With all the discussion happening regarding Universities and Colleges [mis]handlings of on-campus rape cases, many people have never stopped to consider an important question.
Why is that their responsibility? Why isn’t it taken to the police?
It’s a fair concern. After all, rape and sexual assault are serious charges. This article by Politico details not only why, but how it came to be that campus assaults became handled this way. It’s an incredibly informative piece.
In yet more drama in the college sexual assault front, Donald Eastman III, president of Eckerd College released a statement advising students on how to not get raped. Needless to say, it was unhelpful, especially because it didn’t address the rapists…
Lucky for us (and their entire school), the student newspaper was having none of his bigoted statement. They issued an incredible respond, which you can read for yourself here. Part of this changing means the students getting involved.
I’ve talked about this a lot. Now, we have a professional article from a legitimate source talking about the handling of sexual assault and rape in universities and colleges. Honestly it just needs to be talked about in general. This is serious, this is way more common than it should be, and it’s not slowing down. Educate yourself, and force the schools to as well.
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and view one of the most beautiful/horrible examples of on-campus sexual assault awareness. I’ve said time and time again that universities and colleges need to do more to prevent and respond to sexual assault within their community of students. This school NAILED IT. By nailed it, I mean they did one of those things where the point of the nail goes in and then you hammer it sideways accidentally and it bends and you can’t fix it so you just pound it in so far that you can’t see it anymore.
I’m sure a lot of you heard about Emma Sulkowicz and her project “Carry that Weight,” in response to her school (Columbia University) refusing to expel her rapist. She vowed to carry her dorm mattress around until he was removed from the University. The project gained a significant amount of support, with other students assisting her and waiting outside of her classes to help carry the mattress. The project has now taken even more exciting turns, gaining notoriety and support from within the university and around the world. She has inspired other students, even some so close as the same floor of her dorm, to join in the mattress-carrying, awareness-raising, change-demanding movement. Students all over the world joined together for one day to air out their mattresses and their personal struggles in a demonstration of how poorly sexual assaults are often handled on college campuses everywhere. Huffington Post reports over 10,000 RSVPs for “attending” on the facebook event page for the protest.
Now, I’ve written about this issue before, both in my “Objectification Nation” post and in my “Not So Frat-tastic” post, so it should come as no surprise that I’ve been following this as well. What should surprise you, is that there haven’t been many responses from schools. This article from Time.com displays link after link of investigative reporting and opinion reporting of sexual assaults on campuses (specifically regarding their handling by administration). That in itself should show you this isn’t one person’s problem. This isn’t one school’s problem. This isn’t even one country’s problem. This is something that affects all of us and it needs to be addressed until it’s changed. Whether we use demonstrations, articles, petitions, or simple conversations, we need to keep reminding ourselves and others that problems like this exist because we let them, and we shouldn’t continue that cycle.
I published a post regarding sexual assault and its links to fraternities a while ago. Now, the reality is that sexual assault (especially at large universities), is everywhere. It’s often not reported, it’s often handled poorly (or not at all), and it certainly isn’t punished the way it is in the real world. The world of being a woman at college is dangerous in lots of different arenas. I know, because I am one. I face this every day. I still remember being catcalled for the first time my freshman year of college. I also remember the second, the third, and every subsequent one it took me to realize I was not being complimented. I was being objectified and harassed, simply for waiting at a bus stop or going to the grocery store. This article compiles all the awful things (admittedly, extreme examples mostly) that women like me face in college. Your mom, your sister, your cousin, your girlfriend, your wife; they’ve all seen or experience things like this. We’ve all seen countless campaigns, pamphlets, slogans, and PSAs about assault and related topics. What else can we do to put an end to this?
I don’t feel like there is much I need to say about this. If you’ve read any of my blog posts you can probably guess how I feel about it. The basic idea is that there is a new line of commercials for the GOP gubernatorial candidates modeled after “Say Yes to the Dress” intended to persuade young female voters. I’m perfectly capable of making an educated decision regarding political candidates without being told that one makes my boobs look better.