Shawnee Mission East students get people across metro wearing black to support victims of sexual assault

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- When the news broke that a student reported being sexually assaulted in a bathroom at Shawnee Mission East High School, Katie Kuhlman knew she had to do something. She and other like-minded students wanted to show their support for the victim, and to victims of sexual assault everywhere.

“Immediately of course we were saddened and horrified that something like this could've happened so close to home, so close to all of us. From there, we were starting to brainstorm ways we could take action and make a difference after this incident," said Kuhlman, one of a few students who started the movement.

Kuhlman and some other Shawnee Mission East students decided to ask other kids at school to join her in a powerful, visual statement by wearing black.

“We were thinking, 'alright, let's show the student body is in support of this victim and every other unnamed victim who we walked the halls with, and is maybe too scared or unable to tell their story,'" Kuhlman added.

The students started using #WearBlackToStopAttacks on social media to get everyone at school on board.

“Since then it just blew up,” Kuhlman said.

Not only did it go viral at the high school where the assault was reported, other students around the metro joined them -- like students at St. Teresa's Academy.

“We just decided to support them, and wear black shirts, and to show that not only does it affect the Shawnee Mission community, but it affects St. Teresa`s as well, and all women around the world,” said Senior Class President Gabby Ayala. “It just shows the Kansas City community how tight-knit we are and how much we care about one another.”

Other students in the Shawnee Mission district posted pictures of themselves wearing black, along with Rockhurst, Mill Valley. The list goes on.

“Suddenly everyone is reaching out to their camp friends from across the country, competitors and all their sports across Kansas, cousins and other family members,” Kuhlman explained.

While the district and police aren't sharing any new information right now, the students want their voices to be heard.

“It's just disgusting. I just want her to know that if she sees this that she has the STA community, everyone around, supporting her.” Ayala said.