This month is Sexual Assault Awareness month, and unfortunately it feels very, very relevant lately. Rape culture has proven itself to be alive and well- from the recent suicide of Canadian high school student Rehtaeh Parsons after photos of her being gang raped were circulated online, to the biased media coverage of the Steubenville rape trial, which sympathized with the convicted rapists and blamed the victim. It can feel very overwhelming and depressing to continually hear about, watch, and endure episode after episode of abuse, violation and degradation, which is why I’m proposing that this month, we self empower through ACTION! Here are some things you can do to actively combat rape culture, and work towards a society in which sexuality is free from violence and full of love, respect, and pleasure:
1. Educate yourself about sexual consent, then pledge to only practice consensual sex by signing the Consent is Sexy pledge! While your at it, you could even bring the Consent is Sexy campaign to your campus!
3. Know the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-HOPE). Post it in places your peers will see, such as on the doors of bathroom stalls, in dorm common areas, or health centers.
4. Speak up and Vlog about it! Make a video about the issue of sexual assault. Here are two great ones: WTF HAPPENED IN STEUBENVILLE? by vlogger Laci Greene and this Anti-Rape video by University of Oregon film student Samantha Stendel
These are just a few of a huge number of ways you can take action against rape culture and sexual abuse. There is no limit to the amount of passion and creativity you can draw on! Have some other ideas? Write them in the comments!