By Julianne Tatelbaum
For as long as I can remember, my parents were very honest with me.
They didn’t filter and they didn’t try to shelter me from the inevitable negativity in our lives.
They taught me to keep an open mind, talk through my issues and to seek help when needed.
I think this is why, when I approach Reamer and see students and faculty tabling and advertising information about sexual assault awareness, I feel empowered rather than embarrassed.
Union’s Committee on Consent Education and Awareness has decided to participate in President Obama and VP Joe Biden’s national campaign to raise awareness and activism on college campuses called, “It’s On Us”.
The goal of this campaign is to “[inspire] everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it,” which I find to be a really powerful sentiment.
Accountability is a crucial tool to help keep students informed, active and aware.
I feel that the “It’s On Us” campaign can be especially effective on a small campus such as Union’s.
Even as a transfer student, having been on campus for less than a month, I feel like I recognize the majority of students I run into on my way to class or out on the weekend.
I think we students should absolutely take advantage of Union’s small size; we should hold each other accountable to look out for one another, feel supported enough to report incidents of sexual assault, and encourage our friends and peers to have engaged conversations about the things that are sometimes unpleasant to talk about.
Though it’s difficult for me to understand, I certainly think it’s understandable that some people feel uncomfortable discussing sexuality and rape in such an open setting.
I can’t imagine my own parents telling me “not to worry about it” if, while we listened to NPR, a story came through about a rape or sex scandal.
My parents, if anything, were way too informational and engaging than any ten-year-old girl would want her parents to be about sex.
Now, I feel proud to be a student at a school taking strides to participate in a national conversation about sexual assault awareness.
I appreciate that there is a whole week dedicated to events and informational tables on the issue, but I definitely think we should always be informed and aware.
In my life, even as a young child, my questions and naiveté about the world have been met with confidence, openness, and judgement-free answers.
I believe all college students should approach the matter of sexual assault (and any other relevant issues) with the respect, acceptance and confidence.
Perhaps having more conversations will make accountability a privilege rather than a daunting task.