Central New York, Syracuse

“It’s On Us” Week Starts at Syracuse University

"It's On Us" week starts at Syracuse University to bring the topic of sexual assault to the forefront of campus conversation.

By Emma Pettersen SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)- This week marks the start of the “It’s On Us” Week of Action at Syracuse University. The “It’s On Us” campaign aims to educate college students about sexual assault and empower them to be active bystanders. Student Emily Durand is a member of the National Student Advisory Committee and planned the week’s events.

“We offer a variety of activities for students to get involved and to get educated. Sexual assault is a difficult issue to talk about so usually it’s just giving people a new perspective to get the conversation started,” said Durand.

Students can visit the “It’s On Us” table in the Schine Student Center on campus all week and pick up information about the week’s events, campus resources and teal ribbons to show their support for the campaign.

But the college campus isn’t the only environment where sexual assault is prevalent. Recent news has been dominated by a string on sexual assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. These allegations come the same year that Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly and Bill Cosby have also been accused of sexual assault by a number of women.

Advertising Professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Rebecca Ortiz says that these allegations follow a dangerous dynamic in the media industry of youth and power.

“When someone is so young and is trying to break into an industry that is very hard to break into, and you have these people that have all of this power, there is an opportunity there to take advantage,” says Ortiz.

Ortiz has done extensive research on sex and communications and has even written about the topic for the Huffington Post. She says that while the topic is difficult, today’s students are learning more than previous generations ever did.

“The horizon is bright for this age group that is about to enter the workforce. They’re learning things that their parents would never have learned about. We’re seeing a change in the culture where it is getting more common to speak up about this issues and more common to defend the victim instead of blame the victim,” says Ortiz.