RASA “It’s On Us Week” raises awareness about sexual assault on campus

Posted on Oct 26 2018 - 5:50am by Madison Hyatt

Rebels Against Sexual Assault hosted a week of events during “It’s On Us Week” in an effort to raise awareness about sexual assault on campus. So far this semester, the university has recorded eight reports of sexual battery in the university community. The most recent reported assault occurred Saturday afternoon just off-campus.

The first six weeks of classes on college campuses are often referred to as the “Red Zone,” a period of increased risk of sexual assault. Ole Miss is now 10 weeks into the 2018-2019 school year, and has recorded eight reports of sexual battery within the university community.

University Police responded to a report of sexual assault on University Ave. off-campus around 2 p.m. this past Saturday. The university utilized its emergency “RebAlert” system to inform community members of the reported assault. Saturday afternoon’s RebAlert was the first alert issued this semester regarding a reported sexual assault.

RASA President Sam Cox said he checked his phone on Saturday and saw a notification from the university’s LiveSafe app about the assault. He said he believes students should be alerted of all sexual assaults reported through the university in this way.

“I believe that all sexual assault should be sent out just to make students aware that these instances happen and that they need to get themselves to a safer area,” Cox said.

Each year, “It’s On Us Week” aims to increase knowledge on sexual assault and offer participants the chance to get involved beyond the week’s events, RASA’s lead peer educator Will Hay said.

“Each of the events taught someone something,” Hay said.

“It’s On Us Week” events included “Slide into the Situation,” the “Roll Red Roll” movie screening, “Art and Healing” and a 3K Glow Run around campus. Slide into the Situation featured an inflatable slide outside of Kincannon Hall on Monday in an effort to help educate students on intervening to prevent sexual assault.

Members of Rebels Against Sexual Assault run around the Circle and the Grove on Thursday night during the group’s 3K Glow Run. RASA held the 3K run for the first time since 2016. Photo by Christian Johnson

“‘Slide into the Situation’ was basically about bystander intervention, which is something we teach about,” Cox said. “It’s the most preventable way to stop sexual assaults from happening, especially in college. It’s just helping stop something that you see going on. (At ‘Slide into the Situation’) you had to talk about a scenario, how you could intervene, and then we had a slide.”

Following the screening of the documentary “Roll Red Roll” on Tuesday, “Art and Healing” was hosted in Bryant Hall Wednesday night. Started by RASA a year ago, “Art and Healing” originally served as a way to relieve stress before finals but was added as a part of the “It’s On Us Week.”

“It’s kind of more of a time for people to come and either relax or talk, whether school’s getting them stressed out or they’re survivors and they want to talk,” Cox said.

RASA provided watercolors, sketch pads and t-shirts to design. If not kept by students, the art created at “Art and Healing” will be hung in the counseling center.

RASA is presenting the Clothesline Project on campus Friday. Started in 2015, the Clothesline Project showcases t-shirts with student designs regarding increased awareness of sexual assault.

“It could be a message from a survivor; it could be something positive; or it could be someone telling their story anonymously,” Cox said. “We hang those shirts up, and people can come read them.”

RASA treasurer Jordyn Ellis said “It’s On Us Week” has impacted campus’ knowledge of sexual assault.

“I think that every little bit that we do — regardless of how many people are aware or show up — has an impact,” Ellis said. “I just believe that everything that we do is, especially this week, is important and has more of an impact than doing nothing would.”

Slade Rand contributed reporting to this article.