National ‘It’s on Us’ campaign comes to DCCC

Monday, April 11, 2016
11

By Alicia Stearn

Picture yourself at a party with more than 100 other students from your college.

As you’re walking around the room you notice a girl screaming at a man who is grabbing her arm and pulling her closer to him, “Stop! Get off of me!”

As the other people at the party just walk by you ask yourself, “Why isn’t anyone helping her?” and say to your friend, “Is that girl okay?”

Your friend replies, “Yeah, they dated last semester. She’s probably just flirting with him.”

Days go by and then you hear all over campus that he’s being charged with sexual assault from that night.

What would have happened if you had spoken up?

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, eight out of 10 rape victims know the person who sexually assaulted them.

On college campuses, more than 90 percent of victims of sexual assault don’t report it, the center adds.

To combat this problem, the “It’s On Us” pledge came to DCCC to make students more aware of what consent is and to make a promise to not just be a bystander.

The idea began in April 2011 but took hold in September 2014 when President Obama and Vice President Biden created the “White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.”

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Colleges and universities were strongly encouraged to educate the students about sexual assault and notify them of where to go if they were a victim. The task force also encourages students to intervene if they see something that isn’t right.

“Sexual violence is the most prevalent and underreported crime at colleges and universities, affecting an estimated one in five women and one in 16 men during their lifetime on campus,” the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) states.

According to the organizations website, the “It’s On Us” pledge identifies four rules for those who decide to sign the pledge, which they can practice on and off campus:

1) To recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault.

2) To identify situations in which sexual assault may occur.

3) To intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given.

4) To create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.

“It’s about raising awareness of what ‘no’ really means,” Exton campus counselor Bridget Panza explained. “It’s students first time away from home and they have much more freedom.”

Ralph Marano, a full-time counselor at DCCC’s Marple campus, explained that the pledge is to educate students about not only sexual violence and statistics, but of other resources in the community that can help victims.

“It’s an immediate concern in residential campuses where students are living together,” Marano said. “We’re not pressuring, we’re just educating.”

The pledge has 93 supporters, including Snapchat, EA Sports, CustomInk, and

Bing, and after it’s 2014 launch, 215,000 signers.

“Pennsylvania is the first state to launch a statewide “It’s On Us” campaign,” the PDE stated.

Victims of sexual assault are also statistically proven to have a higher drop out rate, and lower GPA, resulting in an income loss over the course of their lifetime.

The DCCC Phantom’s basketball team decided to pledge as a whole.

One of the players, Amonie Holloman, said, “I took a criminology class and we looked at statistics, and sexual violence was at the top.”

Gina DiLuzio, a psychology major at DCCC, explained that the pledge will bring awareness to people who are too afraid to speak up and bring people at this college closer together.

The pledge’s website gives a list of 17 tips about sexual assault and consent, along with the supporters and signers names, videos of victims speaking out, and more information about donations.

The first tip on the pledge’s website is, “Consent is voluntary and mutual and can be withdrawn at any time.”

These tips help students better understand what consent is by explaining that “past consent does not mean current

or future consent.”    

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