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Letter to the Editor: It’s On Us

Julia Watson and Erik Zorn

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Dear Members of the Northwestern Community,

As the new school year begins, we haven’t forgotten that the statistics surrounding campus sexual assault have not changed. One in five women and one in sixteen men has been sexually assaulted during their time in college. Eight in 10 victims knew their attacker, and 95 percent of sexual assaults go unreported for various reasons.

Last year, Northwestern faced several lawsuits and heavy criticism for its handling of potential Title IX violations. While the issue of sexual assault is not unique to Northwestern, we can do better as a community to prevent sexual assault on campus.

On Sept. 19, President Barack Obama launched a new national campaign called “It’s On Us” to end campus sexual assault. Its mission is clear; the responsibility to stop sexual assault is on everyone, regardless of gender, and it’s on us to stand up and not stand by when sexual assault occurs. The campaign has four main pillars:

To recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault.

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.

As members of the Northwestern community, we each have a responsibility to create and sustain a safe environment for all students. This means intervening in unsafe situations instead of looking the other way. Each and every one of us has the potential to make a difference, and it’s on us to make Northwestern a safer place for its members.

Today, we’re asking you to join us in taking the pledge. One is too many. Together, let’s work to end sexual assault at Northwestern.

Julia Watson and Erik Zorn
Associated Student Government president and executive vice president

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