The University of Southern Mississippi SGA will host its first weeklong event dedicated to sexual assault on college campuses. SGA’s It’s On Us awareness week will take place Tuesday through Thursday with events including a student leaders meeting and a gathering with UPD to discuss sexual assault.
“It is important to promote an initiative like this because it addresses an issue that isn’t necessarily a normal thing that students talk about,” SGA President Jeffrey George said.
“If students begin to talk about the issues surrounding sexual assault on our campus, then we can work together to find solutions.”
George said it is also important to make sure that victims know they are supported at Southern Miss and should not be afraid to speak out if they have been assaulted.
Stephen Cobb, chief of staff for SGA, said the aim of the campaign is not telling people how they can avoid becoming victims, but instead how they can intervene situations to protect their peers and fellow students. He also said SGA hopes to reach out to the student body with information on how they can assist in these situations and where they can go for resources, whether they are just concerned students or victims.
“The It’s On Us campaign is all about teaching students how to stand up and say something in order to prevent those around us from becoming victims,” George said.
One in 5 women is a target of attempted or completed sexual assault while in college, according to a 2007 study by the U.S. Department of Justice. The study also found that this is compared to about 1 in 16 college men.
College-aged women are four times more likely than other age group to face sexual assault, reported The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.
SGA’s It’s On Us awareness week’s events:
Tuesday, March 24
Student leaders meeting, 7 p.m., Student Activities Hub (student organizations presidents including IFC, CPC, NPHC, SMAC, Student Athlete Advisor Committee and others are invited to attend)
Thursday, March 26
It’s On Us awareness event with UPD, 7:30 p.m., third floor of South End Zone
UPD will discuss how sexual assault affects students on campus.
Students and the campus community are also encouraged to share the It’s On Us awareness campaign through social media by using the #ItsOnUs national hashtag and Southern Miss’ #ItsOnUsUSM