University launches campaign against sexual assault

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Feb. 18, 2015

By Alexandria Zamecnik

UW-Whitewater launched an “It’s On Us” campaign on Feb. 12, the day before the final incident police report on the alleged sexual assault was released to the public. The “It’s On Us” campaign is a cultural movement aimed at fundamentally shifting the way people think about sexual assault.

The initiative was started nationally on Sept. 19 by President Obama and the Whitehouse as an awareness campaign to help put an end to sexual assault on college campuses. The UW-W campaign includes a video, t-shirts and sharing of the “It’s On Us” logo.

By Feb. 20, the total number of views on the video is expected to be over 3,000.

“It’s On Us” was brought to campus after Whitney Henley found out about it through her role as Wellness Coordinator at UW-W and through the organization Supporting a Violence-Free Environment (SAVE).

The campaign is a rallying cry inviting everyone to step up and realize that the solution begins with us. It’s a declaration that sexual assault is not only a crime committed by a perpetrator against a victim, but a societal problem in which all of us have a role to play, according to Itsonus.org.

“We’re doing a great job of learning about sexual assaults and knowing that it’s something that happens to so many people and the negative effects of it are just huge,” Henley said. “I think we’re seeing that people are a little more comfortable around that.”

Sam Gutbrod, president of SAVE at UW-W and secondary education major said, acknowledging sexual assault is such an important topic but too many feel like it’s taboo to talk about or people are often bystanders without realizing it.

“One huge problem is the bystander effect,” Gutbrod said.  “When a car accident happens, no one calls 911 because they all think someone else is. It’s the same with sexual assault. They see something wrong happening, but think that someone else will stand up and take control of the situation.”

Henley said there are many resources available for students to talk to.

“If a student wants to report a sexual assault, they may call 911 at any time,” Henley said in an email. “Students may also contact the Dean of Student’s Office to file a report on campus and to request accommodations. To speak confidentially with someone, students can go to University Health & Counseling Services or Winther Counseling Lab.”