December 3rd, 2015

It’s on Us

By Crystal Mendoza

By Domenic Fraboni

The “It’s on US” campaign is a White House based movement that aims to increase awareness of sexual assault and sexual assault prevention.  I learned about the “It’s on US” campaign in January of last year when the NCAA became an official partner of the campaign.  As a member of the Division III Student Athlete Advisory Committee (DIII SAAC) I was tasked with bringing the campaign back to my respective conferences and campuses.  The “It’s on US” mission immediately resonated with me.  As a college football student-athlete I often felt subject to some unfair stereotypes of male student-athletes, specifically football athletes, and how they treated women.  Then I faced the real facts.  During their collegiate experience, one in every five women and one in sixteen men are subject to sexual assault.  My immediate thought became, “not on my campus.”   I was not going to let this many people be sexually assaulted at my school.   When I returned to Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) last spring semester, the college dean formed a student-working group and started doing what we could to create an environment on campus in which sexual assault was unacceptable.

Concordia College students displaying signatures of over 900 students pledging their commitment to the "It's on US" campaign.

Concordia College students displaying signatures of over 900 students pledging their commitment to the "It's on US" campaign.

Rape.  Sexual Assault.  Domestic Violence.  How long it has been that these topics have been loomed over by a large taboo-esque shadow.  However, now is the time.  Now is the time that we can all band together to thwart sexual assault.  Many organizations, colleges and universities have partnered with this campaign to take a stand.  Now my plea is to all of YOU.  The statement “It’s on US” really does mean ALL of us.  The more people that stand behind this campaign, the stronger its presence will be felt throughout the country.  Take the initiative.  Take the pledge.  Educate yourself, and learn how to intervene effectively during situations in which sexual assault may occur.

I know that each of us may not be able to or want to run our own individual "It's On Us" campaigns.  However, a large group of us together can have far reaching effects.  I encourage all of you who have taken the time to read this post to commit to the national “It’s on US” pledge.  It’s something that will take two minutes of your day, but may positively impact someone for a lifetime.  Many of the campaign sponsors have created videos to support the campaign.   Check out the video we made at Concordia College as an example.  These videos are meant to be a unifying organizational statement for the cause, as well as a call for others to join in.  The final step in this campaign is self-education.  Educate yourself on how to be an effective bystander.  Knowing effective ways to intervene in situations in which sexual assault may occur, is an easy way to diffuse potentially harmful scenarios.  Finally, understanding how to effectively and sensitively respond to surviving victims can allow us to help provide the appropriate emotional, legal, physical, or psychological support they need.  There are great educational tools on the "It's on US" homepage.

Thank you for taking the time to read a post about this important topic.  I encourage everyone to seek further information on sexual assault prevention to help carry out the “It’s on US” mission.  In writing this, my greatest hope is that we can help protect men and women from a life-altering instance of sexual assault.  It’s on us.  It’s on Mayo Clinic.  Don’t be a bystander to the problem, be a part of the solution to stop sexual assault.

Domenic Fraboni was born in St. Paul and grew up in small town Princeton, MN.  He attended Concordia College, in Moorhead, MN, for his undergraduate education and is now a first year physical therapy student at the Mayo School of Health Sciences. 

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank all those individuals at Concordia College and in the NCAA that have helped me in working on this campaign.  I specifically would like to thank Dean Sue Oatey for pulling together the Concordia College student working group that made great progress on our campus for sexual assault prevention and education.  Furthermore, I want to thank the Division III SAAC NCAA liaisons, Jay Jones, Jean Orr, Brynna Barnhart, and Laura Peterson , for allowing me to speak on the NCAA Convention floor this coming January about our nationwide commitment to the “It’s on US” campaign.

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