Bouchat: Campaign sets sights, rightly, on sexual assault perpetrators
“Tip number three: If you offer to walk/drive someone back to their apartment because they are drunk, don’t assault them.”
Seems simple enough. But this little lesson and others like it are currently inserting themselves into the college student bar experience via red coasters and bold, uppercase white type.
The University’s Sexual Wellness Advocacy Team and the ASUO Women’s Center @@both [email protected]@launched this project in hopes of spreading awareness about increased chances of sexual assault during the beginning of college terms. In order to get the point across, the groups are utilizing a well-known list of 10 rules to help prevent sexual assault. Feminists and various sexual assault prevention programs have taken advantage of the rules’ unique stance of addressing the perpetrators of sexual assault — rather than the victims.
The rules take the definitive stance that the prevention of sexual assault should not lie on the shoulders of those at risk of sexual assault and creatively uses common ideas like the buddy system and carrying a whistle in order to instruct any would-be assaulter.
“A lot of literature out there is victim-blaming,” said Nina Nolen,@@http://directory.uoregon.edu/telecom/directory.jsp?p=findpeople%2Ffind_results&m=student&d=person&b=name&[email protected]@ ASUO Women’s Center public relations coordinator.@@http://pages.uoregon.edu/women/[email protected]@ “Like, ‘Young girls don’t know how to handle their liquor.’ At the Women’s Center, we’re trying to really put it on the perpetrators and get away from the victim-blaming angle.”
This outlook is beneficial for multiple reasons. Often, sexual assault is not reported because the victim feels ashamed and puts the blame on his or herself. Blame should never lie on the victims of sexual assault, and yet the popular media often focus their efforts and attention on would-be victims rather than perpetrators. Students by and large know to travel in groups at night, to keep an eye on their drinks at parties and to not accept rides from strangers — and this is all for their own safety. But paranoia does not walk hand-in-hand with a good time, and the burden of the threat of sexual assault should always be put upon those who would commit it.
According to a 2011 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oregon stands in second place @@[email protected]@behind Alaska for most reported female rape victims.@@Oh jeez. Crazy [email protected]@ One in four Oregon women say they’ve either been raped or have experienced attempted rape, and more than half of Oregon women say they’ve experienced sexual violence besides rape. The reasons behind Oregon’s steep assault rates are unknown.@@[email protected]@
Such statistics are what prompted the Women’s Center and SWAT’s coaster project, an offshoot of the Red Zone Campaign.@@[email protected]@ The time period between when fall term starts and the end of Thanksgiving break was deemed the “Red Zone” because it marks when students, primarily female freshmen, on university campuses are more likely to experience sexual assault, according to the BURG Peer Education Network.@@[email protected]@
“We’re trying to move toward a survivor-empowerment model,” Nolen said. In the case of sexual assault, control should be promoted over fear and paranoia.
These coasters scattered throughout Eugene bars may elicit some humorous conversation and may even inspire some drunken giggles due to their unorthodox approach. They may just be a hindrance when you have to peel them off the bottom of your beer. And although they probably won’t prevent any sexual assaults from occurring, they’re a step in the right direction and the right mindset to addressing rape and sexual violence.
No outfit is skimpy enough to justify rape and no alcohol level is high enough to allow assault.@@This is why Sam’s columns rock. jonathan: great point with these two [email protected]@
Although students should remain observant of their surroundings, the moral of this whole campaign is that sexual assault starts with the perpetrator, and that’s where it needs to stop.
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