HARRISBURG, Pa., March 31, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine today at Bucks County Community College led an "It's On Us PA" roundtable discussion focused on the role of administrators, students, and policy in combatting sexual violence on campuses and in schools.
"I am thankful to have had the opportunity to speak at today's event because it is time for a cultural shift in the way we think about sexual assault," said Dr. Levine. "The solution begins with each of us understanding that sexual assault is not just a crime but a societal problem in which we all have a role to play."
On January 29, 2016, Governor Wolf launched "It's On Us PA," a statewide campaign that engages education leaders from school superintendents to college presidents as well as students, teachers, families, and communities to make a personal and public pledge to play a role in preventing, addressing, and responding effectively to sexual violence.
The specific goals of "It's On Us PA" are to:
- Improve awareness, prevention, reporting, and response systems in schools, colleges and universities to better serve all students.
- Remove/reduce barriers that prevent survivors from reporting and/or accessing vital resources by creating a more consistent, empowering reporting process for student survivors of gender-based violence.
- Demonstrate significant, proactive, and sustainable leadership to change campus culture by challenging Pennsylvania's education leaders – including college and university presidents, superintendents – as well as students, teachers, faculty, staff, families, and communities to pledge to improve their institutions' climate.
Agencies, schools and dignitaries present or represented at today's event included:
- Delaware Valley University
- Lancaster School District
- Philadelphia University
- Pennsylvania Association of Private Schools
- Representative Tina Davis
- Reading Area Community College
- University of Pennsylvania
- Network of Victims Assistance
- Montgomery County Community College
- The Cleary Center for Security on Campus
- Drexel University
- Central Bucks
- Lincoln University
- Temple University
In 2014, an estimated 12,875 students enrolled in Pennsylvania postsecondary institutions experienced sexual assault. Approximately one in five college women and one in 20 college men experience sexual violence.
The trauma of sexual assault affects health and well-being in both the short and long-term. The immediate health impacts can have significant physical effects on assaulted individuals that lead to disabilities, unwanted pregnancies, or death. Long-term mental issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD, self-harm, substance abuse, and eating disorders often result from a sexual assault as well.
Bucks County Community College was one of the original schools to commit to be part of "It's On Us PA." They have developed partnerships with Delaware Valley University and their local rape crisis center to address sexual violence.
To learn more about the work Buck County Community College is doing to improve their local community, visit http://www.bucks.edu/.
Go to www.health.pa.gov to learn more about the department's outreach on sexual health and more.
MEDIA CONTACT: Amy Worden, DOH, 717-787-1783
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health