The statistics are staggering. While numbers may vary slightly between the U.S. and Canada, many articles have been published indicating as high as 20% (that’s one in five) college women will experience sexual violence during her undergraduate career. The Centers for Disease Control define sexual violence as “a sexual act committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent.” You may think that definition is broad and you are right; it encompasses rape, assault, harassment and more. We also know the news doesn’t get much better; in both countries, reporting rates are low and research tells us survivors are far more likely to suffer from additional health issues like alcohol abuse, drug abuse, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
While it can certainly feel overwhelming when reading through the statistics, it is important to us to be informed and also discuss our ability to make a difference on such an important issue. Recently, Theta developed a statement about sexual violence that will guide our work to empower our members to be leaders in campus safety. Hence, Kappa Alpha Theta:
- Supports survivors of sexual misconduct and sexual violence.
- Is committed to engaging members in prevention and intervention efforts.
- Does not support events contributing to the objectification/sexualization of groups of people, including women, or the reinforcement of negative gender roles.
- Works to connect members to resources to prevent sexual misconduct and sexual violence, as well as resources for those members who are survivors of interpersonal violence.
- Encourages all college chapters to host presentations from campus/professional experts on college/university policies and procedures, as well as prevention and intervention best practices and recommendations on an ongoing, regular basis.
Throughout the next few weeks, we will discuss these issues more in-depth as a part of a social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual violence. Our posts will include more conversation on the issue, how to support survivors, rape supportive culture, and opportunities to be an advocate against sexual violence. We hope you join us in the conversation; we want to hear from you.