In response to startling statistics concerning the prevalence of sexual assaults against college-aged women, the White House has launched the “It’s On Us” campaign to reduce the number of attacks that occur on college campuses. According to President Obama’s speech at the launch of the “It’s On Us” campaign, about one in five women in the United States has been sexually assaulted during her college years. The President also pointed out that these crimes go largely unrecognized, as only 12% of these cases are reported.
The “It’s On Us” campaign’s website outlines thirteen tools that both men and women can use to help decrease the prevalence of sexual assault. These tools vary from talking openly and honestly about sexual assault to keeping an eye out for people who may be too intoxicated to properly consent.
In addition to this information, the website consists of videos of celebrities like John Hamm and Rose Byrne advocating for the cause, as well as a donation page that is in the process of being created. The website has also recently added a pledge feature where visitors can vow to make a “commitment to help keep women and men safe from sexual assault.”
Aside from being a largely online-based campaign, this program is unique in its approach to addressing sexual assault. Many have taken note that this campaign is not targeting those who carry out sexual assaults, but is instead aimed at changing the way Americans think and speak about sexual assault. In other words, it encourages every American to be involved in reducing sexual assaults by teaching visitors the warning signs.
Since the implementation of the program, the U.S. Naval Academy made headlines by joining the campaign. This came after a case last year where allegations of sexual assault were brought up against three football players at the U.S. Naval Academy after another student’s ability to consent was disputed.
Additionally, the Justice Department Office on Violence Against Women is awarding over $6 million in grants to eighteen other colleges and universities across the United State to create campus sexual assault prevention programs. In addition to these colleges and universities, students from about 200 American colleges signed on to bring the “It’s On Us” campaigns to their campuses.
Here at Arcadia, there are resources available for students who fall victim to sexual assault or relationship violence. At Arcadia’s Counseling Services, counselors provide support for students and also provide access to resources outside of Arcadia, such as the Victim Services Center of Montgomery County, inc. or the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Counseling Services is located on the ground floor of Heinz Hall. Students are also encouraged to call Public Safety at 215-572-2999 in the event of an emergency on campus.