The recent sexual assault case surrounding Brock Turner acquired much media coverage and sparked controversy due to his 6-month sentencing and subsequent release after 3-months for good behavior.
News of Turner’s punishment for the rape of a 22-year-old woman on the Stanford University campus caused concern for college students, friends of college students and parents.
The University of Southern Mississippi houses multiple organizations on campus focused on bringing awareness to sexual assault and makes efforts to promote safety, education and justice.
It’s On Us is a nation-wide sexual assault awareness campaign that strives to create safe environments for women and men while educating on bystander awareness. Southern Miss has adopted It’s On Us as a campus organization, backed by Alpha Chi Omega and other groups.
It’s On Us offers the opportunity to take a pledge against sexual violence.
“To recognize that non- consensual sex is sexual assault,” the pledge states. “To identify situations in which sexual assault may occur. To intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given. To create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.”
Carlee Welch-Dick, current director of It’s On Us, said the the fall and spring activities hosted by the organization are focused on education of statistics and how bystanders can get involved and help.
“I know USM would have taken the right measures,” said Ava Wolf, recent USM alum and previous director of It’s On Us. “I think there is much more to it than university safety. It’s laws and policies.”
Greek Life organizations are often associated with similar cases. Alpha Chi Omega supports domestic violence awareness as its national philanthropy and holds many events every year to combat the issue.
Many students said their concerns for safety are most prevalent toward the party culture that is associated with Greek Life. In response, fraternity men have joined the fight against violence as well.
“I believe men, especially fraternity men who often represent various organizational values, should take a more active role in creating awareness of sexual assault and [take vaster preventative] measures than the current standard,” said Sigma Nu Fraternity member Will Thompson. “We should be the ones supporting and rallying for the It’s On Us campaign. We have the power to change that.”
Turner’s case results have strengthened the drive to end sexual violence at universities. Organizations across the board are taking the issue more seriously since Turner’s case to ensure that college campuses are safe for students and non-students.