(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today attended the White House launch event for the “It’s On Us” public awareness campaign to help prevent campus sexual assault, and he released the following statement. The campaign seeks to engage college students and all members of campus communities in preventing sexual assault by instilling in students that it is everyone’s responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it.
“I was thrilled and inspired to be with both the President and Vice President as they powerfully opened this new initiative in the campaign against sexual assault and domestic violence. They were emphatic and eloquent in committing federal power and resources to address the scourge of sexual assault on college campuses. Fighting sexual assault shouldn't be only on survivors. It’s on all of us – all of our obligation,” said Blumenthal. “At my college roundtables across Connecticut, I have heard from students, staff, advocates and law enforcement that awareness and intervention are critical to preventing sexual assault. The Administration’s ‘It’s On Us’ campaign engages the campus community and empowers all students – especially young men – to play a role in preventing sexual assault. This approach works. At places like Connecticut College, students, administrators and student-athletes have implemented the Green Dot program to shift awareness and create a culture that rejects sexual assault. In many Connecticut campuses, significant progress is being made, but we have a long way to go – in our state and nationally – to change campus culture and broader views on sexual assault. ‘It’s On Us’ will jumpstart that conversation.”
From January to April, Blumenthal hosted roundtables on campus sexual assault at the University of Hartford, Southern Connecticut State University, University of Saint Joseph, Fairfield University, Western Connecticut State University, Northwestern Connecticut Community College, and Connecticut College. The impetus for the statewide discussions was the January release of the White House Council on Women and Girls’ report that found nearly one in five women (22 million) and one in 71 men (1.6 million) had been victims of sexual assault.
In April, Blumenthal sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Appropriations calling for more funding for a Department of Justice campus sexual assault grant program that Connecticut College used to set up its successful Sexual Assault-Free Environment Project, which is highlighted in the report. That same month Blumenthal sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education calling for new federal funding to investigate and enforce sexual assault laws at colleges and universities.