Because of the reckless nature of college campuses, especially at night and on weekends, they can be a dangerous place in terms of rape and sexual assault. One in-your-face anti-rape culture organization, Fuck Rape Culture, aims to put brakes on the rape culture here at Ohio University.
OU seniors Allie Erwin and Claire Chadwick began the group in response to a crime alert email sent by OUPD at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.
“We viewed the language used as victim blaming and extremely problematic,” said Chadwick. “It was then that we realized we not only had an opportunity but a responsibility to change the rape culture than runs rampant on Ohio University’s campus.”
Rape culture is the term used for the normalization and tolerance of sexual assault within our society. In this patriarchal society, the “best” way to be a man is to be dominant, to take what you want and to not let anyone get in your way. If we extrapolate that idea and use a little bit of extended disbelief, it’s obvious that, in this society, rape can be seen as the ultimate form of displaying one’s masculinity.
Hopefully that realization shocks as many of you as it did me after learning about it for the first time.
In response to those who believe that rape culture does not exist, Chadwick cited a large sign that hung from a house during one of the street fests this year. It read “Yes = yes, no = anal.”
“Being on a campus also leads to unique issues that you wouldn’t typically find in a suburban area,” Chadwick said.
Among rallies and spreading information about the rape culture at Ohio University, the group supports victims of sexual assault, aiming to empower them.
“It is so empowering to have survivors tell us that this group has helped them heal and given them a voice to stand up for themselves,” said Chadwick.
In addition to Fuck Rape Culture, organizations like EmBODY Consent, the Survivor Advocacy Center and the Women’s Center at Ohio University aim to empower women and help those who have been victims of sexual assault.
However, Fuck Rape Culture believed they needed a more forward approach than some of the other groups.
“We knew we had to have an ‘in your face’ name to show people that this is a serious problem that affects everyone and it is in our power to change it,” said Chadwick.
In October, group members and participants joined for a walk up Mill Street and to Court Street, shouting and being boisterous to attract attention and spread information. Some female walkers were shirtless, wearing either bras or tape over their breasts. Signs read “Consent is sexy,” “BLAME THE SYSTEM NOT THE VICTIM” and girls painted phrases like “Still not asking for it,” across their chests and stomachs.
The rally garnered a lot of attention from students across campus, proof that the walk was a definite success.
For now, Fuck Rape Culture continues to empower victims of sexual assault at Ohio University. The group is currently working on a body positivity week, and will continue to bring community and a safe place for victims of sexual assault.