“It’s On Us” sexual assault prevention week begins Monday

Next week, Lawrence is celebrating the It’s On Us Week of Action for awareness and prevention of sexual assault. 

It’s On Us was established by the Obama administration in 2014 with the mission of providing preventative education on sexual assault on American college campuses. For the 2021 Week of Action at Lawrence, the Sexual Harassment and Assault Resources and Education (SHARE) department of the Wellness Center is hosting several on-campus events. 

On Monday and Tuesday, Lawrence’s Sexual Assault Crisis Center advocate, Allison Bohlen, will be on the third floor of the Warch Campus Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to answer questions and share information about her role as campus advocate. Individually wrapped treats will be available for students who stop by her table during this time. 

Thursday, the Student Alliance Against Sexual Harassment and Assault (SAASHA), will be hosting two “Know Your Title IX Rights” presentations at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., which will feature Interim Director of Equity and Title IX Coordinator Natasha Aguilera Wiebusch. 

Title IX outlines the rights of students who have been victims of sexual assault or discrimination based on sex. Title IX regulations were recently changed by the Trump administration in legislation that went into effect on Aug. 14 of last year. 

“Participating in the presentation with SAASHA is really important [to me] because I want students to understand what changes were made and what that means for the Title IX process,” Aguilera Wiebusch said. “The changes are here with us for at least a year, but the [Biden] administration and Department of Education will likely change them again … I just want to communicate what those changes are as clearly as possible and let students know that I’m here to answer questions.”  

The presentation will describe the sexual assault reporting process, supportive measures available for sexual assault survivors and the scope of Title IX resources. It will conclude with a question and answer session, first with SAASHA board members and then with Aguilera Wiebusch. Participants will have the opportunity to win prizes in a Kahoot! game following each presentation. 

Junior Carla Plascencia, the publicist of SAASHA, hopes the event helps to make students more comfortable with the reporting process.  

“We want to make the process [of reporting] a little less dehumanizing and a little less traumatic, so we want to tie good things to it and not make it scary,” Plascencia said. “That is something that I think is very important and different about [the Know Your Title IX Rights presentation].” 

Finally, the week will finish on Friday with “Wear Teal Day” on campus. Students are encouraged to show their support for sexual assault survivors by wearing teal, the color of sexual assault awareness. Teal masks and accessories may be distributed as giveaways and prizes during “It’s On Us” events throughout the week.