Bullying has changed profoundly in the Internet era. Yet it has simultaneously stayed the same in how it disproportionately targets the most vulnerable identities in our communities. Prevention starts with this understanding. But understanding the problem does not necessarily inspire action. The problem itself can seem too overwhelming. But we have to empower our communities with tools!
Not only do I love parties, but a big part of my work is encouraging sex-positive party culture on college campuses. Parties can be profoundly dangerous places, especially for women. So it leaves me wondering this: Aside from the changes we can make to ensure party culture is more sex positive, how can men act as allies to women at parties, particularly as we look to prevent sexual violence?
There are lots of ways to be a great “ally” – and innumerable ways to be a terrible one. But it’s not rocket science. There are simple things you can keep in mind and do in order to be a better person “currently operating in solidarity with” the marginalized or oppressed. And while this list is not comprehensive, it’s definitely somewhere to start. So “allies,” let’s talk.
Far too often, young people tear each other down and target one another for sustained violence, harassment, or neglect in order to feel more powerful, particularly when the person exhibiting bullying behavior is feeling powerless. But if we want to end the problem, we have to do the tough work of changing culture and climate. It’s time we change how we talk about bullying.
EF 21 – More Than ‘No Means No’: Strategies for Engaging Sexual Violence Prevention on College Campuses, with Jamie Utt
With rare exceptions, no one who is throwing a party spends the energy so that people will get assaulted. Yet, the grim reality is that at least 1 in 4 college women are survivors of sexual violence, and our institutions are not doing enough to stem this terrible tide. Jamie Utt, sexual violence prevention educator, discusses this phenomenon and offers advice on how to begin the change.
With rare exceptions, no one who is throwing a party spends the time, energy, and money so that people will get assaulted. Yet there is a clear connection between college party culture and sexual violence. To mitigate the risk, most colleges simply take a punitive approach (with varying levels of alcohol education thrown in) to alcohol on campus. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The language that denies systemic oppression they are using must be called out as problematic. Because while we fight tooth and nail to make powerful change to systems of oppression, we need to ensure that if people who benefit from these systems are not actively acting in solidarity, at least they aren’t in the way. And this is primarily the work of other people of privilege.
As a person of privilege, I can never fully understand the ways in which oppressive acts or language impact those around me. What I surely can do is listen and work to change my behavior. Because what we need to understand is that making the conversation about intent is inherently a privileged action. If the impact of our actions is the furthering of oppression, then that’s all that matters.
The United States incarcerates a greater proportion of its population than any country in the world by far. When so few know the full extent of their own rights, even fewer are aware of or do not care about the rights guaranteed to the incarcerated. Despite the supposed “guarantee” of these rights, prisoners all over the U.S. are forced to serve out sentences in inhumane and torturous conditions.
Let’s face it: Most sexuality education is terrible. Sex ed has to change because if we don’t do a better job of teaching healthy sexuality, we leave it up to pornography, television, music, and movies to do our job. We need to teach about more than just biology, STI’s, and abstinence. It’s time that men start having more accountable conversations about healthy, positive sexuality.