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It's On Us Week of Action shows that sexual assault is everyone's issue

April 20, 2017

The It’s On Us Week of Action is coming up, and it marks an effort by UW-River Falls to bring attention to an important issue: sexual assault on college campuses. The White House campaign has been going strong at UWRF for two years now, and we are continually grateful to see that it is still thriving on our campus.

This semester, the UWRF Student Senate approved the allocation of $4,200 to fund the week’s events. Despite the feelings some may have about whether this is an effective use of funds, we think it is money well spent. After all, according to the campaign, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men will be sexually assaulted in college.

A series of events will be held from April 24-28, including a t-shirt giveaway on Monday, a film screening and a volleyball tournament. We encourage everyone to attend these events and participate if able. The winning team of the volleyball tournament, for example, gets a $100 gift card to Domino's and another $100 to the charity of their choice.

The film screening for the documentary “Yeah Maybe, No” addresses another aspect of sexual assault that often goes unaddressed: It can happen to anyone. The film follows Blake, a young man, as he struggles to come to terms with his past experiences of sexual assault. It also shows the need for supporting survivors, both in the legal system and in terms of general peer support.

If you can’t make it to any of the events, there are other ways you can participate. For example, wear jeans on Wednesday in support of Denim Day. The day was created by nonprofit Peace Over Violence in response to an Italian Supreme Court case. In the case, a rape conviction was overturned based on the assumption that the sexual assault survivor’s jeans were too tight, meaning she must have helped her attacker remove them and thus given consent – which is horrifying logic.

One of the pillars of It’s On Us is that we need to intervene and not just be passive bystanders. If you see two people leaving a party and one of them looks wary or too impaired to consent, for example, check on that person.

Sexual assault is everyone’s issue. In environments like college campuses, where young adults are figuring out how to view the world, raising awareness of issues like this is of utmost importance, and it’s for this reason we will continue to support It’s On Us for years to come.