“Feeling comfortable and supported when speaking out about sexual assault.” “Ensuring a safe environment for all.” “To listen, not to judge.” “Respect yourself. Respect others.”
These are just some of the ways college students defined, in pictures and videos, what a Culture of Respect looks like on their campuses. These student submissions were posted on social media for our #CultureofRespect Day of Action, highlighting Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). SAAM is a national initiative undertaken annually by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, focusing this year on campus sexual assault. While student activism continues on campuses nationally throughout April, Culture of Respect is partnering with 10 campuses to enhance student-centric programming. These efforts will include a screening of The Hunting Ground at Georgetown Law and a Sexual Assault Teach-In at UVM. It has been energizing to witness and participate in this month of campus activism, but to create lasting change, campus efforts must extend long past April.
To that end, it is exciting for us to see college administrators making changes on their campuses. Many of those changes reflect our CORE (Culture of Respect Engagement) Blueprint. These long-term initiatives echo the CORE’s comprehensive approach to preventing and responding to campus sexual violence. Some notable recent examples:
CLIMATE SURVEYS – University of Chicago will launch a Spring 2015 Climate Survey this month. Anonymous and confidential, this survey will provide essential information to guide efforts on sexual misconduct prevention, education and awareness programs.
INVOLVE ALL STAKEHOLDERS – Williams College, recognizing that all stakeholders must be engaged to create lasting change, has adopted a holistic approach to sexual assault prevention. This approach includes students, administrators, faculty, alumni, campus safety, athletics and others.
TRANSPARENCY + SUPPORT – University of Michigan has recently released a video highlighting the collective efforts and resources being put in place to address sexual violence on campus. The video features institutional leaders, patient care providers and faculty addressing this issue in both their teaching and their research.
ROBUST EDUCATION – Fitchburg State openly acknowledges the problem of sexual assault on their campus. Their Anti-Violence Education (FAVE) program builds on that, harnessing the power of education via acclaimed, theatre-based bystander intervention programming for all incoming students.
FAVE was covered in a recent article in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Public Purpose magazine also featuring Culture of Respect’s Pilot Program which will implement and assess our CORE Blueprint on diverse campuses. Dean of Students Douglas Stoves, who is spearheading Culture of Respect’s Pilot Program at University of Texas at Brownsville, describes it “as an opportunity to become a leader in education and prevention of sexual assault.” Interested in participating in the Pilot Program? Contact executive director Allison Tombros Korman (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
We want to thank all the students and schools who are partnering with Culture of Respect this April to make their voices heard on campus. We are making great strides, but to truly end campus sexual assault, let’s make April last all year.