According to a recent study by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes, with 60% of estimated cases left unreported. Graduate students in George Washington University’s School of Public Health are working to change this through various projects including a panel held Wednesday night.
The panel featured GW Students, members of the Sexual Assault Response Consultative Team (SARC), a D.C. prosecutor who works specifically on sexual assault cases and a representative from “Men Can Stop Rape,” an organization that aims to inspire men to use their strength to create a violence-free society. The panelists came together to discuss myths, tips and the climate surrounding sexual assault. Together, the panel brought perspectives together to take on myths and bring the discussion of sexual assault to the forefront of the university community.
The GW administration has been working to make sexual assault part of the conversation on campus. Most visible is a video pledging support for the “It’s on Us” campaign, which features members of the S.A., athletics, multicultural community and Greek life. This is just one step the GW community is taking to improve education and response on campus.
Candace Johnson, a consultant on the Sexual Assault Response Consultative Team (SARC) said that they have seen an increase in calls made by freshman. She suggests that this can be attributed to freshman orientation, known as CI. One of the skits targeted resources and response to sexual assault, calling attention to both SARC and Haven, two organizations on campus that students have access to at any time.
In addition to this, a committee was formed featuring students, faculty and administration in order to compile different perspectives of sexual assault. The committee hopes to work long-term to identify problems and come up with solutions. Student Association Vice President, Avra Bossov, is excited about the progress GW’s campus has made and remains hopeful for long-term success.
“Rather than just talking about it, I’m looking forward to actually doing something about it,” said Bossov.
Bossov was one of the students who traveled the short journey to the White House a few weeks ago to take part in a roundtable discussion with the Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama. While the details of the meeting in the Roosevelt Room have not been released, students can look for events over the next month promoting the “It’s on Us,” campaign that has been sweeping the campus and nation.
Wednesday’s panel was sponsored by the “Unless I say Yes” campaign, the GW School of Public Health, S.A., GW Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA), the Association of Queer Women and Allies, the GW MBA Association and the Black Public Health Student Network.