To the Editor:
This time last week I was sitting in my office in the United Campus Ministry building when Melissa Wales, director of UCM, stepped across the hall to invite me to in impromptu meeting with Allie Erwin, co-founder of a new student group called F@*KRAPECULTURE. At the time, I wasn't sure what I was walking into, but after the meeting, I was filled with excitement and inspiration at the work of two women.
F#@CKRAPECULTURE got started a few weeks ago when Allie and co-founder Claire Chadwick realized how disappointed they were with the culture in which we live. The catalyst was victim-blaming language used by the OU Police Department in the department's crime alert emails, and they have since worked with OUPD to correct its language. They also organized a letter writing campaign critiquing the Marching 110's choice to cover "Blurred Lines," a top 40 hit song (and video) expressly condoning sexual coercion and assault at a university event.
F@#CKRAPECULTURE is now organizing a Rally and March for 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11. They have three demands of Ohio University:
1. Mandatory Consent Education for incoming freshmen, Greek life and university athletics.
2. Wide publicity of OU's Amnesty policy for underage survivors who were drinking at the time of the assault.
3. Sexual harassment training for student workers.
Their tactics are radical because this is a message that needs to be heard, but their demands are moderate. As an OU alum, longtime Athens area resident and violence prevention educator, I can tell you that we are way behind in the times and that this change has been a long time coming.
Consent education hit national news in the early '90s after a group at Antioch College called Womyn of Antioch pressured their university with similar demands after two date rapes occurred on their campus within one academic year. This year at OU, there were two sexual assaults reported to OUPD within the first few weeks of school, and over 20 years after Womyn of Antioch showed us the way forward, we are still having the same conversation.
But groups like F@#CKRAPECULTURE and Hollaback Appalachian Ohio! are working to move us forward. Hollaback Appalachian Ohio! is a community-based program offering a wide variety of free educational workshops on related topics including consent, healthy masculinity, media literacy, confronting harassers, bystander intervention, and self-defense for women and girls.
We recognize university students as an active part of Athens community, and we also recognize that the negative aspects of OU culture very much affect community member's experience of their town. As a community program, we have a vested interested in helping to dismantle rape culture at OU, and we are excited to be working with F@#CKRAPECULTURE on these very important issues.
To participate in the rally join us at the bottom of Jeff Hill at 4 p.m. on Friday. For more information about Hollaback! visit appalachianohio.ihollaback.org.
Hollaback Appalachian Ohio!
North College Street