On Thursday, November 7th, I attended the It’s On Us student-led roundtable event, where I listened to JMU students and faculty discuss campus efforts to promote healthy, consensual relationships, and ways for all of us to prevent sexual assault. Why is this a huge deal you may ask? For many reasons.
The event was led by two moderators that asked questions to the rest of the roundtable, and the questions ranged from statistics on sexual assault for marginalized groups of people to the definition of consent.
It is extremely important to highlight the fact that this event was not put on by one organization, it was put on by many. SGA, Madison Equality, C.A.R.E, JMU Red Flag Campaign, OSARP, Office of Equal Opportunity, The Men’s Program JMU, the University Health Center, College of Arts & Letters, Women & Gender Studies, Communications Studies, WRTC, Sociology & Anthropology, Political Science, and Justice Studies were part of the effort in making this event happen. THIS IS HUGE PEOPLE! The first step in creating change is by raising awareness, and the first way to raise awareness is to talk to as many people as you can. Another great thing about the wide representation of individuals on the roundtable is that different students and faculty presented different answers to each of the questions, providing a wider range of understanding for the audience.
In addition, by including so many organizations and programs of study in this round table, people from many backgrounds were present. Women, men, members of the LGBTQ community, people of color, current JMU students, JMU alumni – were present either in the audience or on the roundtable. This is important for the topic of sexual assault because if we want to raise awareness and make a change, we need to speak to people of all backgrounds, and also have people from all backgrounds act as awareness raisers themselves.
In conclusion, what I would like for you to understand, is that the students and faculty of JMU are making an effort to combat sexual violence on our beloved campus. Change starts with awareness, and by including and reaching out to everyone, we can all strive to make this campus safer and more educated on the topic of sexual assault prevention.