SRU offers April 7 sexual assault prevention event, releases campus “It’s on Us” video


March 21, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University will join the national annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate individuals on how to prevent sexual violence when it hosts an informational program from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 7 on the Quad. The program is part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month; a campaign coordinated each April by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Various campus offices and departments that serve survivors of sexual assault will provide information about the definition of sexual assault, prevention and intervention, said Jodi Solito, director of the SRU Women's Center/Pride Center. The VOICe, a community agency, will also participate.

National statistics about sexual violence are staggering, Solito said. According to the NSVRC, one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives; in eight out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the person who sexually assaulted them. Unfortunately, rape is the most under-reported crime; 63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported, and only 12 percent of child sexual abuse is reported to authorities.

A big part or the mission of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is to instill a sense of responsibility for bystanders to come forward if they suspect or witness an incident, noted the NSVRC.

SRU offers a number of programs to combat sexual harassment and assault.

Last fall, the University's joined the "It's on Us" national movement, which is aimed at changing the way people think about sexual assault. The campaign encourages everyone to step up and realize that sexual assault isn't just an issue involving a victim and a perpetrator, but one that involves everyone. "The 'It's on Us' movement challenges us to take responsibility for ourselves and each other," Solito said.

In an effort to keep the message in front of people that each person is responsible for helping to stop sexual assault, and utilize social media as a communication channel, the Office of University Communication and Public Affairs developed a campus-specific video encouraging people to sign a four-point pledge to be part of the solution.

Other events have included a "Take Back the Night" program and a presentation from a father who lost his daughter to interpersonal violence.

SRU has participated in the Community Alliance Clothesline Project, displaying more than 40 T-shirts with anti-violence messages at the SGA Pavilion in The Quad.

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