| 03.17.2018

From the White House to UI

University Housing brings national campaign to prevent sexual assault to UI campus

University Housing presented Wednesday the White House’s national campaign to raise awareness and to prevent sexual assault, called “It’s On Us.”

The program is focused on and how everyone has a role to play in the prevention of sexual violence, said Jazzmine Hudson, area coordinator for Wallace Residence Center and McConnell Hall.

“(Sexual assault prevention) is near and dear to my heart,” Hudson said.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden unveiled the campaign in September intending to put an end to sexual assaults on college campuses across the country.

“An estimated one in five women has been sexually assaulted during her college years — one in five,” Obama said at the campaign’s unveiling Sept. 19. “Of those assaults, only 12 percent are reported and of those reported assaults, only a fraction of the offenders are punished.”

Scott Gove, UI resident director for campus apartments, said although sexual assault is a sensitive issue for people to talk about, there needs to be a cultural change so more people feel comfortable reporting it.

The It’s On Us campaign includes several tips about how to prevent sexual assault from occurring. Gove said he thinks the focus of the campaign is to give everyone the tools they need to prevent sexual assault.

“We want you to be protectors of each other,” Gove said.

The campaign suggests ways to deal with potentially dangerous situations that could lead to sexual assault. Gove said the campaign points to three main ways to prevent sexual assault, among others — be direct and confront the person committing the act, delegate and let a third party know what is going on and distract the person trying to commit the sexual assault to get a potential victim out of the situation.

These strategies are the same ones taught in bystander intervention training like the Green Dot program led at UI by Virginia Solan, coordinator of Violence Prevention Programs.

Solan said both Green Dot and It’s On Us do more than educate people about sexual assault prevention — they create a support system for people who have experienced sexual assault.

“This is not something to go through alone,” Solan said. “The most important thing is to be a friend to people.”

The Moscow Police Department, as well as the Dean of Students Office, University Housing, ASUI and Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse have education and support programs and work with the community to fight against sexual assault.

“It is a serious crime,” said Lt. David Lehmitz, head of the campus division for the Moscow Police Department. “It is occurring on campus, which is unfortunate.”

The MPD has various programs to ensure people report sexual assault. Lehmitz said the police department gives presentations to various groups on campus throughout the academic year to inform students of the resources available to them.

ASUI will introduce the “It’s On Us” campaign to the entire student body in January, Hudson said, and every student is encouraged to take the pledge on the website to take an active role in preventing sexual assault.

Graham Perednia can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu 

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