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The Scarlet & Black

Letter to the editor: “It’s On Us” campaign launched this week

The “It’s On Us” campaign is the brainchild of the White House and Generation Progress. The goal of this campaign is to end sexual assault on campuses by promoting sexual respect and personal responsibility for creating a safe environment for all students. During this week, SGA worked with a cross-section of the campus, from Advocates to faculty, to release the “It’s On Us Grinnell” video, run a social media campaign, offer active bystander training and host a pub night. 

This week was not an attempt to earn brownie points or pretend that we, as a campus, have figured out the solution to ending sexual assault. Instead, it has provided us an opportunity to reflect about the progress we have made as a campus while equipping us with the tools to make sustainable progress as well as to provide access to administrators who are tasked with ensuring that the institution keeps us all safe. The “It’s On Us” campaign challenges us as students to take a more active role in creating a community that prioritizes sexual respect. This occurs by forcing us to consider how our comments, assumptions and sometimes apathy about issues of sexual assault prevent us from having a safe and inclusive community. It also occurs when we actively engage with administrators to advance institutional standards and processes that provide adequate support, representation and resources to survivors as well as a fair and due process to everyone involved.

This week is not the beginning of conversations around sexual respect and sexual assault, nor should it be the end. Advocates, the Chaplain’s office, SGA, faculty, staff and Title IX administrators continue to work on policies and programming which move our community closer to being one in which no student ever has to experience sexual assault. Moving forward, consider some of the ways in which you can join those efforts already underway. This list is clearly not exhaustive but represents a starting point for us to be a part of the change we want to see.

1.) Become an active bystander.

2.) Take the pledge at

3.) Actively participate in conversations about sexual respect on campus (your voice matters!).

4.) Spread the word about preventing sexual assault.

If you experience sexual assault and require immediate assistance, please consider contacting Grinnell Campus Safety and Security (641-269-4600) or law enforcement (911).

For a trained and confidential counselor, contact Student Health and Counseling Services (641-269-3230), the campus chaplain and rabbi (641-269-4981) or the North Central Iowa Crisis Intervention Service (800-270-1620).

For information about your rights under Title IX, visit End Rape on Campus, the Department of Education or Faculty Against Rape.

—Opeyemi Awe ’15 and Amanda Mages ’17

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  • C

    Concerned AlumniNov 22, 2014 at 6:04 am

    One last clarification–I would like to correct myself and put quotations around the word “mistakes,” as indeed acts of sexual violence are never mistakes. I would also like to acknowledge that when there is not a firm “yes,” it is always a “no.”

  • C

    Concerned AlumniNov 22, 2014 at 4:47 am

    I must clarify that I do not mean to switch the emphasis from “yes means yes” to a simply “no means no” education and discussion. I meant to emphasize that a discussion about sexual violence must overtly acknowledge acts committed despite there being a “no” (an acknowledgment that, yet again, many acts of sexual violence or assault are not mistakes or simply a failure to check in about a “yes,” but a dismissal of a “no”).

  • C

    Concerned AlumniNov 22, 2014 at 3:54 am

    Reading this letter to the editor was extremely disappointing because it reenforces many harmful stereotypes about assault that I have dealt with both personally and professionally. Let me explain: Does SGA ever host workshops or educational sessions where students are taught not to sexually assault other students? Are incoming first-years ever communicated of the repercussions for sexually assaulting someone? This letter makes it seem like SGA assumes that students can only be capable of being a bystander, and not be capable of sexually assaulting another student. Is SGA aware of the physical violence or intimidation that often happens to bystanders if they do indeed prevent a sexual assault, especially if this assault was premeditated, or the bystander provided testimony against the would-be-assailant? Does Grinnell not believe sexual assault is ever premeditated or purposeful? I commend Grinnell for teaching “yes means yes,” but what about a “no means no” education that includes an acknowledgment that lots of sexual assault is actually not a mistake? And wouldn’t this have to include some reference to gender?