Daily life is tricky for a woman in college. We juggle classes, jobs, volunteerism, socializing, relationships, and long distance relationships with our families. On top of that, we are being funneled into a job market that promises wages that won't be able to compete with our male peers and academic careers in which we will be frowned upon for tenure and secure assignments each semester. When we walk to class, we have to worry about cat calls. When we go to a party, we have to worry about getting attacked by someone we thought was an ally. We think about femininity, slut shaming, and gendered expectations of us every damn day, consciously or not.
On top of all of that, our statistical likelihood of getting assaulted is higher than the average woman- 1 in 4 versus 1 in 6. The high rate of toxic alcohol consumption partnered with a culture that both shames us for our behavior and dress, while telling us that "You are safe among students, this is your community" creates a veritable wasteland for college women.
Victim blaming has a shining pedestal when you are at university. Our campus police have gotten into the habit of sending emails that say "Watch your drink. Dress modestly. Go home with a friend," like any of that is the true cause of sexual assault. No matter how careful you are, you might get hurt. I partied a lot as a freshman, utterly sober and there for the purpose of watching out for my wisdom-lacking roommates. I can promise you that every single party of that blur of a year featured all of us being touched without consent, thrust mystery drinks into our hands, and men shaming us at the door for not dressing immodestly enough. It's as if they are expecting us to give them an excuse to attack us, as if victim blaming is so ingrained into college culture that provocative displays are expected and par for the course-and gives reason for a "youthful indiscretion". And, trust me, rape on college campuses is often see as an indiscretion, a mistake, and not a crime. What is it about a diploma that gives people sudden criminal consequences for their actions?
These are just some of the reasons I became a part of BARCC. This system is broken, and in the university microcosm, those problems are painfully obvious. College is supposed to be the best time of your life, but for many, it is a time of weariness and pain. And it has to stop. My name is Sarah-but you can just call me your friendly campus warrior. I'll be posting regularly on the BARCC blog, but don't worry-no midterms on this material.
Written by: Sarah