It’s On Us: Sexual Assault Awareness Week


Evan Halpop

Students release a lantern to honor victims of sexual assault during a survivors vigil on Oct. 27 outside Perkins Stadium. The ceremony was a part of “It’s On Us,” a national movement to raise awareness and prevent sexual assault on college campuses.

Hannah Schultz, Staff Writer

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater hosted the It’s On Us week on Monday, October 23 to Thursday, October 26. The It’s On Us week is dedicated to raising awareness and stopping sexual assault on college campuses. Events were held each of the four days, and ended with a Survivor Vigil on Thursday in the Perkins Stadium parking lot.

It’s On Us is a national movement started in September 2014 following the White House Task Force to Prevent Sexual Assault’s recommendation to educate everyone about the issue. The organization works to educate, engage and empower students across the country to stand up and take action against sexual assault.

The organization works with 95 partners and students, along with over 500 college campuses. Just in the past two years, nearly 300,00 people have taken a stand by taking the It’s On Us pledge against sexual assault.

Part of the It’s On Us strategy is encouraging college campuses to participate in the week of action. There were four days of events including a self-defense course, Bingo Night, “The Hunting Ground” film, It’s On Us t-shirt sales and the Survivor Vigil.

The self-defense course was held in the University Center Hamilton Room on Monday, October 23 at 5 p.m. This course was an opportunity for students to learn techniques in order to defend themselves against an offender.

Bingo Night was Tuesday, October 24 at 7 p.m. in the University Center Old Main Ballroom. Students were able to get together for a fun game, and to reflect on the issue at hand.

Wednesday, October 25 at 5 p.m. was a viewing of “The Hunting Ground” in Hyland Hall’s Timmerman Auditorium. The film is a documentary about various sexual assault cases on college campuses across the United States. It shows the challenges faced by victims to find justice, the leniency on offender actions and the failure of college administrations to deal with the problem adequately.

It’s On Us t-shirts were sold during the week to raise money in support of the cause. Bryan Thommes said that over 1,600 shirts were sold in just a week raising over $7,500.

“We had to have sold ten times more shirts than in the past,” says Thommes.

The week ended in the Perkins Stadium parking lot on Thursday, October 26 at 6 p.m. for the Survivor Vigil. This event was a coming together of UW-Whitewater students to show their support for the cause.

“This is an issue where we all need to join arms and join hands and all work together,” says Chancellor Beverly A. Kopper. “Seeing everyone here truly represents us as a Warhawk family. Adapt and overcome is what Warhawks do.”

The vigil included the lighting and release of lanterns in honor of those who have fallen victim to sexual assault and have overcome it.