University students fight on-campus sexual assault

Posted by: Abigail Wood

UNL students are raising awareness about sexual assault and how it can be prevented, devoting an entire week to the “It’s On Us” campaign.

The goal behind It’s On Us is to encourage students to take responsibility for the people around them and be bold about when to intervene in cases of sexual violence.

UNL Senior Chris Moore, working with the campus Women’s Center and student government ASUN, spear-headed the week of events, which began today with a booth in the student union where passerby could sign a pledge.

“It’s just kind of to tell each individual student to not be an innocent bystander,” Moore said. “If you ever see something, say something. If you see some sort of sexual assault to anything that seems like ‘iffy’ behavior, just do something about it. It’s time for us to take action.”

Students staffing the booth said the response has been good.

“A lot of students are really responsive,” said sophomore Claire Shea. “Everyone really cares about this topic. It’s just getting that conversation started.”

Sophomore Emily Ahmann added that it was important to be there before the assault happened and prevent, rather then simply focusing efforts after the fact.

Other events include a screening of “The Hunting Ground,” a movie raising awareness of sexual assault, an open mike night centered around social justice, and a speech by Jamar Banks, one of the people who started Prevent, a group working to end sexual violence through peer education.

“The goal of ‘It’s On Us’ is to change the culture around sexual assault,” said sophomore Josie Jensen, “so that it’s no longer something people are afraid to talk about.”

The women’s center at UNL said the university has made strides in recent years in the fight against on-campus assault, coordinating with Voices of Hope and Victim Advocate to help prevent situations before they arise.