Reps. Longhurst and Williams: Campus Sexual Assault Awareness Is Vital

The following letter to the editor appeared in the September 28 edition of the (Wilmington) News Journal.

You have heard the troubling statistic before: one in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college. The vast majority of these crimes are never reported. These are statistical facts that we and many others have been trying to change across the country and here in Delaware.

During the past two years, we spent countless hours working with stakeholders in Delaware’s higher education community and sexual assault advocacy community to craft legislation that will help end the silence surrounding sexual assaults on college campuses and encourage more reporting of these offenses.

Since then, we’ve seen Delaware’s colleges take a big step forward, with the schools’ Title IX coordinators working closely with their campuses and directly with students. The coordinators from the different colleges are  now meeting monthly to share information, highlight best practices and look for ways to work together to address issues surrounding campus sexual assault. We are encouraged by the commitment these Title IX coordinators have made to the safety of the students on their campuses and hope it fosters a real dialogue to put an end to these criminal acts.

In that vein, the coordinators of Delaware’s institutes of higher learning – University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Delaware Technical Community College, Wesley College, Wilmington University and Goldey-Beacom College – are partnering together today, September 28th, for a statewide initiative United Against Sexual Assault. There will be activities at the various colleges today.

People can show their support for sexual assault awareness by wearing teal and using the hashtag #DEWearsTeal on social media.

These are all great steps forward, ones we hope are the first of many. It will take a concerted effort from all sides of the issue, and we are committed to doing everything we can to end sexual assault on Delaware’s college campuses.

Rep. Valerie Longhurst          Rep. Kim Williams
15th District                               19th District