Today, to advance the goal of preventing sexual assault, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a new public awareness and education campaign: "It's On Us." The campaign seeks to engage college students and all members of campus communities in preventing sexual assault.
The campaign is being launched in partnership with the Center for American Progress' Generation Progress, along with student body leadership from nearly 200 colleges and universities across the country – including Davidson College – collegiate sports organizations such as the NCAA and Atlantic 10 Athletic Conference, and private companies that have strong connections with students at colleges and universities.
According to the White House website, "It's On Us" aims to fundamentally shift the way we think about sexual assault, by inspiring everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something to prevent it. The effort will support student-led initiatives already underway across the country, and will focus particularly on motivating college men to get involved:
Most men are not comfortable with violence against women, but often don't speak out because they believe that other men accept this behavior. By getting men involved, we can change this way of thinking and create new social norms. Research shows that bystander intervention can be an effective way of stopping sexual assault before it happens, as bystanders play a key role in preventing, discouraging, and/or intervening when an act of violence has the potential to occur.
Davidson College recently launched a bystander education and training program with the aims of heightening awareness, challenging social norms, decreasing misperceptions about sexual assault, and providing skills that increase individuals' confidence to intervene effectively. In addition, the college has convened a task force comprising faculty, staff and students to review its sexual misconduct policy. The task force will host multiple forums for members of the college community to ask questions and provide feedback about the policy in the coming weeks.
To show your support for the "It's On Us" campaign, sign the pledge at ItsOnUs.org.