Students develop network against rape culture
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 30, 2012 22:09
A group of students earlier this month gathered at the Crafts House to create a student network centered on discussing sexual assault and consent at Tufts.
The network aims to foster communication among student groups with common interests, as well as among individuals concerned with rape culture on campus, according to former president of Tufts Voices for Choice (VOX) Rachel Greenspan, a meeting organizer.
“There are a lot of really wonderful groups working on similar initiatives around consent and rape and sexual assault, but there hasn’t been a mechanism for communication among the groups as well as individuals who are interested in this,” Greenspan, a senior, said.
The meeting was attended by students from groups such as Prevention, Awareness & Community at Tufts (PACT); Students Promoting Equality, Awareness and Compassion; VOX; Students Acting for Gender Equality; The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center; Tufts Queer Straight Alliance; and the Panhellenic Council at Tufts, according to Greenspan.
Although the network has not yet been named, the meeting served as a starting point for students to brainstorm the group’s goals and initiatives, she said.
“We’re not an established entity yet,” Greenspan said. “So far it is just a meeting. We were trying to figure out our own purpose, what are the merits of collaboration. We are trying to pull out specific initiatives so they can involve students from a wide variety of groups. There is so much creativity and so many ideas brought to the table.”
Among the ideas moving forward are initiatives such as creating a print publication and a documentary, as well as holding sexual consent workshops and working with administrators, Greenspan said.
Sharing ideas will allow for better coordination and collaboration among many groups on campus, according to PACT member Kumar Ramanathan, a meeting organizer.
“The main purpose is to have a solid network so that the individual groups within it can achieve their goals as well as possible,” Ramanathan, a sophomore, said.
An objective of the network is to spread awareness about the sexual assault policy at Tufts, he said, adding that the group will work to educate students about the health and counseling resources available on campus.
Meeting attendee Lauren Border, a senior, expressed similar feelings about the future ambitions of the group.
“It’s very grandiose, but I think our overall goal would be to ameliorate the rape culture that is so prevalent on campus because we all know a survivor whether or not you know it,” she said.
The network may also promote a sense of community among students with similar goals, Greenspan said.
“It’s important to have support when you’re working on weighty issues,” Greenspan said. “Especially around such a difficult and emotional issue, it’s so important to have a community around it.”
Several individuals not affiliated with student organizations came to the meeting to hear and discuss ideas as well, according to Greenspan.
Border said she decided to attend after learning about it through word of mouth and seeing the event listed on Facebook.
“I personally wanted to get involved on campus in some preventative education initiatives surrounding sexual violence because I see how important this issue is,” she said.
The group plans to meet again within the next couple of weeks and encourages all students to get involved, according to Greenspan.
“There has been a growing awareness of the extent of the impact and the pervasiveness of this issue,” Greenspan said. “There was this outpour of energy. The commitment and momentum is very exciting. You don’t see that in every group.”
Editor's Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Rachel Greenspan as the president of VOX. She is the former president of VOX. The current version of the article reflects this change.