ALPENA, Mich — Governor Gretchen Whitmer and former First Lady of Michigan, Sue Snyder, have announced the fifth annual Let’s End Campus Sexual Assault Summit. This year, Governor Whitmer will be the keynote speaker.
One in five women, and one in 16 men are victims of sexual assault while they attend college in Michigan. Whitmer says these numbers unacceptable. Sexual assault program coordinator at Hope Shores Alliance, Jillian Ferguson, regularly works with students transitioning to college. She says taking a proactive approach is the best way to end the problem.
“I think its important to recognize that everyone is responsible for their own actions and to stop this excuse culture. Victim blaming and rape culture are just everywhere. And so when a high school student is entering college, and moving into that college age, they have to recognize that they are responsible for their own actions.”
Ferguson says over 90 percent of survivors on campuses never even report their assault. That’s why this years summit theme, focusing on the roles individuals and institutions play in preventing assault, should be important to everyone.
“When it comes to deciding what’s discussed at summits like this, education is the most critical piece. We see ways that survivors of sexual assault are negatively impacted on campuses over and over and over again, and we haven’t done good enough at stopping it.”
This year’s summit aims to change that by creating a safer culture, continuing the conversation and providing resources. The event will be held Tuesday, December 3 at Eastern Michigan University, but it’s never too early to start making a difference.