It’s On Us Campaign
As the White House marks the one-year anniversary of the anti-sexual assault campaign It’s On Us on September 19, Georgia State is ramping up efforts to help spread the message that everyone has a role in preventing sexual assaults.
“We want this to be a safe campus for everyone,” said Annette Butler, director of AA/EEO training and compliance in the Office of Opportunity Development. “There are federal and campus policies that are in place here to make sure this is a respectful and an inclusive environment.”
“It’s On Us” campaign encourages campus leaders to create ways to open the dialogue on sexual violence, which affects up to one in five women nationally during their college years. The campaign’s latest public service announcement, titled “The One Thing,” focuses on the importance of consent when engaging in sexual activity.
Georgia State students are learning more about sexual assault issues through presentations and online training this semester. Since 2013, more than 6,000 students have completed Haven, an online course offered to raise understanding on sexual assault.
“We are very proactive in educating and telling our kids not to put themselves in those situations,” said Kelcey Roegiers-Jensen, senior woman administrator in the Athletics Department and the Title IX gender equity liaison. “It’s very important, because one bad decision can ruin your life.”
Sexual assault training is required for students working in Housing and the Student Recreation Center, athletes and for students enrolled in GSU 1010, an orientation course for new students that provides essential information about academic demands of the university, rules, resources, and social and personal survival skills.
“We talk to them specifically about how to obtain (sexual) consent and what is not consent,” said Jaray Gillespie, assistant dean of students. “Every work environment is a little different and we want people to be able to identify behaviors that are unacceptable in our community.”
The university has increased the number of employees available to give presentations about sexual assault since the “It’s On Us” campaign started and a Haven course will soon be available for employees, Butler said.
“We want our employees to have the knowledge they need to act appropriately if someone does come to them to share information,” Butler said. “They need to know they are considered responsible employees. They have a duty to report sexual assaults and that they are not a confidential resource.”
Athletics started promoting the “It’s On Us” campaign at Georgia State during the spring semester when it created a video about how every individual can be involved in stopping sexual assault. More than 1,500 people have watched the video, which features student athletes, Greek organizations, the Student Government Association and the 1913 Society.
Basketball student-athletes wore “It’s on Us” t-shirts during warmups, as well as twice on the road as the Sun Belt Conference embraced the initiative across the league.
Joined by the Office of Student Health Promotion, student-athletes also asked students, faculty and staff to sign a personal commitment pledge to help keep women and men safe from sexual assault. More than 215,000 people have taken the It’s On Us pledge nationally.
Georgia State and its partners recently introduced a climate survey to aid colleges and universities across the country in stemming sexual assaults on their campuses.
The free survey was developed by the Administrator Researcher Campus Climate Collaborative (ARC3), a consortium of sexual assault researchers and student affairs professionals responding to calls by the Obama administration to strengthen efforts to prevent campus sexual assaults.
“As institutions move to be proactive in preventing sexual violence, it’s imperative that we go to the root of the problem: people who are engaging in violent, harassing behaviors and the norms that allow the behavior to continue,” said Kevin Swartout, assistant professor of psychology at Georgia State and a member of the consortium.
To take the “It’s On Us” pledge, visit itsonus.org. Watch the Georgia State “It’s On Us” video here.