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SU, LIVE relaunch It’s On Us program, prioritize change in campus culture

| News Editor

Student Union and Leaders in Interpersonal Violence Education relaunched the It’s On Us program Feb. 13, with an emphasis on addressing the culture of sexual violence on the Washington University campus.

SU introduced It’s On Us, a bystander intervention program with focuses on direct intervention, care for survivors and education on sexual violence, in 2014.

According to junior Bilal Hyder, SU vice president of public relations, the students restructuring It’s On Us wanted to expand programming options to address more elements of the culture surrounding sexual violence.

“Facilitations that we have for this year are designed to address the culture more than just being bystanders,” Hyder said. “If you’re going to go around changing the way things happen on campus, you have to change the culture and educate people on the culture first.”

As of Feb. 13, groups and individuals can sign up to participate in facilitations led by students trained by Leaders in Interpersonal Violence (LIVE) about caring for friends and communities; healthy relationships; cyberstalking; masculinities and violence; masculinity and femininity; queer identities; and violence and culture of consent.

Facilitations regarding care for sexual violence survivors will be consultation-based, meaning that student groups and individuals will be paired with a LIVE facilitator who will develop programming that will specifically address their needs.

LIVE co-president and senior Thomas Van Horn prioritized differentiating It’s On Us programming from Green Dot, which specializes in bystander intervention, while personalizing facilitations for individual groups.

“Last year, we got a lot of feedback from the groups doing it that a lot of them had already heard this kind of stuff before, especially if the group had already been Green Dot-trained,” Van Horn said. “It’s a lot more personalized for each individual and each group that signs up.”

It’s On Us organizers reported already seeing high interest in the new programming. According to Hyder, 19 individuals and one student group registered for facilitations within an hour of the program’s launch. If operations go smoothly, Van Horn expects trainings to start as soon as next weekend.

Members of LIVE hope It’s On Us will change the nature of conversations about sexual violence culture on campus.

“If you have a hookup culture that says you should not care about your sexual partner, that feeds in really easily into not caring about what your sexual partner wants or even if they consent,” LIVE It’s On Us chair and freshman Bonnie Castleman, said. “I’ve seen a lot of people wanting to have these conversations, even if they don’t know how.”

“I think a way this conversation will move in the future, especially with all the change that’s happening with #MeToo and Time’s Up, is how violence falls along lines of power,” LIVE co-president and senior Erin Waldman said. “And we’ll talk about power dynamics and privilege and how that plays out on a national scale but also on college campuses where these discussions are very real.”