LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. As part of that, this week is “It’s On Us” National Week of Action. Some students at the University of Kentucky are stepping up, hoping to be part of the solution.
Several students at UK signed chalk boards, taking a pledge saying they realize it’s on them to help put an end to sexual assault.
“One of the most important things we can do to prevent sexual and gender-based violence is all come together and understand we all have a role to play in making a difference,” said Chelsey Reid from UK’s Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) Center.
That’s why the VIP Center set up outside the Whitehall classroom building, as part of the “It’s On Us” week.
It’s all about pledging to recognize, identify and intervene in sexual assault situations.
“It’s an ownness that you take upon yourself to be aware of the surroundings and to hold yourself accountable, and to not be afraid to jump in if you see something that looks problematic,” said Reid.
Sometimes it can be hard to find the courage to step in and say something. ABC 36 talked to a student who says she was raped last semester. Now a survivor, she urges people to speak up.
“It’s time to be a nosy neighbor again, because there are so many instances where people see something and don’t say something because they think they’re wrong, but if you see something you think is suspicious, say something,” she said. “If it’s nothing that’s fine, but it’s better to protect people and keep an eye out for each other.”
Some students pledging say they are always paying attention to what’s going on around them, hoping their classmates will do the same.
“You have to build that sense of caring about one another, even if you don’t know them,” said Mia Thompson, a UK student.
Thompson says it’s important to remember not everyone will ask for help.
“There are still silent screams, and you still have to notice those things,” said Thompson.
Students have more opportunities to take the pledge at events throughout the rest of the week.
On Wednesday, there will be a pop-up yoga class on campus, beginning at 4 p.m.
The week concludes on Thursday with tailgating at Cliff Hagan Stadium during the UK vs. University of Florida baseball game.
For more information regarding “It’s On Us” week, click here.