Sexual assault awareness being raised at MSU

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Michigan state University steps up efforts to end sexual assaults on campus during sexual assault awareness month. Spartans are coming together to tackle the issue with help from the It’s On Us campaign happening now on campus.

“We all have the ability in our own individual ways to change the world around us, to change the pieces of MSU that we move through,” said MSU sociology professor Stephanie Nawyn.

Nawyn hopes this becomes a theme for ending campus sexual assaults, a move in the right direction for the It’s On Us campaign at Michigan State.

“Higher education is entirely about planting seeds,” Nawyn said. “That’s why I love it.”

These are seeds students can use to raise awareness about sexual violence. This includes a keynote address Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. with Gail Stern. It’s being held on campus at the facility for Rare Isotope Beams on campus. Stern uses humor to cover a difficult topic.

“And get people more receptive to the idea that maybe we should think more deeply about the kind of jokes we’re making the kind of jokes we’re making about sexual violence,” Nawyn said.

Michigan State Junior Rebecca Cox said this can ultimately prevent and stop sexual assaults from happening.

Cox added, “That isn’t something we can stop overnight unfortunately.”

So, this campaign shows students how to respond in sexual assault cases.

“It’s on us to report sexual assault, and to see cases of sexual assault through, and to support survivors,” Cox said.

This is a cultural shift on MSU’s campus.

“We see a lot of students being more engaged and talking about issues of consent and masculinity and things that they haven’t necessarily talked about before.” said Lemoine Joseph. He’s the male engagement specialist with the prevention, outreach and education department on campus. 

Joseph said, “It’s on us that that narrative is also gender neutral, so we are inclusive of men, we’re also of women, we’re inclusive of people who don’t identify on that binary.”

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, the Michigan sexual assault hotline is equipped with trained advocates ready to help anyone in need. 

You can call 855-voices-4 or (855) 864-2374. Its available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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