The College urges “It’s Your Place” to stop sexual assault

A new initiative at the College, the “It’s Your Place Campaign”,  aims to prevent sexual assault on campus. It not only highlights the numerous accounts of sexual misconduct that sadly and frequently occur on college campuses, but also works to increase awareness in the ways bystanders can intervene.

New campaign advocates that it's students' place to prevent sexual misconduct on campus. (Image courtesy of College of Charleston)

New campaign advocates that it’s students’ place to prevent sexual misconduct on campus. (Image courtesy of College of Charleston)

One in five students will face sexual assault during their college experience. Even more alarming, 90 percent of rapes are committed by someone who knows the victim. It was the harsh realities of these statistics that motivated the College to organize the campaign. Officials mentioned that when students were questioned on whether they thought they should intervene during a moment of sexual harassment, many responded with, “It’s not my place.” Accordingly, the main purpose of the campaign is reinforcing to students that, “It is your place” and you should step in when such events occur.

Interim Executive Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Dr. Jeri Cabot explained, “Close to 80 percent of our students said they would intervene in the situation. So now it’s just encouraging them to follow through on that statement.”

The campaign’s  research included eight focus groups that examined college women and men, evaluating knowledge,  attitudes and behaviors on topics  including: sexual assault or rape, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence and stalking. From these findings, “Its Your Place” developed strategies, communication channels and messages. With sayings such as, “It’s your place to prevent sexual assault: You’re not ruining a good time” and “It’s your campus. It’s your city. It’s your place”, the College envisions an engaged campus, empowered community members and active bystanders.

Freshman Ali Brown said, “While it’s great that the school is promoting this campaign and trying to spread awareness of a serious issue, CofC can still improve the ways in which they are communicating this project to students.”

So far, the campaign has reached out to students by using peer-to-peer facilitation and training, as well as traditional and new media, going beyond the typical poster by  producing a series of Youtube videos. Some videos feature fictional scenarios that  lead to a sexual assault and then display strategies for how and when to intervene during a real life situation.

The College’s Division of Student Affairs teamed up with multiple on and off campus partners such as the Office of Victim Services, the Citadel, MUSC, and People Against Rape to help spread word on the initiative and empower the entire community to acknowledge the issue of sexual assault. The campaign currently does not have an end date, but the College will determine its total impact at the end of the semester.

For more information on “Its Your Place” or to learn more about the school’s sexual misconduct resources,visit: 

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Chelsea Anderson is the Blog Editor for CisternYard News. She is a senior studying Communication at the College. Her journalistic journey began in high school while working with WTGR news. On any given day, you can find her watching soap operas, Keeping Up with the Kardashians or taking an intriguing Buzzfeed quiz.

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