It’s On Us to Make a Difference

 

It’s her fault. She shouldn’t have worn that outfit. She shouldn’t have gotten drunk. She was asking for it. She deserved what she got. We’ve all heard it before, classic victim blaming. The only reason sexual assault occurs at the rate it does is because women “should have known better”. Bullshit.

It’s not her fault that she was assaulted. It doesn’t matter who you are, people of any and all forms are sexually assaulted on college campuses. They are never asking for it nor are they to blame for being attacked. The way sexual assault is viewed is in need of serious reform. Thankfully due to the efforts of 7000 in Solidarity: A Campaign Against Sexual Assault at UCLA and a new government initiative the way we discuss sexual assault is changing. On September 19th, President Obama launched the “It’s On Us” campaign to end sexual assault on college campuses in the United States. The official press release for the campaign outlines how this initiative is to be carried out. There is an ongoing task force that is working specifically with colleges to combat sexual assault. The campaign is also partnering with many organizations such as the NCAA, Men Can Stop Rape, and Pac 12 to increase the outreach of this message. These efforts in addition to improving the enforcement of federal laws and working alongside organizations that already exist in colleges across the country will extend the influence of the “It’s On Us” campaign.

For far too long nothing has been done to challenge and change the way sexual assault is viewed. But through a government campaign, campus endorsements and multiple PSA’s, we can hope that the message will get across. UCLA has joined this initiative, in addition to many other universities across the country. The PSA for UCLA can be viewed here:

It portrays multiple student athletes at UCLA supporting this campaign and dictates why all of us should too. The purpose of the “It’s On Us” campaign is to create awareness about these crimes being committed and to call men and women to become part of the solution to end campus sexual assault.

To further increase the reach of this message, many celebrities were enlisted to take part in the PSA for the campaign as well. The campaign website outlines what to do if you or someone you know is in a situation where your safety may be compromised. The primary message of this campaign is to act, and not stand idly by when your actions could protect someone else from harm.

Now you may think that it isn’t your responsibility to take charge and help someone else in need. Taking action shouldn’t require you to decide whether or not its worth your time to help someone, the right thing to do is to help. That’s it. Most students know someone who has been sexually assaulted, many of these assaults could have been prevented if someone had acted and stepped up.  Simply asking someone if they are okay or need help can save them from being taken advantage of, all it takes is one person to make that difference. There are multiple PSA’s that are circulating on television and on mass media for the campaign. However the only interaction I have had with them here on campus is at a basketball game and once during a commercial break at home. Therefore the reach of this campaign is not extending as far as it should. Sexual assault is a problem that affects us all, it harms our safety and the safety of those we love. Supporting this campaign is in the benefit of everyone. Society today tends to look the other way when it comes to sexual assault, the young men and women on campuses across America need to rise up and stand against this. The campaign is for students, so as students who benefit from this campaign we should support it.

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7000 in Solidarity has taken on the “It’s On Us” campaign and is working to extend its reach on the UCLA campus. 7000 is UCLA’s own student run campaign against sexual assault and works hard to promote discussion of sexual assault on campus and bring this issue to the forefront.  Their campaign page states that, “1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience sexual violence over the course of their lifetime. That means 7,000 Bruins will be survivors of sexual assault.”

As a current undergraduate at UCLA, this is not a comforting fact. To increase awareness, they have launched a photo series depicting UCLA students who are supporting this initiative. This project garnered the attention of BuzzFeed as well, further spreading the importance of this message. There is no doubt that sexual assault is a problem that must be addressed. The fact that the White House has launched an initiative for this cause is encouraging and the spread of this message by 7000 in Solidarity is incredibly important. This cause needs to reach as many people as possible because it is a cause that is for the benefit of us all. Hopefully these efforts will change the way sexual assault is viewed and the perspective of victim blaming will become obsolete. To learn more about the “It’s On Us” campaign you can go to this website.

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