Students and staff at Wright State University marched on campus Thursday to raise awareness about sexual assault.
Colleges and universities across the country are hosting “Take Back the Night” events to honor survivors of sexual violence. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“It affects so many people, especially on college campuses, especially being a woman on college campuses,” said Caitlyn Shiner, a Wright State senior.
The Wright State demonstration was held hours after the House of Representatives has passed a bill to renew the Violence Against Women Act.
The Violence Against Women Act offers protections for victims of domestic abuse and stalking and helps fund resources for survivors, according to officials.
Some of the resources offered on at Wright State for survivors are funded through the Violence Against Women Act, according to Corrie Pleska, campus survivor advocate and case manager.
“We started a support group for sexual assault survivors,” Pleska said. “Students now have the ability to contact me at any time. I have a 24-hour resource line that they can connect with me directly.”
Some of the new provisions added to the bill have sparked controversy. That includes expanding the ban that prevents perpetrators from buying guns.
Those convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse and stalking would fall under that ban, not just felons. The ban would also apply to those in relationships who aren’t married.
The National Rifle Association wants the changes dropped.
“They have everything they need under the law to prosecute these situations right now,” said Amy Hunter, an NRA spokesperson.
Another point of contention is the inclusion of protections for transgender people.
Some people at the Wright State demonstration told 2 NEWS they want domestic and sexual violence to be seen as a non-partisan issue.
“In this political time that we’re living in, this isn’t something that should be a political issue,” said Tylar O’Neal-White, a Wright State graduate student. “This is something that everybody has a stake in. Everybody has a family member or a friend or even themselves have been directly victimized by sexual violence.”
The bill still has to be passed by the Senate, where lawmakers are currently writing their own version. It would then have to go to the president’s desk for his signature.