Although journalistic missteps have grabbed attention of late, a recent Rolling Stone article detailing a dramatic incident of campus rape at UVA has, nevertheless, exposed a lack of clear sanctions regarding sexual misconduct at the school. On the UVA campus, the article and resulting media attention prompted more survivors of campus sexual assault to come forward. But regardless of where the truth lies at UVA, false reporting is extremely rare and the tragedy of the UVA case may be that all victims will face a further uphill climb to be heard.
Now is the time for all of us, especially colleges and universities, to focus on the next steps required to create a Culture of Respect on every campus. We believe schools have an obligation to teach students, administrators, faculty, parents, coaches and health professionals to move beyond quick fixes to campus sexual assault and focus on the humanity in all of us. This demands every constituent’s voice and a multi-pronged approach to eradicating rape culture on college campuses. Forging ahead to face this task takes time and commitment – it is not easy work but it can and must be done. Our CORE (Culture of Respect Engagement) Blueprint is a framework for change that will create large-scale waves towards norms that encourage respect for all people and reduce the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses. As the ripple effects of the UVA story continue, let us not lose focus on what is truly important: supporting the many survivors of campus sexual assault and building a Culture of Respect.