It’s that time of year when incoming first year students start adjusting to the ups and downs of the #collegelyfe. It’s also that time of year when students are at the highest risk of sexual assault (the “red zone” between the first day of classes and Thanksgiving break). As older students, it’s important to look out for freshman and protect them when we can, and sometimes that means pointing out the known rapists that your school won’t take any major action against. But how you do that while also coming off as cool, fun, and laid back? It’s easier than you think!
Tell them through a combination of non-threatening eyebrow lifts, hair flips, and giggles
So you need to warn a freshman friend about a sexual predator on campus, but saying it out loud might come across as aggressive and icky! Try some nonverbal communication and show them through your body language—wink in Morse code and play with your hair!—until it is well understood that that upperclassmen friending all the attractive freshman girls on Facebook has sexually assaulted multiple students with no major consequences.
Use a funny Snapchat filter to make things less of a bummer
When you break the news to your younger, more vulnerable friends that a lot of the known campus rapists haven't been officially reported because of the hostile environment for survivors your university has previously created, send it through Snapchat with a wacky filter and lots of emojis. Nothing softens the blow of the administration's leniency towards people who commit sexual violence and harassment like a filter that makes your head look like a fruit!
When naming names, spell it out in your food
It's often easier to talk about difficult topics over a meal, so take your underclassmen friends out for lunch! When a student whom your school has yet to effectively punish for sexually assaulting someone walks in and sits down a few tables over—and they will, because you go to a small liberal arts college and it's impossible to avoid them!—write their name out in ketchup over a plate of french fries shaped into the word "RAPIST". If they look your way, just eat the evidence!
If all else fails, skip all above steps and just tell first year students outright who's a f**king rapist
If smoke and mirrors aren't your thing but you still want to help keep people safe from sexual violence on college campuses, don't be afraid to literally just point out the rapists. Say their names, call them what they are. Make it clear that when it's an open secret that a student is committing violence against other students and facing little to no consequence for it, that's a f**king problem. And it's kind of hard to be chill about that.