Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office Hosts Students for Sexual Assault Awareness Summit

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Christopher Harris, (216) 443-7157;

Gilson and Case Western Reserve University partner to host summit in observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

CLEVELAND – Last night, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson, along with Case Western Reserve University’s Flora Stone Mather Center for Women and various partners, held their Student Leadership Summit: Sexual Assault Awareness.

“Sexual Assault shall not, and will not be tolerated. It’s important that we take a strong stance against sexual assault, confront stigmas, and provide information and resources to all those affected. I’m thankful Dr. Gilson, Case Western Reserve University, our partners, and all of the attending students have gathered to discuss this important conversation,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “Dr. Gilson continues to display his commitment to our young people through educational programs, like these student leadership summits.”

Over 40 high school and college gathered at Case Western Reserve University to have an open discussion about sexual assault and how we can raise awareness in the community. The summit focused on a range of topics from bystander intervention, resources available, and how to support someone if they disclose they’ve been sexually assaulted.

“I am grateful to participate in an event like this. The county wanted to find a way to support Sexual Assault Awareness Month and we are grateful to our partners at the Case Western, the Rape Crisis Center and the Plain Dealer for helping us reach the next generation of leaders with an informative forum on a critical topic,” said Dr. Gilson. “The importance of sexual assault and domestic violence prevention cannot be over-emphasized.”

Students also were encouraged to share the information that they learned with their audience, through different social media channels using the event hashtag #SAAMcle. The panel of experts included:
  • Dr. Thomas Gilson, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner
  • Jill Smialek, Cuyahoga County Family Justice Center Manager
  • Alexander Leslie, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center Director of Campus Services
  • Rachel Dissell, Cleveland Plain Dealer Reporter
  • Katherine Rodgers, Sexual Assault and Violence Educators (SAVE) Vice President

The summit was the 2nd of an ongoing series of student leadership events hosted by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office. Earlier this year, a summit was held focusing on the heroin epidemic for over 80 students. The next summit is scheduled to take place in the fall, and will focus on gun violence.