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White House Partnership Helps Prevent Sexual Assault, Student Video Debuts

DECEMBER 10, 2014 – A VIDEO THAT FEATURES Georgetown’s scholar-athletes encouraging their fellow students to commit to preventing sexual assault will debut at the Verizon Center tonight as the Hoyas face Kansas on the basketball court.

Georgetown undergraduates produced the video in which university athletes promote the It’s On Us pledge, a White House campaign that puts the responsibility on every community member to stand up and speak out to help prevent sexual assault.

The university has responded to the national campaign as part its longtime campuswide commitment to engage and educate the Georgetown community on issues surrounding sexual assault.

“Georgetown has engaged deeply in these issues for many years – from being one of the nation’s first institutions to hire a full-time sexual assault coordinator in 1997 to the establishment of our Sexual Assault Working Group more than a decade ago,” says John J. DeGioia, the university’s president. “At the heart of Georgetown’s mission is a commitment to serious and sustained discourse, even when topics are difficult to discuss.”

IT’S ON US

The goal of the video, filmed and produced by Georgetown students and featuring dozens of Georgetown athletes and teams, is to raise awareness about the responsibilities of all members of the community to prevent sexual assault.

The It’s On Us pledge, according to the campaign’s website, calls for individuals to:

  • Recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault.
  • Identify situations in which sexual assault may occur.
  • Intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given.
  • Create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.

Rosemary Kilkenny, vice president for institutional diversity and equity and Georgetown’s Title IX coordinator, and Trevor Tezel (SFS’15), president, Georgetown University Student Association attended the September campaign launch at the White House.

Both are members of the university’s Sexual Assault Working Group.

“With recent changes to its conduct policies and the addition of new resources, Georgetown has an opportunity to lead the discourse and action on combating sexual assault on college campuses," Tezel says. "I look forward to working with university leaders and students as we strive to make Georgetown a model for the country in making college a safe place to live and learn."

ARE YOU READY?

The White House notes that one out of five women are sexually assaulted in college and only 13 percent report the crimes.

The university’s 12-year-old annual Are You Ready? initiative is a dynamic student and community program that addresses what it means to be friends and allies of those surviving sexual assault and relationship violence.

In addition, this year at New Student Orientation all incoming students attended a play with content addressing bystander intervention and prevention of sexual assault.

Following the play, all new students participated in the first ever I Am Ready program, comprising small group discussions led by trained peers with the goal of raising awareness about consent, prevention and resources.

SAFE FOR EVERYONE

Over the past year, the university also added staff in Health Education Services to support students and launched a centralized online resource. 

“The first step of living out this mission in this particular context is examining our own responsibilities – how we can each contribute to making this campus safe for everyone,” DeGioia says. “We must each ask ourselves, ‘What can I do to make Georgetown an even safer campus?”

Georgetown also created an athletics leadership program – one of the first of its kind – that teaches responsibility, leadership and skills to student-athletes through an academic framework.

“Georgetown student-athletes have always been leaders, both on and off the fields of play, and we are proud to support the It’s On Us campaign,” says Lee Reed, director of intercollegiate athletics. “We always encourage our student-athletes to be involved in the community, and I’m proud of their efforts here in championing this cause.”

‘WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK’

As part of its comprehensive approach, the university’s Sexual Assault Peer Educators program provides peer-to-peer training opportunities and dialogue throughout the academic year.

“To the survivors who are leading the fight against sexual assault on campuses, your efforts have helped start a movement,” President Obama said during the campaign launch at the White House. “… it’s not your fight to wage alone. It’s on us – all of us – to fight campus sexual assault. You are not alone. We’ve got your back.”