Delta Zeta spurs conversation on sexual violence

While the rate of sexual harassment on college campuses continues to grow, such issues often seem too risky for administration to address. Students and staff can also feel uncomfortable discussing them openly.

To keep the situation from being overlooked, the UMKC chapter of Delta Zeta recently took matters into their own hands.

Delta Zeta promoted its partnership with the “It’s On Us” campaign Thursday, inviting students to the Student Union to learn about what it means to be a bystander of sexual harassment.

“It’s On Us” is a National Campaign spreading awareness of sexual violence and educating people on how to be part of the solution.

With the campaign #ItWasAwkwardBut, Delta Zeta started a conversation at UMKC about what we can do if we observe someone in the middle of an uncomfortable situation.

Delta Zeta Risk Prevention Chair Marissa Iden spoke strongly about the importance of the campaign’s message.

“‘It’s On Us’ is starting the conversation and also changing the conversation,” Iden said. “We’re hoping that people will realize that this is such an important topic and that it’s so easy to get involved.”

Being an avid believer of this campaign, she hopes to get all of her sisters involved by hosting events with UMKC counselors, as well as bringing in speakers around the area to openly discuss sexual harassment and what college students can do to keep each other safe.

“I think it’s such a great conversation we, as sisters, can all have together,” Iden said.

Community Services Chair Anna Gordon spoke to many students about taking the “It’s On Us” pledge, as well as handed out flyers that gave bystander intervention tips for people can follow when they observe suspicious behavior.

The tips advised students to keep an eye on someone who has had too much to drink, be aware if someone is intentionally intoxicating or cornering someone else and to get in the way by creating a distraction. Then, separate the victim from the situation.

“It can be very awkward if you think that there’s a potential sexual assault that could happen,” Gordon said. “We just gave some simple tips for people to follow in case they ever do end up in that situation.”

If you would like to help out the “It’s On Us” campaign , go to www.itsonus.org/pledge. On this site, you can find a consent discussion guide, links to hotlines specialized to help survivors of sexual abuse and more tips about being a reliable bystander.

“Sexual assault or abuse is not something you can understand unless you’ve gone through it personally,” Gordon said. “You could be saving someone’s life from changing forever.”

jac4x3@mail.umkc.edu

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