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The Daily Wildcat


‘I Will’ campaign kicks off this week to end rape culture

Brandi Walker
Tatum Hammond, ASUA administrative vice president and co-director of the “I Will End Rape Culture” campaign, poses with a T-shirt to promote “I Will” in the ASUA office on Wednesday, Jan 27. The new campaign is working to end rape culture and promote sexual assault awareness on campus.

A new student-led sexual assault campaign “I Will End Rape Culture” launches today.

The campaign is a student initiative that hopes to raise awareness about sexual assault and promote consent.

The campaign defines rape culture as a term used to describe the normalization of sexual violences in society, such as victim blaming and slut shaming.

“We focused on the fact that anyone can be affected by sexual assault and rape culture. It’s something that’s applicable to all identities and so we included as many voices as possible,” said Tatum Hammond, Associated Students of the University of Arizona administrative vice president and co-director of the campaign.

The campaign will kick off with “I Will Week,” which goes from Feb. 1 to Feb. 5. There will be 12 events for students to attend to learn about the campaign ranging from screenings, workshops, a concert and panel discussions.

Campaign co-director and ASUA Sen. Matthew Lubisich said he plans to educate students and encourage them to take an active stance on the issue.

Hammond said what makes the campaign unique is that everyone is invited to be a part of the cause.

Lubisich and Hammond, along with a board of directors from across campus, have put this campaign together in hopes of changing the atmosphere on campus.

The campaign collaborates with University of Arizona Police Department, the Pride Alliance, FORCE, The Men’s Project and many other organizations on campus.

Hammond said it’s the entire campus getting involved with the support of the faculty. With diversity, each group brings different perspectives, but they have made every decision together.

Krista Millay, director of the UA’s Women’s Resource Center and assistant dean of students, said she’s proud of all the students’ hard work.

“This is a really important issue that needs attention, because we need to get a handle of this on our campuses so that our students can feel safe, can have healthy productive lives, great relationships and a successful college career,” Millay said.

From the very beginning, the main issue has always been rape culture and the promotion of awareness of the issue.

“At the end of the day, we need to change the atmosphere before we can change the problems that are resulting from the atmosphere,” Hammond said.

This campaign is a response to a survey conducted by the American Association of Universities, which highlighted areas the UA could improve on in terms of sexual assault education.

The survey showed that 20 percent of women and 23 percent of persons identifying as other then heterosexual report being the survivor of an attempted or completed sexual assault during college.

While there are so many different resources available on campus, many people remain unaware of them, which is why the week is starting off with a resource fair on the UA Mall. In the past, the UA has had different sexual assault campaigns, one example being “It’s On Us.” This new campaign takes a different approach.

“I think new programs are important because they get people’s attention and reengage them with the topic,” Millay said.

Madison Steinke, FORCE intern and a sophomore majoring in philosophy, politics, economics and law and gender and women’s studies, has sat in on the campaign’s board of directors meetings. Steinke said this is a necessary discussion that has yet to take place. She says many people talk about sexual assault statistics without addressing what contributes or leads to them.

“We’re trying to have more of a lasting impression on campus. This conversation starts, but doesn’t end, with this campaign,” Steinke said.

Lubisich said that by signing the “I Will” pledge, students will be recognizing rape culture as an issue.

“We hope to have events after this week, in the spring and the fall, to hold people accountable and give them the resources to become more informed,” Hammond said. “We’re hoping that students continue to educate themselves and the people around them and their community.”

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