Post by Tori Schafer
Receiving the Biden Courage Award was truly a time for me to reflect on the amazing opportunities my campus community has afforded me. As a survivor of sexual assault, working to improve It’s On Us has been a way for me to heal and support others. While heading It’s On Us on the campus level and serving as a regional adviser nationally, I have heard time and time again the relevance of the movement. In the era of #MeToo, more and more people feel comfortable sharing their stories and I want to ensure those students feel they have a place in our organization.
Over 500 college campuses and 300,000 people have taken part in the It’s On Us movement. The goal of the organization is to change the culture around sexual assault. A simple but lofty goal that requires every “Us” to do their part. It’s On Us does programming in all 50 states and has 95 partners, including big names like the MLB and the NFL.
The largest It’s On Us program in the nation thrives right here on the University of Missouri campus. With over 100 students actively leading the chapter, we proudly host various events hoping to spur progress towards a safer campus. Our partners around campus include the RSVP Center, Mizzou Athletics, the Honors College, the College of Engineering, the School of Social Work and the Sinclair School of Nursing just to name a few. Last year, we were a group of nearly 20 students and now we have more than quadrupled in size and impact.
Empowering and uplifting the voices of survivors through visibility campaigns like the Teal Out Game with Mizzou Baseball, is just one way we show support. Currently, our organization has a bill going through the Missouri legislature to advocate for consent, sexual harassment and sexual violence education in public schools across the state. We hope that having these conversations early on will reduce the amount of violence we see on our campus.
Being recognized by the Biden Foundation was a huge honor and a very emotional night for me. As I reflected upon all of our accomplishments over the past four years, I realized how little this award would mean if no change was sustained from our efforts. My hope is that student organizations like It’s On Us continue to flourish and be supported on the University of Missouri campus. And one day, my biggest hope, is that It’s On Us is no longer needed.