When the media writes about rape allegations as merely an "off-field distraction," or refers to Jameis Winston only as a "controversial player," it's minimizing the impact of sexual violence. Rape is more than an off-field distraction, and to define it as such does an injustice to survivors.
High school is a critical venue for discussing sexual violence and the increasing prevalence of campus rape in the media.
If you have not already done so, now is the time to talk to your son, your daughter, or your best friend and tell them if they are sexually assaulted that you will be there to support them.
We recognize and support those difficult dialogues because we know that a college is a place to be critically engaged, and not a place to be shrouded in secrecy and despair.
If we educate our children about what to expect from a healthy relationship -- throughout their lives -- we can make it much easier for them to recognize when something is wrong and get help when they need it. This is important not only for the well-being of our children but for the adults they will become.
As a campus activist, I educated peers on rape culture and the need to shift campus norms. I found my voice in the movement to end violence against women and discovered the power that emanates from collaboration and bringing people together around an issue.
Who are these men who behave like predators? Do they have a target age group? All girls develop differently in physical and emotional ways. At 13 it's hard to comprehend that you are a sexual object for some males. You are not a child to them.
Forty-four percent of reported sexual assaults take place before the victim is 18. And yet, secondary schools remain woefully unprepared and irresponsibly reluctant to act on this information.
Students who experience sexual violence should know that they are never alone, and there are many ways to ask for help, from contacting the local police department or notifying campus police to seeking support of friends and family or contacting a local crisis hotline.
You might say that rape on college campuses is the subject of the documentary, The Hunting Ground, but it is more about how far major institutions will go to protect their reputation, image and financial position.
He doesn't say he was raped, but he doesn't have to. I know what he is trying to say. Like most victims, the full sentence, "I was raped," is one we resist speaking at all. The label is too grotesque to add to our conscience.
Attending a Catholic College and admitting that you were assaulted can feel so shameful, however it is not shame that you should feel. Rather, by breaking the silence you are potentially helping others to not become victims at the hands of their offender.
A few days before Valentine's Day -- the anniversary of my rape -- I thought about all the times I had wanted to end my life. But this time, I decided to write myself a love letter. This radical act of self-love was the start of a letter-writing project called Survivor Love Letter.
Sexual violence can have such serious and lasting repercussions for survivors and bystanders alike that even one sexual assault is still too many.
In our role as staff members in higher education, it is our job to educate. It is our job to assist and help our students grow. It is also becoming our job to help our students heal. Our impact is much greater than retention rates. Our impact is helping survivors for the rest of their lives.
We believe that a strong, civil rights based campus system is integral to ending this violence once and for all.