“There’s always gonna be another Friday night, and another fraternity party, and another girl.” Jackie, UVA Survivor
Why has it taken an article in Rolling Stone to grab the attention of the country when there have been hundreds of “Jackies,” all trying to make their stories heard, for years? Jackie’s story is riveting not only because it involves heinous behavior by fellow students but also because her friends didn’t help, her UVA deans didn’t help, her campus policies didn’t help, her college president didn’t help and her parents didn’t help – Jackie walked alone. “The problem once more isn’t just one university, but the broader culture. It’s ubiquitous,” said Nicholas Kristoff in a recent New York Times Op-Ed.
Culture of Respect addresses the overarching issue of rape culture and provides the framework for change on campuses via the CORE (Culture of Respect Engagement) Blueprint, the heart of our website portal.
We believe colleges have an obligation to teach students, administrators, faculty, parents, coaches and health professionals to move beyond a “band-aid fix” and focus on the humanity in all of us. This requires 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.
Not surprisingly, the messages a university sends its students about respecting oneself and one’s peers will influence the behavior of those students both at the university and afterwards, as they become citizens around the world. As Muriel A. Howard, president of American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) says, “Culture of Respect has begun a very important dialogue with the higher education community. This is an opportunity to effect change through a collaborative and transformative process that provides resources to all involved in campus sexual assault response and prevention.”
With numerous approaches available, the CORE Blueprint is prescriptive in its broad strategy but flexible in specific implementation. By utilizing the CORE Blueprint, each school has access to unique multi-tiered education and policies that will best suit their specific needs. The CORE Blueprint can create large-scale waves towards developing norms that encourage respect for all people and reduce the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses.
On Giving Tuesday, we hope you will consider Culture of Respect in your end-of-year plans. We are grateful for the opportunity to make a difference on college campuses, but we need your help. Since our website launch on October 15th we now have pilot programs underway on several campuses, and we have been invited to present our work to college presidents at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) Conference in February. Of course, our research continues on this quickly changing issue. All tax-deductible donations go directly towards updating site content, adding and refining strategies and providing assistance to those colleges and universities adopting the CORE Blueprint.
Please join us in this important effort to foster a Culture of Respect on all campuses. Donations are easy online via the DONATE button on our home page.
With gratitude as we approach the holiday season,
Sandi and John Fifield, co-founders