Sept. 23, 2014
Members of the OSU Community,
It is estimated that nationally one in five women are sexually assaulted during their college years. Sexual violence can impact anyone, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. In the great majority of cases, individuals are assaulted by someone they know and even trust, whether as an acquaintance, classmate, friend, or current or former partner. And of those assaults, it is estimated that only 12 percent are reported, and only a fraction of the offenders are held accountable.
Sexual assault is a severely violating experience that can cause a victim substantial immediate and long-term physical and mental health consequences.
These assaults must end, and to do so will require our collective focus locally and nationally.
OSU has joined a national sexual violence education and prevention effort to dramatically change the way we think about and respond to sexual violence. On Friday, President Obama and Vice President Biden launched the “It’s On Us” campaign to raise awareness and bring the nation and the higher education community together to stop sexual assaults from occurring on university campuses.
Sexual violence isn’t a private matter involving a victim and a perpetrator. We all share responsibility to create a campus environment where sexual violence will not be tolerated. The first step is to raise awareness and hold everyone accountable for stopping assaults, supporting victims, and creating and maintaining a culture of respect and non-violence. It’s on each of us.
Oregon State University is committed to this effort. We are developing an “It’s On Us” Oregon State website that will have information about the university’s response, prevention and education programs as well as information on how each of us can be part of the solution. The website will link to the national campaign and additional resources.
Current OSU programs and services regarding sexual violence reporting, emergency response, education and community services are listed below. Please review this information and use the phone numbers and website information to help end sexual violence in our community.
But this is not enough. During the course of the 2014-15 academic year, please join us as Oregon State takes additional steps to address sexual violence within our community. We will keep you informed of these important developments through the sexual assault website, “OSU Today,” “LIFE@OSU,” social media and other communications.
As we work to make Oregon State University a safer and more inclusive community, it is imperative that each of us become engaged. I expect each and every one of us– regardless of where you work or attend classes – to become informed about sexual violence and to take the responsibility to help prevent and report all forms of sexual violence or harassment. I have no doubt that we can all do something. Teaching faculty can learn how best to use classroom and advising opportunities to promote awareness, safety and support. Likewise, advisors, fraternities and sororities, supervisors, coaches, friends, etc. can all become informed about how they can respond and help this important effort. We are a community and should work together to ensure each of us are safe.
It’s on us to end sexual assaults in the Oregon State University community. Each of us has a role in creating a caring community—based on civility and respect—that is free of sexual assaults and other forms of harassment and violence.
Thank you for joining me in this important effort.
Oregon State University