West Virginia University has launched a new phase in its “It’s on Us” campaign aimed at increasing awareness of sexual violence with three new videos highlighting the Title IX Peer Advocate Program Peer Advocate program.

“We serve as a resource to sexual assault survivors and those accused of sexual assault, as well,” Advocate Corey Talley explains in the first 30-second video, which debuted Saturday night during halftime of the men’s Texas Christian University basketball game at the WVU Coliseum.

The program trains people like Talley to help sexual violence victims through a for-credit class.



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The videos are part of the University’s It’s On Us campaign, an initiative to end campus sexual assault begun by President Barack Obama in 2014. WVU began its program in 2015 with awareness events developed through the national campaign. But shortly, WVU’s peer advocate coordinator Mariana Matthews, said, the Title IX program here began creating original programming.

“We developed it to be our own,” she said. “We can encompass all the areas we’re seeing that we need to address.”

Office of Equity Assurance director and Title IX coordinator James Goins, Jr. and Matthews were invited to the White House Jan. 5 to share with the Obama Administration the University’s efforts to reduce campus sexual assault and dating violence and to give advice on how to transition the It’s On Us campaign to the Donald Trump Administration.

“They want to hear from us about what we’ve done on campus—about what’s worked and what hasn’t worked and how we can advise a task force at the White House level,” Matthews said. “They’ll put together tool kits that they give to other campuses.”

One of those tools is a “SWOT team” that meets monthly to address current inter-personal violence issues that may be occurring on campus.

“If we see an increase in dating violence (for example), we ask why,” Matthews said. “With each report, we must analyze the factors involved to continuously understand the student population each semester. With new technology, dating culture, societal issues, the contributing factors to sexual assault and interpersonal violence may change, so this is something we consistently monitor and take into consideration when developing future prevention programs and awareness events with our WVU Community.

“Most schools don’t have that, and they’re modeling their team off of ours,” Matthews said.

The University’s program was highlighted at the White House last summer for its weeklong series of It’s On Us events during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April 2015. The events included creating a quilt, a YouTube discussion with Laci Green, a video blogger and public sex educator, and a student-led discussion on consent.



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