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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Campus community members discuss rape culture

Students, faculty and community members gathered in a town hall meeting Wednesday to expand the conversation about rape culture on campus.

Hosted by UA students in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, the meeting covered topics such as sexual violence, gender norms, victim blaming, slut shaming and the culture of consent.

The event was organized because of students who practice slut shaming and victim blaming on campus, such as Brother Dean Saxton, said Brooke Lober, a graduate student studying gender and women’s studies and one of the organizers of the event.

“We have a student who continues to be in good standing with the university but continues to spew hateful messages each day on the [UA] Mall,” Lober said. “I wouldn’t call it a sermon and I wouldn’t call it preaching. It’s hate speech and it’s offensive in many ways.”

The discussion related directly to sexual violence on campus and on college campuses in general.

“For many people, college is a time to experiment and try new things, that is the mindset that a lot of college students have,” said Alex Karaman, a graduate student studying gender and women’s studies, and another organizer of the event.

Some attendees said the most trustworthy university-ran program that deals with sexual assaults is the Oasis Program Against Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence. Oasis is a program through Campus Health Service that aims to reduce incidents of sexual assault and interpersonal violence in the UA community, according to the programs website.

Oasis allows students to talk to someone about their sexual encounter without fear that they’ll be obligated to report the incident to officials, said Megan McKendry, Violence Prevention Specialist at the Oasis Program Against Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence.

“The ball is still in your court after you talk to us,” McKendry said. “You can decide whether or not you want to take legal action.”

Lober said even if the UA had accessible resources and great advocacy on sexual violence, it’s still an issue that should be addressed because it is a broader, deeper, problem that can’t simply be blamed on a person or an institution.

“Normalizing and trivializing sexual assault is the problem that we are addressing,” Lober said. “We as a university have the power to make changes and we should.”

— Follow Adriana Espinosa @adri_eee

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