Sue Snyder, Michigan's First Lady, Sexual Assault on campuses, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti

Michigan’s First Lady Holds Annual Summit Against Sexual Assault On Campuses

YPSILANTI (WWJ) — Michigan’s First Lady Sue Snyder headlined another statewide summit on sexual assault today — this time at Eastern Michigan University.

As part of her third annual statewide summit on sexual assault on campus, Michigan First Lady Sue Snyder said there needs to be an additional focus beyond supporting victims, specifically the need for a culture change on campuses.

“Today we are not allowing victims to be blamed or shamed into feeling like being assaulted was their fault,” Snyder said during today’s summit. “Today we’re empowering survivors to speak up about what happened to them. I believe this is what culture change looks like.”

One thing that hasn’t change over the past 30 years is one of four college women will become victims of sexual harassment or assault on campus, according to experts at the event.

While Snyder believes the process of a culture change has begun, she pointed out that more still needs to be done.

“To all of the students here today we need you and your voices more then ever before,” Snyder said. “You have the opportunity to be champions for change, and you can help make our campuses safer for your peers now and for generations of students that come after you.”

Just last week U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a native of Grand Rapids, scrapped former President Barack Obama’s guidance on investigating campus sexual assault, replacing it with new interim instructions for universities. The new interim instructions are reported to give those accused more rights for a fair case.

“This interim guidance will help schools as they work to combat sexual misconduct and will treat all students fairly,” DeVos said in a statement. “Schools must continue to confront these horrific crimes and behaviors head-on. There will be no more sweeping them under the rug. But the process also must be fair and impartial, giving everyone more confidence in its outcomes.”

Of those who become victims of sexual assault, nearly 90 percent reportedly never report the crime.

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