In September 2014, the White House launched the It’s On Us initiative, an awareness campaign aimed at ending sexual assault on college campuses. While the initiative includes policies and support systems designed to help universities understand their legal obligations to prevent and respond to sexual assault, a large focus is on educating students about their important role as bystanders in preventing sexual assault and rape.
The Associated Students of the University of Utah have taken this responsibility seriously. Last month, all compensated student leaders were required to attend a half-day training session about bystander intervention that was facilitated by the U’s Center for Student Wellness. The training covered the basics of bystander intervention practices and skills, including situations of dating violence, stalking, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Additional training sessions are available to all interested students and will be held on Saturday, April 12, 10 a.m.-noon; Tuesday, April 14, 6-8 p.m.; and Tuesday, April 21, 6-8 p.m. Locations will be posted online. Student groups may schedule a workshop by contacting the Center for Student Wellness at 801-581-7776 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The It’s on Us campaign informs students that sexual assault doesn’t have to happen to our friends and encourages us to step in and be part of the solution — we all need to step in and stand up,” said Justin Spangler, ASUU president. “Sexual assault is making its way to the forefront of many conversations, and the more we talk about it and become familiar with ways to prevent it, the easier it’s going to be to change.”
Part of this process is helping victims feel more comfortable reporting sexual assaults. To help students understand the process for reporting sexual assault, ASUU hosted a panel discussion earlier this month. Panelists answered questions about the processes involved in sexual assault reporting and discussed various campus resources available to help those dealing with sexual assault. More information is available on ASUU’s website.
A series of national public service announcements were created as part of the national It’s on Us campaign. The videos focus on bystander intervention and the message that everyone is responsible for preventing sexual assaults. ASUU recently revealed its own It’s on Us PSA for the U community. Featuring U students and student athletes, the 60-second video calls on students to respect each other and keep each other safe.
All are encouraged to take the national pledge to keep women and men safe from sexual assault. ASUU estimates that more than 1,000 U students, faculty and staff have already taken the pledge. Let’s work together to end sexual violence on campus.