froese came to share her experience as a volunteer with the 24-hour sexual assault crisis line run by Lutheran Community Services. She talked about the importance of listening and treating those who have experienced sexual harassment with love.  

Froese graduated from Whitworth University in 2009 with a degree in political science. She spent time working for the Center for Justice in Spokane and then started her law practice, Thrive Law, in 2022.

Froese started the talk by pointing out some important statistics regarding sexual violence. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women in the United States experience completed or attempted rape during their lifetime. One in three of these female victims experience it for the first time between the ages of 11 and 17. Additionally, 24.8% of men in the U.S. experience some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime. Nationwide, 81% of women and 43% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime.  

One way Froese stands up for sexual violence victims is by volunteering with Lutheran Volunteer Services. “The role that I can play as a volunteer advocate is that I’m coming in the door, and I am one million percent not going to judge you. That is like, my job is to not judge you.”

Froese went on to talk about the impact the words “I believe you” can have. The first thing she says when she meets with someone while volunteering is, “I am so sorry this happened to you, I believe that this happened to you and I’m here for you.” The goal is to be caring and respectful and to act in a way that more people will feel like they should start reaching out for help. Froese continued by talking about what Justice can look like for sexual assault survivors while acknowledging the difficulty that can be found within the legal system.  

She said, “Clearly, I’m an attorney, so I have some amount of faith in the legal process because I’ve chosen to be in this realm over my career. But I also think that especially in instances of sexual assault, that when we’re talking about what justice looks like, I think that that can be a myriad of different things.”

She expanded on where justice starts for people, saying that in many sexual assault cases, one of the most important elements of justice is that the person is being heard, respected and given back an opportunity to take back some of the control that was taken from them when they were assaulted.  

In honor of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Froese called for gentle, caring and thoughtful treatment of those who has experienced sexual violence. 

Whitworth’s Title IX and Sexual Harassment Policy and resources can be found here

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