Attorney General Andy Beshear visited campus on Wednesday to present the Student Government Association with a prize for winning the viral award of the Voice of Justice video contest.
The contest aimed to get students involved in educating their peers and supporting victims of sexual assault. The 30-second videos submitted by student groups had to include information about being an active bystander in an assault situation and the reporting, investigating and prosecution process of campus sexual assault.
“It is more than a video contest; it’s about students protecting students,” Beshear said.
Beshear presented several SGA representatives with a $500 check for winning the viral award, meaning the SGA’s videos received the most views on social media. The SGA’s video received nearly 1,700 views on Beshear’s YouTube channel, nearly 400 more than the second most-viewed video.
Beshear said the viral award was so important because more people saw the video and learned how to better protect each other from sexual assault situations.
The video was created with the help of Vid Monster Productions, who produced it pro bono because of the nature of the contest. The video features several WKU students holding signs about rape culture and sexual assault situations on-campus while bystanders pay no attention to the individuals’ distress.
“We hope that all students truly realize that this is an issue we all have to cooperate and work on together,” SGA President Jay Todd Richey said. “As the title of the video states, we must all speak up to end sexual assault.”
Richey said it was a tremendous honor to win the viral award and to have Beshear at WKU presenting. The SGA received one of two cash prizes for the 16 videos that were submitted.
The executive cabinet of SGA has used its own funds to match the $500 winnings and will donate the $1,000 total to the Counseling and Testing Center on campus. The Counseling and Testing Center provides counseling services to those with mental health issues and to survivors of sexual assault.
In addition to the Voice of Justice video, the SGA has done several things this year to combat sexual assault, including the creation of the SAVES (Standing Against Violence and Ending Self-harm) committee and the recent passing of a resolution to support sexual assault training for the WKU Police Department.
“The Student Government Association genuinely cares about ending rape culture, ending sexual violence and encouraging active bystanding, so we can help as many students as possible,” Richey said.
Several representatives from the Counseling and Testing Center showed up to see Beshear speak including Star the therapy dog.
Beshear pointed out the SGA was receiving the award on National Denim Day, which was created to raise sexual assault awareness and prevention. National Denim Day was created after a court in Italy ruled that a rape victim’s jeans were so tight that it implied consent to her abuser. Beshear said he was proud to give the award to the SGA for combating these types of rape culture messages.
Beshear also visited WKU in February to formally announce the Voice of Justice contest after the WKU SGA was the first student group to show interest in competing.
“You have amazing things going on in the student body at WKU,” Beshear said. “I think if you keep doing what you’re doing this may well be the safest campus to attend, to learn and to grow in.”
Reporter Jamie Williams can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]