Marshall University students pledge to help prevent sexual assault

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The Marshall University Women’s Center collaborated with the CONTACT Rape Crisis Center to raise awareness for sexual assault prevention on Marshall’s campus Tuesday as part of the It’s On Us national campaign’s Day of Action.

“It’s the kick-off for our It’s On Us awareness campaign and the month of April, the sexual assault awareness month,” Jackie Wheeler, Marshall advocate for the CONTACT Rape Crisis Center, said.

The Women’s Center and CONTACT occupied a table in the Memorial Student Center lobby Tuesday. Leah Tolliver, director of the Women’s Center, said their goal was to inform students and faculty that anyone can take action against sexual assault.

“We want people to come together and look at everybody’s responsibility to address and end the issue of sexual violence and relationship violence,” Tolliver said.

The Women’s Center and CONTACT also provided tips on how to go about aiding someone who may be at risk of sexual assault or a dangerous situation. These tips included actions such as creating a distraction and informing someone, such as a resident advisor or a police officer, of the situation.

“I want to help people understand why it’s important to stop behaviors that people call rape culture so that we can have a safer world for everybody,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler said they encouraged students to pledge that they would help prevent sexual assault and inform others of ways they can help make a difference for as many people as possible.

“When you intervene, you’re not just helping someone not be a victim, you’re also helping someone not be an offender,” Tolliver said. “We are helping everyone when we intervene and do our jobs as citizens and bystanders.”

They also asked that students take selfies at the table and share their pledge on their social media accounts. This was part of a larger social media campaign to further spread awareness that also featured a video created by Women’s Center graduate student Karson Boyce and junior English major Alexandria Runyon.

The video features students across campus from many different groups and backgrounds taking the pledge and urging others to do the same.

“It was very inspiring to see the amount of students and faculty that were interested in getting involved,” Boyce said.

The video can be found at the Women’s Center’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MarshallWomensCenter/.

Ryan Murphy can be contacted at [email protected]

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