Back in January, the President launched the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault to address sexual assault on college campuses. The White House reports that one in five women are forced to have sex without their consent during their lifetime and one in five women are sexually assaulted at college.
Recently, President Obama said during his Weekly Address, the task force will work to help schools do a better job of preventing and responding to sexual assault crimes, the government will work to strengthen the criminal justice system, and everyone should work to educate males and females about sexual assault.
As a woman on a college campus, I am very aware of this epidemic. I am not immune to the stories of such atrocities and am happy the White House sees fit to introduce the new task force. Now, the task force is looking for college students’ help.
Since its introduction, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault has been holding virtual, public listening sessions. It has asked us, college students, and many other groups to participate and add to the conversation.
On the United States Department of Justice website, the OVW BLOG will host a session specifically for students and survivors on Feb. 25 from 5 to 6 p.m. This would be a great way for anyone on the Slippery Rock campus to get their opinions heard. There will also be an open forum session on Feb. 26 from 3 to 4 p.m.
Many times as a undergraduate student I feel that I am at school to learn and am not able to let my opinions be heard. With an issue that is directly related to my age group, this opportunity is once in a lifetime. Those who choose to participate may help mold future policy and facilitate change.
As a community, we need to break down the taboo and uncomfortable tension that surrounds the mere mention of sexual assault. College females are not the only people that can contribute to change. Anyone can help: college males, professors, law enforcement, parents, etc.
Every person deserves to feel safe, especially on a college campus. With the new task force, there are steps being made to decrease sexual assaults on campuses and increase the safety of students.
There are moments when a person has to decide whether to sit aside and let what is common continue or be brave and speak about what is uncomfortable. I hope you are brave.