Campus initiatives attempt to start conversation about sexual assault

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    TCU student organizations have launched several campaigns in an effort to raise awareness about sexual assault.

    The office of Campus Life is collaborating with the Student Government Association and Interfraternity Council to sponsor events against sexual violence throughout the month of April, which has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the United States.

    The campaigns emphasize raising awareness. They discuss not just explaining the problem of sexual assaults, but also give students tools and resources to address the issue, Leah Carnahan, assistant dean of campus life, said.

    “We know that things still do unfortunately occur on our campus so we try to do our best to increase awareness and education to prevent sexual assaults,” Carnahan said.

    Carnahan said not only has TCU been proactive about improving sexual assault education, but students themselves have also taken the initiative to raise awareness on campus.

    The Student Government Association brought the movement Not On My Campus to TCU Student Body President Cody Westphal said

    Westphal said the student-led movement hopes to end the silence surrounding the issue of sexual assaults and to take action against it.

    “It’s about ending the silence around sexual assault and coming together as a student body to say ‘sexual assault is unacceptable and we as students will not tolerate it,’” Westphal said.

    Not On My Campus started at SMU and was brought to TCU to encourage students to engage in conversations that “challenge preconceived notions of rape and abuse,” according to the campaign’s Facebook page.

    Students who want to join the movement can get their picture taken in front of Frog Fountain or the Founder’s Statue between April 9 and 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with “Not On My Campus” written on the palm of their hand. To raise awareness about the campaign, students can post their pictures on social media.

    To take further action, those who want to participate in the movement are also asked to sign an online pledge agreeing to uphold five statements.

    “The movement changes our culture because it brings to the forefront a topic that is so often hushed,” Westphal said. “People that would possibly one day commit sexual assault will see the campus community openly rallying together and saying sexual assault will not be tolerated on our campus.”

    Another campaign, #AlcoholIsNotConsent, was brought to TCU by the Interfraternity Council (IFC) to put an end to the silence surrounding sexual assault.

    Since the majority of sexual assaults on college campuses involve alcohol, according to a study done by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,#AlcoholIsNotConsent is focused on changing the “blame it on the alcohol” mentality.

    This movement will display a series of yard signs around campus, featuring facts and statements about the issue of alcohol and sexual assault.

    “The campaign will talk about what is consent and how the role of alcohol plays into part, so it is IFC’s hope to get students to respond to these thought-provoking phrases,” Carnahan said.

    Andria Miller, sophomore English major, said the #AlcoholIsNotConsent movement should open students’ eyes about the importance of sexual assault.

    “Most people won’t take sexual assault seriously until it happens to them and I think seeing signs around campus will help us realize that things like this are more common than we think,” Miller said.

    Both IFC and SGA representatives hope to positively influence TCU students to take the initiative to step up against sexual assault.

    “Sometimes it will be hard to do the right thing in taking a stand against sexual assault, but we must,” Westphal said. “The victims of sexual assault—our friends, classmates and fellow Frogs—deserve nothing less than our fullest efforts in supporting them and stopping sexual assault in our culture.”