De Anza College joins ‘It’s on Us’ consent initiative


Jenny Hong

Sexual assault statistics in the U.S. Red represents women Blue represents men Source: The CDC and Rainn

Nathalia Moran, Staff Reporter

Students took pledges to be an active bystander in addressing consent, relationship violence and sexual harassment as a part of the new It’s On Us initiative booth at De Anza Club Day on Oct. 10.

The It’s On Us initiative aims to engage students in a discussion surrounding consent education and intervention in cases of college sexual assault. The initiative began in 2014 under the Obama administration.

Mary Sullivan, health, education and wellness director, is spearheading the initiative at De Anza College. Sullivan said she first came into contact with the It’s On Us initiative when a student asked what to do if they saw harassment, assault or violence happening to a friend on campus.

“Hopefully we can expand it and empower them to speak to others about it,” she said. “We don’t want to be a police state, but we want to hold each other accountable.”

At De Anza College, the It’s On Us chapter is in its infancy.

“We want to recognize these things can happen, identify ways to intervene, how to intervene safely and create a pool of safety,” said Sullivan.

Natalie Ramos, 20, business major, believes that the initiative’s aim will work well at De Anza.

“They wants to make it more aware to students and the community just in preparation if something like that does occur,” said Natalie Ramos, 20, business major. “If it has occurred to someone, they’re trying to do steps to prevent it.”

The annual Clery Act Crime Statistics reported criminal incidents of assault, rape and dating or domestic violence on De Anza’s campus at zero to one case per year since 2015 until the latest report published in 2018.

These statistics report criminal incidents occurring each year on campus property, public property and non-campus property.

Foothill College’s Clery Act Crime Statistics, also reported that their number of cases ranges from zero to one case per year within the same time interval.

With such results from two campuses where thousands of students enroll each year, the new initiative serves to help students feel more comfortable speaking up about any experienced trauma.

“You’ll look at a situation and think, ‘Do you want to tell me why that is? Sounds like this was scary,’” Sullivan said. “We want to give them permission because they’re holding it in. We want to keep them safe.”

Using It’s On Us’ three main educational tactics, bystander intervention, survivor support and consent education, De Anza also aims to spread this mission across all aspects of student life.
It’s On Us had a booth at the Main Quad on Club Day, where students took a pledge to bring awareness to college sexual assault. Those who pledged were given a free t-shirt.

“The pledge depends on the person,” Sullivan said. “Some people pledge to be a designated driver.”

She said students can pledge to be an active bystander, in whatever form they choose, to prevent incidents of assault and violence from occurring at De Anza or to be a friend to survivors of trauma.

“Once people realize it does happen, it might help them out,” said Nedim Sherif, 18, business major. “It can help start a discussion.”