Student organizations host sexual assault awareness week

Posted on Nov 9 2015 - 10:23am by Zoe McDonald

Last fall after the White House launched the It’s On Us campaign, universities, on-campus groups, businesses and other organizations signed their pledge to become involved, educated and aware of sexual assault.

Rebels Against Sexual Assault and ASB are partnering to present It’s On Us Week to raise awareness and educate communities about sexual assault. This week, students, faculty and staff can sign the It’s On Us pledge starting Monday in front of the Union.
The pledge encourages signees to recognize consent and be aware of warning signs for sexual assault to help foster a safer environment for victims and prevent future instances.

(Students Ben White, hank Thompson and Allen Marino carry anti-violence shirts at the Take Back The Night rally in front of the Lyceum last April)

(Students Ben White, Hank Thompson and Allen Marino carry anti-violence shirts at the Take Back The Night rally in front of the Lyceum last April)

On Wednesday, there will be a screening of “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary about different rape cases on college campuses. After the screening, there will be a short question and answer session.

On Thursday from 5:30-7 p.m., there will be a discussion panel with the Title IX coordinator Honey Ussery, the Oxford Police Department, and the director of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Aniesha Mitchell.

Sophomore international studies major and RASA secretary Sydney Green said It’s On Us week is about bringing attention to the sexual assault issue.

“We want to educate our fellow students about sexual assault and its prevalence on college campuses,” Green said. “We want to make sure that all of the University of Mississippi students know what resources are available to them and what they can do if they find they have experienced sexual assault.”

Junior international studies major, ASB senator, and co-founder and President of RASA Elizabeth Romary said It’s On Us Week will spark conversation surrounding sexual assault.

“We hope to get a discussion going about sexual assault on college campuses,” Romary said. “We’ll answer more questions about the film, what we can do as students and what we can do as a University and as a community.”

The week will end with The Clothesline Project, a display of community-crafted t-shirts to bring attention to the issues surrounding violence against women. RASA will invite members of the community to make t-shirts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Minor Hall room B05C. The shirts will be hung outside on the Student Union plaza Friday. The shirts are anonymous and may tell a specific story, represent a victim of violence or share educational tidbits.

“We’re really pushing the message that it’s on us as a university to take action, take a stand and stop sexual assault. If you see something, say something,” Romary said.

“Sexual assault is kind of a thing that you know happens but you don’t want to talk about it. That’s what I noticed before this started. Now, it’s coming up in conversation more.”

According to Green and Romary, RASA almost always receives positive reactions from people.

“I think nationally, the stigma is lessening around [sexual assault],” Green said. “So it’s, maybe not easier, but people feel more comfortable talking about the issue.”