ELKINS - Davis & Elkins College will join 16 other campuses and nine rape crisis centers in West Virginia on April 5 to take a stand against sexual assault. West Virginia Day of Action, based on the national “It’s On Us” campaign, will take place simultaneously at all the sites from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The event in the rotunda of Madden Student Center at Davis & Elkins will include three activity stations to raise awareness of sexual assault prevention: Love Is … ; Paint Your Nails Teal; and “It’s On Us” pledge. A video based on the “It’s On Us” campaign featuring members of the Davis & Elkins Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will also be a part of the activities. The events are free and open to the public.
“It is really exciting that D&E can participate in a statewide prevention event,” says Amy Kittle, Title IX coordinator at D&E. “Sexual assault on college campuses has become a recent focus of national attention, and there is a real climate shift occurring on college campuses across the country. D&E is committed to providing a learning environment that is free from sexual violence.”
Kittle adds that Women’s Aid in Crisis has been instrumental in planning the activities and providing materials for the presentation at Davis & Elkins.
West Virginia Day of Action is a first-time collaboration organized by the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services and the West Virginia Intercollegiate Council Against Sexual Assault. The project is highlighted by a pledge event hosted on social media by the West Virginia Intercollegiate Council Against Sexual Assault with the goal of reaching as many people as possible on college campuses. Participants may join the Facebook page 2016 SAAM WV Day-of-Action, complete the “It’s On Us … to stop sexual assault” pledge at www.itsonus.org and take a photo and upload it to social media using the hashtags #ItsOnUs and #ItsOnUsWV.
By taking the “It’s On Us” pledge, participants agree to:
- Recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault;
- Identify situations in which sexual assault may occur;
- Intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given; and
- Create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.
Those who take the pledge at Davis & Elkins will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win prizes from local merchants including Wal-Mart, Kmart, Pizza Hut, Third Street Trading Co., Bob Evans, Steer Steakhouse, Gandy Dancer and Cadillac Daddy Cafe, among others.
National statistics show that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college, and the majority of those cases are never reported to campus administrators or law enforcement. The “It’s On Us” campaign is a national initiative that seeks to engage college students and members of campus communities to make a personal commitment to take a stand and be a part of the solution to campus sexual assault. The campaign seeks to inspire everyone to see it as his or her responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent sexual violence.
In addition to Davis & Elkins, other higher education institutions and agencies participating are Alderson Broaddus University, Bethany College, Concord University, Fairmont State University, Glenville State College, Marshall University, Salem International University, Shepherd University, University of Charleston, West Liberty University, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Wheeling Jesuit University, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, West Virginia State University, West Virginia University and WVU-Parkersburg, CONTACT of Huntington Inc., Family Refuge Center, Hope Inc., Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center, REACH Program, Sexual Assault Help Center, Shenandoah Women’s Center, Women’s Aid in Crisis and Women’s Resource Center.
Previously, the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services and the Intercollegiate Council Against Sexual Assault have worked together to increase training for first responders, implement prevention programs and provide victim-centered approaches.
“Attaining a college education should never include becoming a victim of sexual assault,” says Nikki Godfrey, project coordinator for West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services. “This Day of Action allows students, faculty, administrators and advocates to raise awareness and show their support in promoting safer campus environments. Prevention is everyone’s responsibility, and together, we can make a difference.”
Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.