This week, the Louisiana State University (LSU) community is preparing to receive the Husch Blackwell law firm’s investigative report on the university’s Title IX policies and their implementation. LSU retained the law firm to conduct this review in response to a series of articles published by USA Today last fall which featured student survivors’ experiences that brought attention to the university’s mishandling of sexual misconduct over the past several years.
Back in November 2020, we at STAR responded to the initial round of reporting with a statement of our own to provide our perspective on the information made public through USA Today’s reporting. Since then, we have received requests from colleges and universities to provide training and support to help improve their response to sexual violence and increase prevention efforts on campuses. We are excited to expand the impact and influence of our work in this area, but as we do so, we are navigating how to do this work in ways that align with our values and all aspects of our mission, including that most core, fundamental aspect of our mission: supporting survivors.
STAR’s mission consists of three parts: to support survivors of sexual trauma, improve systems response, and create social change to end sexual violence. We are best known for the first part of our mission, and the vast majority of our funding and staff time are dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual violence on an individual and family basis. However, over the past several years, we have had an increase in requests from institutions, businesses and organizations to provide our quality training and resources to help further their initiatives to improve their policies and procedures and better train their employees on how to respond to instances of sexual violence within their workplaces and among the populations they serve. This led us to identify an unmet need in our communities to offer STAR services on a larger scale to make an even bigger impact to achieve our mission. Due to these increased demands for STAR’s expertise, we have begun offering consulting services to businesses, universities, and organizations to improve their policies, practices, and staff trainings related to sexual violence prevention and response.
Sexual violence is a community problem that requires community solutions. STAR alone cannot end sexual violence. Ending sexual violence is a responsibility that all institutions in a community must take on, and we are here to assist those who accept this responsibility in the communities we serve. Eliminating sexual violence will require uprooting and upending traditional norms and practices, and establishing new, more courageous ways of relating and operating.
We know that in order to achieve our vision of ending sexual violence, we must engage with institutions and communities on a larger scale to create cultures that support survivors, hold offenders accountable, and ultimately, operate under norms that prioritize consent and healthy relationships. This is the work of changing culture to reduce and ultimately eliminate sexual violence.
Click here to learn more about STAR’s consulting services.