Trigger warning: This column discusses sexual assault.
It is important that the University has a website where students and employees can report sexual and gender-based violence, bias incidents, hazing and other safety threats on Grounds. However, the name Just Report It is insensitive to members of our community who have and will experience harm during their time at the University.
The name Just Report It may be an attempt to make reporting more casual or to make the name of the website that doubles as a reporting form more memorable. When I read the name, though, a company slogan comes to mind. To me, Just Report It mimics a Nike swoosh followed by “Just Do It” — a tagline great for athletes trying to push themselves, but not for survivors of sexual violence, bias incidents and hazing who are trying to find resolution. The choice of the University to use a name so similar to the Nike slogan is odd when athletic motivation is very much different from the topics of the Just Report It form.
Worse than “Just Do It,” Just Report It echoes an antagonizing question survivors are often asked — “Why didn’t they just report it?” This question was revived during the #MeToo movement and has been weaponized against survivors who dare to speak out about previous experiences with sexual misconduct. Survivors have lots of reasons for not reporting harm. For example, they may be afraid of pushback, social alienation or having to internally relive a moment of harm. Just Report It, as a name, dismisses these reasons for not reporting.
There is no “just” in filling out a report. After clicking the “Report an Incident” button at the top of the website’s homepage and selecting a type of incident, one of the main fields asks the user to “provide a description of the incident/conduct you are reporting using specific, concise, descriptive language — who, what, where, when and how. Please also indicate your desired outcome, if applicable.” To fill out a report, a survivor must relive the moment that traumatized them and come up with their own solution. JUST REPORT IT! in all caps and italics with an exclamation mark only serves to mock the stressful nature of filling out the form — which already requires you to turn your pain into paperwork.
Not only is Just Report It insensitive, but it also paints the University as hypocritical after having implemented “Hoos Against Hazing” for all Greek life organizations and clubs with new member processes. The training acknowledges how difficult it is for people who experience hazing to step forward with their experiences, yet the name of the University’s reporting system makes it seem like no big deal. If I experienced hazing, Just Report It would not be a space where I would feel comfortable sharing my story.
While it is clear that Just Report It is not the best name for a reporting form, this does raise the question of what name would be better. Some alternative suggestions I have are Report It, HoosReport or Safe Report. These names are simple, but less condescending than Just Report It. Another option for choosing a name would be to consult invested members of our community. Student groups like Take Back the Night and the Culture of Respect Educators do sexual violence awareness and prevention work. The Office of Health Promotion provides preventative education and resources to students related to the options on the reporting form. The Title IX Office and Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights help protect the rights of community members and are resources on the form. The Title IX Office also has a new website called CavCare that is a step towards a more compassionate reporting process. Open dialogue between these organizations and others would likely lead to an improved name for Just Report It.
I am not saying that Just Report It needs to be deleted or drastically altered right now. But the name Just Report It is contradictory to the website’s purpose, which is to support community members who have experienced harm. Just rename Just Report It.
Mikayla Havison is a Viewpoint Writer who writes about University Life for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Cavalier Daily. Columns represent the views of the authors alone.