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Weekly Roundup
Posted by On Friday, April 24, 2015

As we approach the end of this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we have two announcements related to the annual event and speculation that a new study might shine more light on the prevalence of sexual violence on American campuses.

White House Blog Post on SAAM

The current White House has been particularly active on the issue of campus sexual assault, launching the “It’s On Us” campaign as part of an overall initiative to reduce sexual violence at institutions of higher education. For sexual assault awareness month, the White House has publicized the accomplishments of the “It’s On Us” campaign, including a recent appearance by Vice President Biden. Those include 600 It’s On Us events, 300 campus It’s On Us student campaigns, 200,000 It’s On Us pledges taken, and partnerships with the likes of Funny or Die and Pandora.

DOJ and DOE SAAM Statement

The Department of Justice and Department of Education took a different route, recognizing SAAM by publishing a blog post that explained the multi-pronged approach for addressing campus sexual assault. Specifically, the post weighed in on an often-asked and somewhat fraught question: Why are schools investigating crimes, which should fall under the jurisdiction of the local police force? The post points out that college administrators are required by civil rights laws to provide a safe and supportive learning environment to victim/survivors of sexual assault. Law enforcement, on the other hand, handles criminal justice matters.

Could the AAU Climate Survey Shed More Light on the Prevalence of Assault in College?

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses. The commonly cited statistic that 1 in 5 female college students will be assaulted before graduating is often attacked by critics who maintain that the real number is much lower. Others suggest that the actual number may be even higher. Of course, such a controversy is possible mostly because of the lack of empirical data surrounding sexual assault. Now, some people are hoping a new survey from the American Association of Universities could change that. The above piece from Business Insider speculates that the new survey, which will be made available to 800,000 students at 27 institutions, will provide the raw data necessary to better understand the prevalence of sexual assault, and hopefully improve efforts to fight it. The AAU climate survey also has its critics, including a group of researchers who claim that the survey “is proprietary and therefore not available for scientific examination” and that AAU plans to release aggregated data instead of individual campus data needed for comparison.

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Weekly Roundup
Posted by On Friday, April 3, 2015

For our first roundup of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we have a Presidential Proclamation for SAAM 2015, the results of a new survey on millennials’ beliefs about the prevalence of sexual assault, and Yale’s rollout of a new survey on sexual violence.

Presidential Proclamation

In recognition of National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month 2015, President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation, declaring “During National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, let us commit to being part of the solution and rededicate ourselves to creating a society where violence is not tolerated, survivors are supported, and all people are able to pursue their fullest measure of happiness without fear of abuse or assault.” The White House Task Force established in January 2014 helped bring campus sexual assault out of the shadows by issuing its First Report and creating the website www.NotAlone.gov to make Department of Education enforcement activities, as well as resources for students and schools easily accessible. In addition, the White House 1 is 2 Many report commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act. However, as this report points out, while VAWA changed intimate partner violence from a “private family matter” to a crime, much remains to be done to eliminate sexual violence.

Three-Quarters of Millennials Think Sexual Assault is Common on College Campuses

A new survey of millennials (here defined as people born between 1980 and 2000) conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, offers insight into that age group’s beliefs about the prevalence of sexual assault. 73% of millennials said they believed that sexual assault was somewhat or very common on college campuses. A further 60% of those surveyed said that colleges do not do enough to address the problem. The numbers are particularly notable when contrasted with the results of a similar question asked of college presidents in a recent Higher Education survey: just 32% agreed that sexual assault was prevalent on American campuses, and only 6% believed it was prevalent on their own campus. This piece from the Washington Post has some enlightening analysis on the significance of those very different results.

Yale Rolls Out Climate Survey

We’ve reported before on the Association of American Universities’ campus climate survey on sexual misconduct. Schools are now beginning to administer that survey, known as the Campus Sexual Climate Survey. Yale University launched the survey yesterday, making it available to its entire population of graduate and undergraduate students. When all is said and done the AAU survey will be administered by 27 schools and reach more than 800,000 students. The AAU and participating universities hope that the results, when released, will help introduce much needed data into the conversation about campus sexual assault.

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4 Resources to Start Your Campaign Around Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Posted by On Wednesday, April 1, 2015

As many of our readers are no doubt aware, today marks the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). While SAAM is always relevant to those concerned about the safety and well-being of college students, the focus of this year’s campaign is s especially relevant to institutes of higher education: the prevention of sexual violence on college campuses. We know our readers will be looking for creative and engaging ways to participate. Here are some ideas and resources to get you started.

Plan an Event

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center releases planning guides to help advocates and allies develop an effective Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign. These valuable guides provide specific event ideas and strategies for promoting awareness and engaging your community’s support and participation. Another great resource is this list of specific events on their blog.

Wear Jeans

Denim Day is Wednesday, April 29th this year. Denim Day started as a protest against a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court that overturned a rape conviction because the victim’s jeans were “too tight” for the attacker to remove without the victim’s help. Denim Day was conceived as a protest against all such misconceptions about sexual violence. You can show your support by organizing a full-fledged campaign around Denim Day on your campus or simply wearing jeans on April 29th this year.

Watch a Movie

The Hunting Ground, a new documentary on campus rape, has been raising awareness and provoking important conversations on college and university campuses across the country. Go to a screening to educate yourself or get more people involved by arranging a field trip. Make sure to organize a follow up discussion and make support resources easily available to students and staff who may be triggered by the movie.

Host a Workshop

Our own website offers numerous resources and ideas for workshops and awareness campaigns that you can use to create programming around Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Download free posters, workshops, and other materials here and adapt them to your own campus’s needs.

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Free Posters for Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Posted by On Wednesday, April 16, 2014

SAAM_Posters_Page_2We’re already half-way through April. Hopefully, your workshops and activities centered around Sexual Assault Awareness Month have been successful. If you’re looking for other ways to raise awareness, we’ve put together a few black-and-white posters that you can download here.

They’re simple, but — we think — effective. They encourage students to educate themselves about issues surrounding sexual assault. After all, awareness is not only about giving students information, but motivating them to research the issues for themselves. We want students to become advocates!

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