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Stephen Joel Trachtenberg-match our funding efforts dollar-for-dollar to hire a full-time Survivors Advocate at GWU.

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On Tuesday August 26, GW's current Professor of Public Service and President Emeritus Stephen Joel Trachtenberg spoke on The Diane Rhem Show to discuss the role of fraternities and sororities on college campuses, specifically the role that Greek life plays in the sexual assault epidemic. The statements he made promote victim-blaming and make GW students feel unsafe on campus. Read his remarks below:

Dr. Trachtenberg: "No no! I think it turns out that there are good and bad in fraternities and out of fraternities. What we're focusing here on is a general situation. I think what we're doing is creating a false correlation. For example, we point out that the women don't drink, don't have sorority parties which have alcohol. They don't have to. They go to the parties at the fraternities. So it's not as if the women aren't drinking. They are, in fact.

Without making the victims responsible for what happens, one of the groups that have to be trained not to drink in excess are women. They need to be in a position to punch the guys in the nose if they misbehave. And so part of the problem is you have men who take advantage of women who drink too much and there are women who drink too much. And we need to educate our daughters and our children in that regard."

Listen to the full conversation here:http://thedianerehmshow.org/audio-player?nid=19823

We believe this rhetoric is both harmful and unacceptable. There is no excuse for victim-blaming, nor should the onus ever be on a woman to prevent her own rape. This type of language perpetuates rape culture and is offensive to all survivors of sexual assault. As a GWU alumna and rape survivor, I, along with Students Against Sexual Assault and various other people who organized this petition, will not be complacent in harmful, victim-blaming rhetoric.

Immediate demands for Trachtenberg:

We, a collective group of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and GWU community members organizing this petition, ask Stephen Trachtenberg to:

1. Issue an apology to the GWU community, and all victims and survivors of sexual assault who are current or former students of GWU

2. Make a matching donation to our crowdfunding effort to hire a full-time Survivors Advocate who would specialize in supporting survivors of sexual or gendered violence.

Long term demands for administration:

1. Employment of a full-time Survivors Advocate who would specialize in supporting survivors of sexual or gendered violence, and any additional administrative help this person might need

2. Increased support for the prevention efforts of student organizations on campus

3. Support for training for faculty and staff around sexual assault

4. More comprehensive, mandatory sexual assault prevention and bystander training for all social and professional Greek life on a semesterly basis

5. Mandatory sexual assault prevention and bystander training at Colonial Inauguration

6. Condemnation of Trachtenberg's comments and the use of victim-blaming rhetoric by university staff and officials

Please sign this petition to gather support for our demands, and donate to our crowdfunding campaign to bring a Survivors Advocate to GWU's campus. The more you donate, the more Trachtenberg donates, and the more pressure you put on him and the University through this petition, the closer we will be to implementing change in our community.



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