College. Debatably one of the most stressful periods in a young adults life. It is a time full of challenges, important decisions, drunk mistakes, and a time to reflect on how how our society shapes our sexual interactions. The topic of rape culture on college campuses has been a topic that has resonated deeply with me as I am finishing my final months at Vanderbilt and have been both directly and indirectly effected as a result of my time on campus.
Throughout the semester, we’ve discuss concepts relating to sex and society extensively- from LGBTQIA communities to home births. However, I think the most important and pertinent ones have been ones relating to life at college and for young women, things surrounding the rape culture on campuses. Across the country, hook up culture dominates the social scene on college campuses and as a result a rape culture persists. Late night drinking’s and partying result in drunken hook ups often without the consent of both individuals. This is a terrifying thought considering the majority of my peers engage in this type of behavior without giving a second thought to their behaviors since they assume their colleges are safe environments.
My initial week on the Vanderbilt campus was a huge eye opener for me as I witnessed the aftermath of a sexual assault. At the time I thought there was little to nothing I could to help the individual and was not even aware of the resources available. Since taking this course, I feel confident in my ability to act as a proactive bystander and help prevent something like that happening so close to me again.
I’ve come to realize through this course that we cannot simply rely on students to make changes to these dangerous on conditions, although the change can start with us. By staying informed on current legislation with regards to sexual on campus to be able to defend our stances better is one way to prepare for the fight against sexual violence. Students have the ability to express concerns to administration and to politicians involved in the policy creation and legislation to help direct their focus to more helpful initiatives.
I was thoroughly inspired by the conversations throughout the class with regards to handling sexual assault on campus and believe that we are able to make a difference when we work together. Current campaigns such as “The Girl that Ratted” demonstrate the power of a united campus and encourages us to work towards safer and stronger campuses.