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A university sent out a 'rape prevention' email following a sexual assault on campus. I'm impressed.

Can all colleges everywhere please talk about sexual assault prevention like this?

A university sent out a 'rape prevention' email following a sexual assault on campus. I'm impressed.

A sexual assault was reported on a college campus last week.

Unfortunately, sexual assaults on college campuses aren't all that unusual. And this one sounds pretty familiar: A student reported that she was assaulted in a dorm by someone she knew. It happened at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


The university sent out an email informing the school community.

Under the Clery Act, colleges are required to inform students of crime on and around campus.

Take note of this part of the email:

Sexual assault is never the fault of the victim. While nothing is failsafe, here are some suggestions everyone may want to consider:
- Make sure you have consent. Consent is a clear and freely given yes, not the absence of a no.
- People who are incapacitated by alcohol or drugs cannot give consent.
- Practice being assertive about your boundaries.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel uneasy or sense something is wrong, call for assistance.
- Be active in supporting a safe and respectful community. If you see others engaging in disrespectful or inappropriate actions, speak up and get involved, or contact someone else to assist.




Among the tips on how to avoid sexual assault are two incredibly important points: One must ensure they have consent, and a person who's incapacitated cannot give consent.

And that follows the reminder that sexual assault is never the victim's fault.

I know this shouldn't be a big deal, but let's be honest: It is.

Over and over, when we talk about how to avoid sexual assault, we list all the things potential victims can do to avoid being raped instead of what potential rapists can do to avoid raping.

It's not a subtle difference. And yes, while it's wise to know how to keep ourselves safe, we also have to stop blaming victims.

Blame-shifting in action

I reached out to the UW police department to ask about the email. Spokesman Marc Lovicott explained:

"We've always operated under the assumption that a sexual assault is never the fault of the victim. Ever. And I'd like to think that most police departments operate the same way. That said, we realized we needed to do a better job of clearly conveying that message to our community, while at the same time offering tools for our community to consider."

They're looking toward solutions, not just talk:

"We took time over the last year to reconstruct and develop these messages/suggestions so they're actually useful. You'll notice some are suggestions aimed at an alleged perpetrator, and that's intentional. ... We needed to do more to get the message across that sexual assault is not acceptable. But how do we do that without just blatantly saying 'Don't sexually assault someone'? It sounds sort of silly, because everyone knows — or should know — that sexual assault is wrong. So what suggestions can we offer? We focused on consent — what is and isn't consent, and the lack of consent when someone is incapacitated. The more we push out messages about getting consent, alcohol use, etc. ... the better."

I hope this email is indicative of an entire culture change that shifts the responsibility for rape to where it belongs: the perpetrator.

True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

In the autumn of 1939, Chiune Sugihara was sent to Lithuania to open the first Japanese consulate there. His job was to keep tabs on and gather information about Japan's ally, Germany. Meanwhile, in neighboring Poland, Nazi tanks had already begun to roll in, causing Jewish refugees to flee into the small country.

When the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania in June of 1940, scores of Jews flooded the Japanese consulate, seeking transit visas to be able to escape to a safety through Japan. Overwhelmed by the requests, Sugihara reached out to the foreign ministry in Tokyo for guidance and was told that no one without proper paperwork should be issued a visa—a limitation that would have ruled out nearly all of the refugees seeking his help.

Sugihara faced a life-changing choice. He could obey the government and leave the Jews in Lithuania to their fate, or he could disobey orders and face disgrace and the loss of his job, if not more severe punishments from his superiors.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Sugihara was fond of saying, "I may have to disobey my government, but if I don't, I would be disobeying God." Sugihara decided it was worth it to risk his livelihood and good standing with the Japanese government to give the Jews at his doorstep a fighting chance, so he started issuing Japanese transit visas to any refugee who needed one, regardless of their eligibility.

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