Two students are planning to launch an It’s On Us chapter, an initiative that works to have students take a pledge to end sexual violence on college campuses, in conjunction with Sexual Assault Awareness month.
The Obama administration launched It’s On Us in 2014 in an effort to end sexual violence on college campuses as part of former Vice President Joe Biden’s mission to end sexual violence in the United States. The movement declares that sexual assault is not only a crime committed by a perpetrator against a victim, but a broader societal problem involving everyone.
The chapter is set to launch Wednesday on Copley Lawn by urging students to take the pledge — a personal commitment to help keep women and men safe from sexual assault. It’s On Us is also looking to be a visible source of information on campus during Sexual Assault Awareness month, which takes place every April in an effort to raise awareness of the prevalence of sexual violence.
Chapter Coordinator Jessica Scoratow (COL ’18) said the chapter hopes to play an active role on campus.
“We would be a subunit of that broader unit, but I do want to get it registered with the university so that I have those wheels in motion to go ahead and do next year to get funding, to bring speakers, to do consent workshops, to sort of elevate the issue,” Scoratow said.
The Georgetown University Police Department will be providing monetary and marketing support to the campaign launch, including a banner to promote the chapter, according to GUPD Chief of Police Jay Gruber.
Gruber said sexual assault is a persistent problem on all campuses.
“Sexual assault continues to be a problem on college campuses,” Gruber wrote in an email to The Hoya. “It is crucial that we continue to educate our community on the issue of sexual assault and look to our community to help end the problem.”
Organizations such as Newsweek and MTV as well as universities such as Syracuse University and University of Utah have already partnered with It’s On Us.
According to Scoratow, the university has been difficult to communicate with in regards to sexual assault awareness initiatives.
“As far as university support, it’s a little bit difficult, to be honest, because I think that the administration wants to be sure that they are not calling attention to things that don’t need to have attention called to them,” Scoratow said. “They don’t want to have too much visibility or sexual violence issues on campus, just because oftentimes it can come off in the media and in a broader national sense that if students are advocating and arousing issues means that that issue is very prevalent.”
It’s On Us Georgetown Chapter Coordinator Melissa Morgan (COL ’18) said Sexual Assault Awareness month is needed to highlight an issue that is not often discussed on Georgetown’s campus.
“How the University actually handles sexual assault and harassment cases isn’t often discussed,” Morgan wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We need initiatives like Sexual Assault Awareness Month to remind Hoyas that sexual assault happens here, that we can work to prevent it, and that we should be urging the university to embrace a sexual assault policy that supports victims and combats rape culture.”
Correction: This article previously included a quote stating there are not other advocacy efforts on campus for sexual assault; this is incorrect.
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