If you are associated with DePauw at all you probably knew that last week a series of events were hosted every day by Code TEAL, DePauw's sexual assault awareness organization, such as open conversations, movie screenings, survivor monologues and many others. Now that this week is over I want to share a few of the general reactions people had to our campaign:
1. Laughing at our campaign.
I know that if someone hands you a condom and a slip of paper teaching about consent, you might giggle (condoms are just so funny!). But if you were one of the many people who listened to our campaign and then started mocking it with your bros as you walked away, I'm actually curious what is so funny about practicing and advocating for good consent between sexual partners. I hope you know that the slogan "consent is sexy" applies to you, even if you think it's a ridiculous or unnecessary statement.
2. Tour groups pretending we were not there.
We had a lot of tour groups for prospective students wandering around campus last week, and I know that we were visible to many of them, especially during our silent protest walk. We walked right past a couple groups that day and the students and families were clearly very curious about what we were doing. It's too bad that the tour guides pushed them along without acknowledging that we were present. Wouldn't you want to let your prospective students and their families know that sexual assault is a problem at all colleges and that we have many good resources for education and survivors? Or does DePauw not prioritize teaching prospectives about the very real dangers that can affect all students?
3. Lack of participation, show of apathy.
I've lost track of the number of excuses I've gotten from people on why they didn't participate in Code TEAL events, and I get it - we all have homework, sports, meetings, whatever. But with a week full of events I would imagine that we would have fairly decent attendance even if the same people weren't present at every single event. As difficult as it has been to give others the benefit of the doubt, I can say that after over two years of campaigning I know when people just don't want to show up. And as a survivor myself, it hurts deeply when people, especially close friends, don't express a desire to engage in conversations that can lead to reduced sexual assault on our campus.
4. Silence from the administration and Greek life.
Sexual assault is a campus-wise issue; I would imagine that larger groups such as the administration and greek organizations would also see it as such. So, where were such groups throughout last week (and throughout the entire year)? I'm not entirely sure. I do want to extend a deep thanks to specific members of the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic, as well as those in Title IX who greatly supported us in planning. Still, I am waiting to see active participation from the DePauw administration and greek organizations, because many of you have yet to show your acknowledgement and proactivity toward the problem of sexual assault.
5. Enthusiastic participation and acknowledgment.
And then there were still people who showed up to our events, spread the word, actively participated in a meaningful discussion, and supported our survivors who shared their stories to the public. For you guys, I am so grateful — you give me hope that there are people at DePauw who want to do something to end sexual assault. But with the majority of how people responded to our campaign, we still have so much work to do.