‘We Care’ campaign aims to increase awareness of sexual misconduct resources

CHAMPAIGN – The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is launching a campaign to increase awareness of the resources available at the University and in the Champaign-Urbana community for everyone affected by sexual violence.

The “At Illinois We Care” website at wecare.illinois.edu anchors the campaign to comprehensively deliver important information about sexual misconduct to those who need it. The easy-to-use, mobile-friendly website has quick links for those who want to report an incident, those who want to talk to someone, those who want information about how to support survivors and even people who do not necessarily know what to do.

The website provides information about confidential and nonconfidential resources, university policies, disciplinary procedures, and frequently asked questions on numerous topics related to supporting survivors, reporting options, and prevention and education programs.

“We Care” will use social media, digital displays, printed materials and other advertising tools in a community-based approach to increase awareness. The campaign encourages students and employees who have experienced or know someone who has experienced sexual misconduct to report those incidents or to seek out help from available resources.

“Seeking out help after experiencing sexual violence is a very important and personal decision,” said Associate Chancellor and Associate Provost for Diversity Menah Pratt-Clarke, who also serves as the lead Title IX coordinator. “At Illinois, we want our campus community members to know that we really do care. We want them to know that there are people, resources and tools available to help whenever they are ready.”

Sexual violence and misconduct is a significant concern on college campuses. National surveys estimate that 20 percent of women and 6 percent of men experience sexual assault or attempted sexual assault during their time in college. According to another national survey, 43 percent of dating college women reported experiencing violent and abusive dating behavior, including physical, sexual, technological, verbal or otherwise controlling behavior.

“Sexual violence is a huge issue in our society, and it is sometimes very hard to talk about,” said Molly McLay, the Assistant Director of the Women’s Resources Center on the Urbana campus. “We hope this opens up a broad community-support network for those who might otherwise feel like they have nowhere to turn.”

Campus officials seek to encourage more people to talk about issues surrounding sexual violence and misconduct. The campus community has a longstanding history of engaging in much-needed discussion around those issues with its First Year Campus Acquaintance Rape Education (FYCARE) program, a sexual assault prevention workshop that has been mandatory for new students since 1996. Students at the University of Illinois participated in the student-driven ‘It’s On Us’ campaign earlier in 2015.

Questions or media inquiries should be directed to Menah Pratt-Clarke, Associate Chancellor and Associate Provost for Diversity and Lead Title IX Coordinator; or Kaamilyah Abdullah-Span, Associate Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Access, and Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Both can be reached at 217-333-0885.