By Alexis Schulz
Sexual assault has been an increasing concern over the past few months with the arrival of new procedures and policies for college campuses, and on Sept. 19 President Barack Obama unveiled the “It’s On Us” campaign aimed at combating sexual assault and domestic violence.
The campaign consists of a rallying cry for taking personal responsibility in sexual assault cases and a declaration that everyone can play a part in stopping these violent acts from occurring on college campuses. After learning about the campaign, Debbie Stasolla, associate vice president for planning, said that Rider is trying to incorporate it into new steps the university is taking against sexual assault and domestic violence.
“Work is underway to roll out the ‘It’s On Us’ campaign at Rider as part of the university’s work to build awareness about sexual violence, and Rider’s revised anti-harassment and non-discrimination policy, which addresses sexual assault, sexual misconduct, domestic and dating violence, stalking and other types of harassment and discrimination,” said Stasolla.
Many celebrities have teamed up with “It’s On Us” in efforts to universalize the campaign and bring the issue of sexual assault to the attention of the college community. Kerry Washington, an actress in Scandal; Randy Jackson, a former judge on American Idol; and Mayium Bialik, “Amy” from The Big Bang Theory, are just some of the celebrities showcased in Public Service Announcements for the campaign.
Nick McManus, sophomore information systems major, said he believes the “It’s On Us” campaign is a way for college students to become more involved with stopping sexual assault before it happens.
“I’ve seen the commercials of the ‘It’s On Us’ campaign and I think it’s a great thing,” said McManus. “Many college students look up to celebrities as role models, and I think, when students see these people getting involved with stopping sexual assault, it will make them think twice.”
Another major part of the “It’s On Us” initiative is for people to sign a pledge found on ItsOnUs.org. The pledge states that participants will recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault, identify situations in which sexual assault may occur, intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given and create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and victims are supported.
Stasolla said this campaign is a great way to let everyone know that they have a role in stopping sexual assault before it happens and will add to Rider’s efforts in stopping sexual violence on campus.
“The ‘It’s On Us’ campaign will go a long way to remind all of us as members of our Rider community, students, faculty and staff alike, of our collective responsibility to be mindful of our own safety and well-being, and the safety of those around us,” said Stasolla.