It’s On Us is an organization that promotes sexual assault awareness across the country. Placed on various college campuses, its main goals are to help people recognize situations in which non-consensual sex can occur, learn how to intervene appropriately and create a safe environment for survivors. At the University of Delaware, with the help of co-presidents Natalie Walton and Chase Meadows, a new chapter of It’s On Us has just started and is already making an impact.
Natalie is a sophomore criminal justice major from Newark Delaware, while Chase is a junior Human services major from Takoma Park, Washington D.C. I asked them a series of questions to get to know their ideals on sexual assault awareness and more about It’s On Us!
HC: How did you find out about It’s On Us?
Natalie: I received an email from a colleague who I work with at the Sexual Offense Support (SOS). The email relayed that the national IOU campaign was searching for students to take on the role of campus organizer at their own universities. Excited to take on the role, I sent in an application for the position at UD and received it shortly after.
Chase: I found IOU through Student Central while looking for organizations focusing on sexual assault awareness and prevention. I did not know a ton about the organization, but I knew I was looking to make a difference.
HC: What made you want to start a chapter at the University of Delaware?
Chase & Natalie: We agree that we really resonate with IOUs mission of helping to fuel conversation about sexual assault and help end it.
Chase: I have an overwhelming awareness of the negative statistics across college campuses and UD alerts. The frequency of incidents worries me, making it integral to start a chapter at UD.
Natalie: It is also noteworthy that Joe Biden was one of the people who started It’s On Us. It makes sense that a chapter would take place here, because UD is his alma mater.
Both Natalie and Chase are SOS (sexual offense support) advocates and Chase says that in addition to being an advocate, he would also like to prevent as well.
HC: What is the most important idea when spreading the word about sexual assault awareness?
Natalie & Chase: We agree that the most important idea is ensuring that any preconceived notions and myths surrounding sexual assault aren’t part of the conversation.
HC: What would you say to someone who came to you because they experienced sexual assault?
Chase & Natalie: It is uber important to make sure that person knows it wasn’t their fault and you are there for them! Afterwards, only if they want, you can direct them toward different resources within campus like a hotline or counseling center.
HC: How has sexual assault awareness impacted your life?
Natalie: I would consider it one of my defining characteristics at this point. I have been passionate about sexual assault awareness for a while and it is a huge part of what I wants to do with the rest of my life.
Chase: Mental health means a lot to me and I have seen the long lasting effects sexual assault has had on people who he is close to. Hearing stories from people who are not male has humbled me and changed my perspective.
HC: Who are some celebrities you admire, who help spread the word?
Chase: I'd say Terry Crews and Gabrielle Union.
Natalie: I love Aly Raisman.
HC: How can people get involved with IOU at the University of Delaware?
Chase & Natalie: It’s On Us at UD has weekly meetings at 5:00 pm on Tuesdays, typically in Room 341 in Smith Hall! You can also find us on social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @iouatud. Finally, you can use our hashtags including #IOU, #IOUatUD and #ItsOnUs and join ua at any of our events!
HC: What are your hopes for the future of IOU at Delaware?
Natalie & Chase: We hope that it becomes less of an organization or movement and more of the culture. We would love it for bystander intervention and prevention techniques to be natural and normal and we hope to have much more large scale events!
HC: Any other information you would like to provide?
Chase & Natalie: The S.O.S. hotline number is 302-831-1001. Press 1 to speak to an advocate. Also follow IOU on social media: IOU@UD.