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Town hall to discuss college rape culture with campus community

A team of UA students are holding a town hall meeting Wednesday to gather input from the campus community regarding college rape culture and sexual violence.

The meeting will discuss a range of topics including sexism, sexual consent and rape, said Brooke Lober, a fifth year Ph.D candidate in gender and women’s studies and one of the organizers of the event.

The event was also sparked in part by preachings from Dean Saxton, said Erin Cain-Hodge, a senior studying gender and women’s studies senior and an organizer of the event.

Also known as “Brother Dean,” Saxton, a senior studying religious studies and classics, has caused controversy on campus in the past, condoning rape through signs and sermons on the UA Mall.

“We saw those [sermons] as being indicative of a much larger, cultural problem,” said Alex Karaman, a graduate student studying gender and women’s studies and an organizer of the event.

The meeting is also in response to what organizers said they felt was a subject not widely discussed in terms of wider university awareness, Cain-Hodge said.

Though there are a lot of resources provided on campus and within the community, there really aren’t any as far as a broader culture, health and safety for students, Karaman said.

The meeting will include explanations of key definitions, a mapping of resources available in the community and a brainstorming of ideas to develop opposition to rape culture at the UA.

“Rape culture links sexual violence to the culture of a society in which prevalent attitudes and practices excuse, tolerate, or even condone rape as largely normal or inevitable,” Karaman said.

The occurrence of sexual violence is heightened on college campuses, as rape culture can take many forms for university students, he added.

“One of the things we want to encourage and be involved with is student activism,” Lober said, as well as building a culture on campus where there can be more education and discussion.

Cain-Hodge said organizers also wanted to see how the students and faculty feel about the presence of rape culture on campus.

Rape culture is not defined by gender and is supported by the media and the attitudes and behaviors of others, Karaman said.

“I should be able to wear whatever I want, go wherever I want, and feel safe and not be threatened or hurt,” Cain-Hodge said.

Students can avoid the rape culture mindset by being aware of the situation and by not basing the situation around what the person was wearing, she added.

“At the end of the day, it’s not their fault that something happened to them,” Cain-Hodge said. “It was whoever did that to them, that they’re responsible.”

If you go:

Town Hall Meeting to Oppose Rape Culture at the UA

Gender and Women’s Studies building, Room 100

Wednesday, 5 p.m.

This article previously stated the location of the town hall was in the Southern Institute for Research on Women. The event will take place in the Gender and Women’s Studies building.

– Follow Maggie Driver @Maggie_Driver

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