'It's on Us' Club Brings Awareness to Sexual Assault
April was sexual assault awareness month. Different events were held on the Marist College Campus to educate about sexual assault, prevention, resources for victims and ways to create a more supportive community for survivors.
During April, and every month, the club Marist It’s On Us hopes to combat sexual assault and bring more awareness to campus. The mission of the club is to call attention to sexual assault on college campuses and help students learn about intervention techniques, rape culture, and how to build an understanding community for victims. “We strive to educate people on what exactly sexual assault is and create an inclusive environment where survivors feel supported and heard,” explains Nathalie Ross ‘19, the president and founder of the club.
This month the club will be hosting a series of events for students to attend. During April 1 through April 7, there will be stations across the Marist College for students to take the pledge against sexual assault.
A Bystander Intervention Event will also be held, teaching students about prevention methods. These include direct, distract, delegate and delay techniques. “People don’t intervene because the only form they think is direct intervention,” Ross said. “With bystander intervention, it’s important to know you don’t have to directly intervene to stop something.” By educating students, they will be more equipped to spot and stop threatening situations.
In addition, Marist It’s On Us will be hosting “Taco About Consent.” It’s an event for students to learn what constitutes as consent, with tacos provided. Ross said,“You might think everyone knows what consent is, but people don’t.” She goes on to say, “You can’t give consent when you’re drunk.” Ross also included, “Silence doesn’t mean yes, no means no - and when a woman says no, it doesn’t mean she’s playing hard to get.”
Furthermore the club also hopes to clear misconceptions and judgements about sexual assault. “I think the one of the biggest stigmas about sexual abuse pertaining to rape culture is victim blaming,” Ross said. Victims come forward and people immediately ask if they were drunk or what were they wearing. Ross wants to build a stronger and more accepting community for victims to feel safe. Marist It’s On Us is a student-run club and Ross hopes students will feel more comfortable about coming forward and sharing their experiences
Marist It’s On Us is open to all students. Survivors of sexual assault and individuals interested in the cause are encouraged to join. At the first meeting, 60 students were in attendance and the club has more than 300 followers on Instagram. “The club is a resource for anyone who has been a victim or who wants to know more about sexual assault. Anyone who wants help, support or learn more about the issue,” Ross said. “The solution starts with us - it’s on us.”