‘It’s On Us:’ ESU Works to Combat Sexual Assault

Charlese Freeman

Student Life Editor

The start of a new academic year makes way for new courses, new teachers and new college students.

For many students, starting as freshman, this is the first time away from home. Unfortunately, with new faces, come new sexual assault cases.

In Sept 2014, following the 2011 Department Of Education’s decision to issue Title IV education to every college and University, the national government took initiative to get everyone on college campuses to take responsibility in sexual assault prevention.

Thus, the “It’s on Us’ campaign was born. ESU adopted the principles of the campaign in 2015 and received funding from the campaign in April.

Although the U.S. Department of Justice, statistics show that 20 to 25 percent of college women and 15 percent of college men are victims of forced sex during their time in college, the numbers have little to no affect, but taking each case of sexual assault personally helps to prevent new cases and comfort victims.

When cases of sexual assault go unreported on college campuses, not only are the victims subjected to further pain and trauma, but unreported cases jeopardize other students and faculty safety.

“But I think are we all not doing enough to highlight the issue and make sure people are aware of it because part of the prevention starts with just making it an issue and talking about the problem and encouraging others to be part of the solutions” explained Senator Bob Casey last week when he reaffirmed the campaign and bystander education.

With every new school year ESU present skits, presentations and discussions about what students as well as faculty should do if they witness or suspect an act of sexual assault.

So what does the future hold for this campaign on ESU’s Campus? Doreen Tobin, D.Ed., vice president for student affairs and ESU’s Title IX Coordinator, states that “One of the missions of the Wellness Education & Prevention office is to continue to relay this information to students in various ways to further their understanding of what sexual assault is, what healthy relationships should look like and ways to help if a friend has been sexually assaulted. While we want to decrease the number of sexual assaults that happen on campus, we also want to be sure all incidents on campus are reported. We want survivors to feel comfortable to talk about their experiences and obtain the proper resources they need to be successful at ESU!”

The new school year does not have to mean new cases of sexual assault. “It’s On Us” to protect fellow students and to speak up against sexual assault. Students understand the need to take responsibility and protect each other.

Part of taking the responsibility, as the “It’s On Us” campaign suggest, is acknowledging an assault took place.

Yarona Grimmage, an ESU Early Childhood Education major admits “I feel like I’m one of those people that if someone told me they were sexually assaulted I would tell them to say something because that’s not something you want to hold in because …You never know it could happen to someone else.”

Email.Charlese at:

cfreeman2@live.esu.edu

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