FREDONIA - A nationwide effort has been set forth to stop sexual assault once and for all.
Rep. Tom Reed had a roundtable discussion at SUNY Fredonia with representatives from Jamestown Community College, St. Bonaventure University, Dunkirk, Jamestown and Fredonia Police, and local hospital and advocacy organizations on Wednesday afternoon to brainstorm about how and when to make young adults aware of this serious problem.
Reed announced his co-sponsorship of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, which will strengthen accountability on college campuses, set penalties for non-compliance, require training for on-campus personnel and give students access to confidential advisers.
Congressman Tom Reed, R-Corning, and Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown, speak to local school and law officials about sexual harassment awareness Wednesday afternoon in the Williams Center at SUNY Fredonia.
Photo by Jasmine Willis
There was talk around the table about beginning these types of programs at a young age.
"It is a simple concept to teach young men and women that no means no," Reed said. "If they are poking someone and they say 'no,' this will help them identify this when they get older and have healthy relationships knowing no means no."
Short-term ideas include making more of a media campaign about sexual assault awareness, and a change in culture norms. Long-term ideas hope to overcome barriers in education on this topic, and to see no more sexual assault.
"No More Assault" is a national effort to bring awareness to this sensitive and seemingly escalating problem.
"This is the first time we have done this here (Chautauqua County). We have done this already in the Ithaca area," Reed said.
Reed announced five of his representatives will join the Chautauqua County Child Advocacy Stewards of Children program to help raise awareness of child abuse.
"The education process needs to be more effective," he said. "We talk about changes in curriculum at a federal level."
A big part of this is expected to come from leaders willing to stand up and voice their opinion on this matter.
"We will make this part of our mission," Reed said. "The social awareness campaign will reach out to coaches, local athletes and community leaders."