Developing Dialogue

The controversy that has surrounded this blog for the past week has been exceptional, but the most fantastic aspect of the controversy has been the dialogue that has opened up regarding this issue.  The problem of rape culture on campuses has come into view and people on forums as diverse as the Ontarion to PennyArcade.com have all chimed in.

In some ways, the timing of this incident was particularly grotesque as all of it happened during SAFE Week (Sexual Assault Free Environment) here at the University of Guelph.  I am happy to report, however, that the administration has been exceptionally supportive in their condemnation of such behaviour as was exhibited on Facebook and in the streets of Guelph and is presently taking steps to ensure that students are made aware of this issue.
Our campus is a majority female undergraduate body, which makes this issue particularly acute.  This is not to suggest that men are not also raped, and we need to remember that as we continue this discussion.  This campus must be made aware of the pervasive dehumanization of over half of its members.
In the past few days:

  •   My blog had been viewed almost 5000 times by places as far away as Lithuania, and reposted on everything from Pinterest and Facebook to Penny Arcade.com; 
  •  The discussion on the original Facebook page exploded and was eventually removed altogether:
  •  The president’s office drafted a response, now available here;
  •  The Central Student’s Association of the University of Guelph had an emergency meeting to draft a response to this situation, which they are currently enacting;
  •  (I’ve been told  that) banners have been hung in the Student Centre against rape jokes;
  •  A letter writing campaign to The Ontarion had been launched regarding this issue;
  •  The posting had spawned a discussion board on Penny Arcade.com, available here;
  •  I have been interviewed by CFRU, the local campus radio station, bringing attention to the issue, available here (Starting 26.20).
I am happy to see that the discussion is moving past the personal issues and towards a discussion of rape culture as a whole, especially on Penny Arcade.com.
This isn’t really about me. It isn’t about the individual students who wrote the chant down or added to it.  It is about the fact that as a community, we have a lot of work to do to ensure that sexual violence against women is not normalized or excused. 
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One thought on “Developing Dialogue

  1. With all due respect to the professor for trying to promote an open forum on this, the link to Penny Arcade showed me nothing but the fact that people who are not as emotionally driven since they are further from the issue have a much more level discussion about this. Specifically for the fact that the original post by the professor is libelous and a grand overreaction that only furthers the issue because the concentration is on his reaction rather than the general issue.

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