Know The Law & Your School’s Sexual Assault Policy
Title IX, The Clery Act, and The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) guide how colleges have to respond to sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking on campus.
Many colleges are rewriting their policies to keep up with changes in these laws and to best help victims. If you know these laws and your school’s policies you’ll be able to pinpoint where changes need to happen.
All colleges must have a Title IX Coordinator who understands these laws and works on the school’s response to sexual violence, if you know who the Coordinator is on campus then you’ll know who to go to with concerns.
Understand Your Numbers
Know how your college compares to the rest of the country. Schools are required to make their crime reports public knowledge, so it should be easy to see sexual violence on your campus by the numbers. Keep in mind that rape is the most underreported crime, so the numbers reported will not reflect the true incidence of rape on your campus, but it can give you a place to start setting goals for change.
Listen To Other Students And Survivors
The voices of survivors are vital in making change on campus. Not only do stories bring life to statistics and number, they help to make the problem of rape on campus real for people who may be skeptical. Stories are a powerful tool for change. It’s important to remember to be respectful when others share their stories, and always get permission before you share anyone’s personal experience in your prevention campaign.
Spread The Word
Now that you know the facts, make sure everyone else knows them too. Social media, rallies and marches, information tables, there are dozens of creative ways to raise awareness! The Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence is a great resource to support you in planning events and making change on your campus.
Step In And Speak Out
When you see something wrong- street harassment, someone at a party who is very drunk, someone yelling at or intimidating their partner- and you feel safe enough to step in do it! Make a distraction, get the vulnerable person home safely, engage friends or other bystanders to help intervene, or call campus police. If more and more people speak out against sexual and domestic violence then perpetrators lose their license to operate.
Anti-violence work can be lonely, stressful, and difficult. It’s important to identify ways to take care of yourself and decompress to keep yourself from getting burned out. Binge-watch your favorite show, go to a concert, paint, draw, run. Do anything that makes you feel good! Caring for yourself is as important as caring for others.
Check out knowyourix.org, otherfreshman15.org, and safercampus.org for more information!