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Me Too Founder Tarana Burke to Tour HBCUs for Discussions on Sexual Assaults

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and no one knows the power of awareness more than Me Too Founder Tarana Burke. She, along with scholar Dr. Yaba Blay are planning to visit five Historically Black Colleges and University’s to discuss sexual violence and encourage attendees to participate in strategy sessions involving creating safe and accountable communities for students, administrators, and faculty.

Burke announced the initiative on her Instagram page, emphasizing the need to have real conversations about sexual assault and consent on campus. “Young black people across the diaspora - along spectrums of class, gender, sexuality, and ability - rely on and invest in HBCUs not just to facilitate on education, but to keep them safe while doing so,” she said to The Root, a co-sponsor of her multi-city tour. “We’re holding academic institutions accountable and harnessing our collective power to create strategies for sustained systemic change.”

The HBCU schedule includes Howard University, Alabama University Center, Alabama State University, North Carolina Central University, and Florida A&M University.

You can click here for more information on the tour.

The Realist Woman’s take:

I wish my schedule allowed me to go to one of these tours. While I’m no longer a student, it would be an honor to listen to Burke who is a Black History icon in the flesh. The sacrifices she’s made for women through telling her story and empowering other women to do the same is something that I think this generation of women and the generation to come will always be thankful for.

The Me Too movement, her movement, is one of the most powerful movements for women in recent history. What an opportunity for these students to participate in this tour and in these up and coming conversations about on-campus assaults and sexual violence in general. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource System, 20 to 25 percent of college women and 15 percent of college men will be a victim of sexual assault.

Universities don’t want to talk about this issue because it isn’t in their interest to highlight sexual assaults. When assaults are happening to their students, and the perpetrators are also their students, and these crimes are taking place on their campuses, their main concern is their reputation. Their cash flow, tuition, school games, alumni donations, is threatened by the issue of sexual assaults.

So I’m pleased with Tarana Burke and her mission to make students aware of these issues in the exact environment where they could potentially be victimized. I hate to put it that way because I felt pretty safe at school. But I’m never going to dismiss the experience of the many students who have been victimized and all of the statistics that back up their claims just because it didn’t happen to me.