#ItEndsHere Launch

Charlie Gers

According to a report by RAINN, which is a national organization that focuses on anti-sexual violence, 23.1 percent of undergraduate female students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation. Compared to other crimes, sexual violence is more prevalent in college. The pervasive presence of alcohol and drugs throughout campuses makes college students, especially females, become more vulnerable to experience sexual assault.

In the wake of the recent #MeToo movement that has sprawled all over the globe, sexual assault and harassment has been put on the spotlight to reiterate that our society has no place for that misconduct. The purpose of the #MeToo movement is not only to empower women through empathy and spread awareness, but to establish changes in our policies and laws so individuals like Harvey Weinstein are prevented from entering the labor force.

Sexual assault activism has massively increased since the movement was launched; from Twitter trends to marches to state capitols, activists have taken the platform to spread awareness and condemn how sexual assault incidents are often notoriously swept under the rug. Across the country, college campuses have taken stronger initiatives to address this issue—including the University of Minnesota.

Abuse ends here. Sexual assault ends here. Silencing trans folk ends here. Victim-blaming ends here. Bystanding ends here. Not intervening ends here. Exclusion ends here. Not believing survivors ends here. MSA’s launch of “It Ends Here” is the newest initiative on campus to tackle the alarming issue of sexual assault that is ingrained in our society. The campaign will focus on holding perpetrators accountable, advocating for consent and healthy relationships, believing survivors, increase the sexual assault task force with a multifaceted plan of action, and provide university resources for students to overcome scarred experiences, especially since college-aged adults are at higher risk of sexual assault than all other age groups. 

The campaign emphasizes on the narrative we use when discussing sexual assault—the narrative focused on the testimonies of white women. Not only are women from other ethnicities and sexual orientations more disregarded, but so are men. As stated in the MSA website, “Due to unhealthy standards for masculinity, there are rarely conversations around sexual assault against men.”

With Title XI under fire, students have fervently been committing to confronting the spread sexual assault on campus. Title XI, a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, or sexual orientation in schools, has been in effect since 1972 under the Education Amendments of 1972 to address sexual harassment, sexual violence, or any gender-based discrimination that may put a person’s rights at risk.
 As college students, we have the duty to protect one another and establish a culture of consent, respect, and dignity. Whether it’s on a college campus or not, women or men, young or old, sexual assault is not acceptable and we will lead to be a generation that relentlessly fights against it. To learn more about MSA’s campaign, visit z.umn.edu/itendshere