Ohio State Stays Ahead Of The Curve On Sexual Assault Awareness

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A national push is on to prevent sexual violence and to protect college students from its harmful effects.

A special White House task force has released its expectations for colleges around the country.

National data shows one in five women are sexually assaulted in college - and most of the time - those crimes are not even reported.

The federal government says that must change through better programs that help, inform and build trust for all victims and students.

It is something that is already happening at campuses around central Ohio.

If you walk around the Ohio State campus, you're bound to bump into displays of one of the latest campaigns to spread awareness and prevent sexual violence.

"We have been working very hard to stay ahead of the curve," said Michelle Bangen, Ohio State’s Sexual Violence Prevention Coordinator.

She says it is just one of a number of programs to shed more light on this growing problem, creating a buzz around campus.

"I think it's really good they are targeting new students, that sort of thing, get them aware on how to act with people out in public early on in their college careers,” said Freshman Ryan Wilber.  “That way, they can prevent incidents from happening."

"We know the work that we've been putting in is paying off and it is in the direction the federal government would like us to go," added Bangen.

The task force is releasing public service announcements and has started a web site at www.notalone.gov, a new clearinghouse of information.

"It brings light to the problem, attention to the issue, and lets the survivors be heard," said Bangen.

The task force is working to require colleges to conduct extensive campus climate surveys to identify the scope of their individual problem, to help schools respond effectively when a student is assaulted, to increase transparency and improve enforcement of crimes – and to bolster prevention programs.

One of those, a bystander intervention program, was introduced on the Ohio State campus a year and a half ago.

"It makes people feel responsible to intervene, gives them strategies to do it, and then even lets them practice,” Bangen added. 

Read more: Obama Creates Task Force To Respond To College Sexual Assault Epidemic