“Perhaps most important, we need to keep saying to anyone out there who has ever been assaulted: you are not alone. We have your back. I’ve got your back.”
—President Barack Obama
Breaking News: White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault Announces Series of Actions
As a former NY Senior Assistant District Attorney, I know the facts are staggering: One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college. Most often, it happens her freshman or sophomore year. In the majority of cases it’s by someone she knows – and most often, she does not report the incident. And, though the numbers are less, men are victimized, too.
Committed to take action to put an end to this violence, President Obama established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault on January 22, 2014, with a mandate to strengthen federal enforcement efforts and provide schools with additional tools to combat sexual assault on their campuses.
The Task Force announced a series of actions to:
- identify the scope of the problem on college campuses
- help prevent campus sexual assault
- help schools respond effectively when a student is assaulted
- improve, and make more transparent, the federal government’s enforcement efforts
- continue to pursue additional executive or legislative actions in the future
To make enforcement data public and to make other resources accessible to students and schools, the website, Not Alone: Together Against Sexual Assault has been launched. A comprehensive resource to aid schools and advocates, the site allows students to learn about their rights, search enforcement data and read about how to file a complaint. Additionally, it provides federal guidance on legal obligations, best available evidence and research, and relevant legislation; and it offers trustworthy resources from outside the federal government, such as hotline numbers and mental health services locatable by simply typing in a zip code.
The action steps highlighted by the White House Task Force are the initial phase of an ongoing plan and commitment to putting an end to this violence on campuses. President Obama and his administration continue to work toward solutions, clarity and better coordination. They intend to review the legal frameworks surrounding sexual assault for possible regulatory or statutory improvements and seek new resources to enhance enforcement.
Take action! Let those who have been assaulted know they are not alone. Make sure every student you know is aware of the new valuable resource website.
We have the power to affect positive change on future generations when we remain… Together Against Sexual Assault!
What tips do you have for staying safe on campus? Share your comments below.