Hunting Ground? Real action on US campus sex assault still needed despite It’s On Us campaign
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The US It’s On Us campaign against sexual assault will be celebrating its second birthday this autumn. So what has it accomplished in its two years of existence? The campaign was launched by President Barack Obama to build awareness around the issue of sexual assault on US college campuses. It was a September follow-up to Obama’s January 2014 establishment of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, led by co-chairs vice president Joe Biden and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. The campaign seeks to change the campus culture surrounding the problem and to provide students, administrators and families with a better understanding of what sexual assault is — and how to stop it. Visitors of the organisation’s website, itsonus.org, can sign a pledge committing to keep women and men safe. Big-name partners in the organization’s mission include the Big Ten Conference for collegiate sports, MTV, Newsweek, Lyft and Pandora. Success of the programme grew in January 2016, with the first ever state-wide campaign adapted from It’s On Us, in Pennsylvania, called It’s On Us PA. Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf was joined by presidents from over 40 colleges and universities around the state in his setting of specific goals for the campaign: to improve awareness and prevention, to remove barriers surrounding reporting rapes and to demonstrate leadership in campus culture when addressing this issue.
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