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Preventing Sexual Assault: Colleges and Men Urged to Lead

PHOTO: One effort that continues to grow nationwide to raise awareness and get men more involved in sexual assault prevention is called "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes." Photo credit: Tulane Public Relations
PHOTO: One effort that continues to grow nationwide to raise awareness and get men more involved in sexual assault prevention is called "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes." Photo credit: Tulane Public Relations
February 6, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – With an estimated one-in-five women sexually assaulted during college, there is a new effort under way to help schools do a better job with prevention and response.

The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault has 90 days to come up with recommendations.

Those should include the training of college leadership and responders on treating the issue as the serious crime it is, says Becky Perkins, statewide outreach manager for the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

"There's a lot of things that schools can do,” she stresses. “Making sure that educational staff know what their responsibilities are in terms of reporting sexual assault when they know about it or it's suspected. Believing survivors and helping them to find the supports needed to recover."

Those who have been sexually assaulted are more likely to later have depression, battle substance abuse or suffer from a wide range of physical ailments.

In announcing the creation of the task force this past week, President Barack Obama also called on men to become more involved in prevention.

Perkins says that could really help shift the tide.

"Men have a very obvious and important role in preventing sexual violence," she explains. "Teaching boys at a very young age how to be respectful of girls, and certainly from the perspective of a bystander. "

In the U.S., it's estimated that about 22 million women and 1.6 million men have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH