The conversation surrounding sexual assault on campus has mainly been driven by student activists and organizations, but the university took an important step forward last Friday by launching sexualassault.georgetown.edu.
The website provides information on how to receive immediate help in cases of sexual assault, options for reporting sexual misconduct and links to university policy as well as D.C. law. In a campus-wide email introducing the website Feb. 25, University President John J. DeGioia also presented a new and extensive University Policy on Sexual Misconduct.
Establishing this centralized resource and enhancing policies has the potential to effect significant change on campus in the area of sexual misconduct. However, these initiatives’ ultimate success depends on what the university decides to do next. In this website, Georgetown has the initial building blocks for a broader campaign that could serve as a hub for discussions, information and support regarding sexual assault through social media and other publicity.
Currently, the website lacks sustainable visibility. Although its launch was publicized in an email, the website could be forgotten if its presence is not reinforced by a continued campaign to direct students to its resources. This will likely be a priority of groups like Sexual Assault Peer Educators and the Sexual Assault Working Group, but the university also has a responsibility to raise awareness on its own.
In his email, DeGioia wrote, “This website reflects our deep commitment to increasing awareness of issues relating to sexual misconduct.” To fulfill that commitment, more will be required than adding another website to Georgetown’s collection.
Sexualassault.georgetown.edu is already front and center — now it’s time to keep it there.