A Student’s Fight Against Sexual Assault: Step Up

I’ve had the honor of knowing Jordan Selep, this year’s Homecoming Queen, for two years, and I’ve truly never met someone so wholeheartedly kind and compassionate. While her character alone is amazing enough, what impresses me even more are her efforts to end sexual assault on campus. Jordan ran for homecoming on the platform “Step Up with Selep,” now shortened to “Step Up” (always being modest), and is continuing to carry out her mission toward preventing sexual assault.

Step Up is a student-leader coalition that trains bystanders on how to intervene if they are in a position where they can stop a sexual assault. How many times have you been on campus and seen someone clearly being made uncomfortable, but you didn’t act to help them because you didn’t know how? Personally, I’ve been in this situation countless of times.

“A lot of students want to be able to help and step into situations that look potentially harmful but are unsure of how exactly to do that. That’s why we chose to approach this topic through bystander intervention approach, so that individuals like us are able to gain more confidence recognizing the signs of sexual assault and stepping in when we find it necessary,” explained Jordan.

Sexual assault is extremely prevalent on college campuses; one out of four female and one out of 16 male undergraduates will be victim to sexual assault before graduation. Jordan is making huge strides to fight back against these statistics with the Step Up coalition, and she hopes that it will continue to consistently confront sexual assault long after she graduates.

Step Up has had various sessions in which they visited several organizations across campus to inform students on how they can use real-life techniques to intervene when they see potential sexual assault. In regards to her ambitions for Step Up, Selep says her aim is to have multiple opportunities a semester for at least one member of each student organization to attend the Step Up meeting sessions.

Words can’t describe how proud I am of Jordan for shedding light on such an important topic at Virginia Tech. “I have genuinely learned so much from this experience and truly felt so honored and privileged to be able to run for homecoming last semester on the topic that I did. It’s not everyday that you have an experience like the one homecoming provides to start a movement about something you’re passionate about and I am just so grateful for it every day,” said Selep.

Her determination to lift her platform off the ground and turn it into an active group on campus is a testimony to Jordan’s passion and desire to help others. Although I’m going to miss her after she graduates this spring, I know that because of her dedication, Step Up will have a lasting presence at Virginia Tech, and I can’t wait to witness the positive effects that Step Up will have on this community in the future.

Image Source: Image Courtesy of Jordan Selep