Story by Lindsey Coleman, Staff writer
The Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs and Attorney General Andy Beshear are joining forces to start a video contest to raise awareness about sexual assault on college campuses.
According to a press release from the Office of the Attorney General, “Despite one in five women and one in 16 men being sexually assaulted while in college in 2015, only 36 sexual assaults were reported to law enforcement on Kentucky’s public university campuses.”
“Far too many young Kentuckians are being subjected to this terrible form of violence, yet we are not being able to seek justice for so many of them,” Beshear said. “We want to change that.”
This is the second sexual assault awareness video campaign sponsored by KASAP and the Office of the Attorney General. The first was called Voices of Hope.
“We hope that this year’s contest is more widespread – that we have more participation – because ultimately the level of participation equates to the amount of awareness we can raise about sexual assault and how it is occurring on campuses throughout Kentucky,” Beshear said. “The more folks we can get involved – the more people that we have talking about it and participating on each and every one of Kentucky’s campuses – I believe will make each campus safer in the long run.”
The 30-second videos must include the number of the 24/7 free and confidential Sexual Assault Hotline, 800-656-SAFE, raise awareness of sexual assault, promote active bystanding and increase investigations on campuses of sexual assault. Video submissions are due April 1.
“If you are victimized, you are not alone,” Beshear said. “Whether it’s the Attorney General’s Office or anyone else, we want to help those who have been victimized by such an underreported crime.”
Beshear said his seven year old son and six year old daughter are part of what make him passionate about sexual assault awareness.
“At the beginning and the end of every day I’m a dad,” Beshear said. “Protecting Kentucky families, including young adults, is the reason that I’m doing this job. Campus sexual assault is one of the greatest threats facing our young adults.”
The videos will be shared in a number of ways. They will be reviewed by a committee and posted on YouTube and Beshear’s official social media accounts. One entry will receive the viral award for the most likes on social media, and another entry will win based on a committee’s decision. Both categories of winners will receive $500.
Beshear said members of KASAP, representatives from his office and members of the survivors council will be on the committee. One member of the committee, specifically is a victim of sexual assault from a college campus.
“I hope everyone that enters, enters wanting to win, but knowing that what they are doing has purpose,” Beshear said. “It’s important. What they’re putting together will help people.”
Beshear will be on college campuses, including Murray State, to promote the contest, discuss sexual assault, talk about how incidents need to be better reported, assure students that advocates are willing to help and acknowledge that legislators are changing the way the commonwealth investigates sexual assaults.
“We are looking to transform the way that we address sexual assault in this commonwealth, so that we can turn around the statistic where right now, where only 3 percent of sexual assaults are prosecuted,” Beshear said. “I can’t live with that. I know you all can’t live with that. So we’re going to do something about it.”
At the Higher Education Rally last week, Student Government Association President Clint Combs spoke with Beshear about holding an event at Murray State to promote sexual assault awareness. Combs said he hopes to plan the collaboration soon.