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Hey Harvard, It’s On Us

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Harvard chapter.


“We need to bend the culture curve in the right directon,” said Kyle Lierman, director of the “It’s On Us” White House initiative when he visited Harvard, “in the direction where [sexual assault] is just not acceptable.”

The “It’s On Us” campaign was launched in September this year, with the goal of preventing sexual assault specifically on college campuses by promoting the importance of bystander intervention. Lierman visited Harvard to speak to students about the campaign on Oct. 7, hosted by the Harvard College Democrats.

The initiative invites students across the nation to sign a pledge that encourages students to be active bystanders, to intervene in harmful situations, and to assist in creating an environment that doesn’t accept sexual assault.

Harvard is the college with the third highest number of reported sexual offenses. Policies are being debated. It’s in the news. Why isn’t anything being fixed? Why isn’t it getting better?

For one, Harvard wasn’t even one of the 200 campuses to sign onto the “It’s On Us” initiative. Harvard is debatably the number one college in the nation. Harvard has the third highest problem in the nation with sexual assault. Yet it couldn’t even be one of the 200 to sign onto the pledge.

Hey Harvard, guess what? It’s on us.

No one else is going to fix the problem for us. New policies and strikes and debates and discussions may help, but ultimately, nothing is going to fix it completely. It’s entirely on us to create an environment that does not tolerate sexual assault, and it’s on us to take this situation in a serious manner.

There is certainly much to appreciate and commend. Organizations such as Our Harvard Can Do Better are making real change happen, and it’s empowering to know that students are taking the matter into their own hands.

However, there is always room for improvement. Every single student at Harvard should take this upon themselves. It doesn’t take a time committment, it doesn’t take joining a club, it doesn’t even take publicly promoting involvement in the initiative. All it takes it being aware and taking action when necessary. It seems easy, and it seems like common sense that Harvard students would already be doing this. Yet Harvard remains in the highest three rates of sexual assaults.

It’s the responsibility of every single one of us to take the matter into our own hands and create an environment that does not accept sexual assault on campus–and it’s our responsibility to create Harvard into the place we know it can and should be.


For more information or to sign the pledge, visit ItsOnUs.org.

harvard contributor