By Sonia Patel
What does it mean to be a female on a college campus? It is oftentimes associated with many stereotypes about how women perform academically or professionally, however the social depiction of women on a college campus is often neglected. Many of the past articles posted on the WMP page dealt with the inequality women face in their careers in terms of job opportunities and salary gaps. While those issues are important, some students might wonder how relevant it is to them since it doesn’t necessarily affect them today. The social implication of being a female on a college campus is extremely relevant and more recently become something that poses a threat to our safety. While not all cases of sexual assault are solely against women, a majority of them are.
Lately it has become apparent, through the conversations of recent sexual assault cases, many of which targeted women on college campuses, that there is a need for more respect of young women. The most recent incident occurred when the Phi Delta Theta fraternity at Texas Technology put up a sign reading: “No Means Yes” and held a themed party associated with the sign. The numerous photographs taken of the sign itself and other explicit events associated with the party that made its way to major webpages such as Total Frat Move and BroBible. Since then they have been taken down and the fraternity has suspended their chapter. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/texas-tech-frat-suspended-means-yes-banner-article-1.1951363
On a different college campus, sexual assault is dealt in a different manner. The well-known pictures of Emma Sulkowicz, a Columbia University student, are circulating the internet when she pledged to carry her mattress around until her rapist is expelled. http://www.newsweek.com/photos-hundreds-columbia-students-carry-mattresses-sexual-assault-protest-280914 The concept of consent is not restricted to being defined by college campuses. Rush Limbaugh, a well known conservative political commentator, on his tv show has stated his opinion on consent as well: “How many of you guys in your own experience with women have learned that ‘no’ means ‘yes’ if you know how to spot it?”
The degradation of respect for women does not just occur at a select few universities. Unfortunately, a grand total of 85 colleges throughout the country are under federal investigation for sexual assault cases.
It is astonishing to that sexual assault is not readily talked about, especially after seeing a few statistics of sexual assault involving young women.
- At least 1 in 4 college women will be the victim of a sexual assault during her academic career.
- At least 80% of all sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance of the victim. Almost half of college women who were victims of attacks that met the study’s definition of rape did not consider what happened to them rape.
- On average, at least 50% of college students’ sexual assaults are associated with alcohol. (New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault)
However, there are numerous positive actions being taken to combat this misogyny. For example, last week, California became the first state to explicitly define consent. Consent was defined as an affirmative consent, meaning that the female must agree and the lack of a ‘no’ does count. Additionally, it doesn’t count if one is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. “The State of California will not allow schools to sweep rape cases under the rug,” Senator DeLeon from Los Angeles added, according to the Associate Press. “We’ve shifted the conversation regarding sexual assault to one of prevention, justice, and healing.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/29/yes-means-yes-california-sexual-consent While the country is taken action against sexual violence, it is only occurring at a small scale and legislation, in general, is slow. Whether reported or not, cases of rape and sexual assault still occur across the country. It is important to be educated on the topic at large and to continue this conversation on sexual violence in hopes to ultimately end this disrespect against women.
Here is an additional resource to further help those challenged by sexual abuse and addiction.