If you’ve turned on the TV on a weekend, or have a friend who’s really into fantasy football you know that football season has begun.  Whether it’s College or NFL, fans and non-fans are watching all over the country.  

As a non-fan, the Penn State football game caught my eye while eating brunch at a local bagel shop.  Penn State was playing Airforce and while my friends started watching bits of the game, I noticed that an awareness ribbon for childhood sexual abuse was on all the players’ helmets.  My first thought was what an appropriate gesture to show football fans everywhere that the current Penn State football team supports survivors.
However, the next thought that jumped into my mind was why does it have to take the sexual assaults that occurred at Penn State to raise awareness about sexual violence?  Why does our culture wait until these things occur before we take on an issue?  We have seen this occur on campuses around the country whether it was Virginia Tech and gun violence or Duke University and sexual assault.  If we only start addressing these topics in public spaces at universities when such events occur, how can we create the change needed to shift mindsets and behaviors?
Let us know what you are doing on your campus this year to raise awareness about gender based violence.
Photo taken by Mike Pettigano