Students raise awareness about OU’s rape culture

Senior Olivia Harlow displays her poster for tomorrow's march.

Senior Olivia Harlow displays her poster that reads “Respect my vagina” for Friday’s rally at McCracken field. Photo: Mark Clavin

Two Ohio University students are taking the campus by storm this semester with the formation of their group, FuckRapeCulture.

“I think the name of the group put a lot of people off, but it really did get people to listen. It’s right in your face. We wanted this movement to be loud enough that the university had to listen,” said FuckRapeCulture co-founder Claire Chadwick.

Chadwick formed the group with Allie Erwin, a graduate student studying political science, after sharing their catcalling horror stories.

“We talked about what we think specifically leads to the acceptance of the idea that sexual violence – whether it be harassment or rape – is somehow normal and  something we need to deal with. It’s not,” Erwin said.

The spotlight first shone on the group with Erwin’s letter to The Post. In the letter reaching out to the Marching 110, Erwin stated the song “Blurred Lines” is a trigger for rape survivors, including her. Both Erwin and Chadwick are rape survivors.

“‘Blurred Lines’ has never been something we wanted to direct all of our attention towards. In comparison to all of the other work we have done, it is a drop in the bucket,” Erwin said.

The founders hope Ohio University and its student body recognize their organization’s wider goals. These goals consist of education, sexual harassment training and protection for victims who were drinking.

Already these two women have taken steps to change policies on campus that have unfortunately flown under the radar due to the public’s overblown reaction to the Blurred Lines controversy.

Both the university and the Ohio University Police Department are enacting changes suggested by Chadwick and Erwin.

Incredibly, Chadwick stated that the university will be making an announcement soon concerning rape victims and underage drinking. If a victim is raped and is drinking underage, then he or she isn’t going to be penalized for underage drinking.

“I do remember having this sense of fear that it was my fault since I was drinking. I think this is a mentality we need to break down. Unless it’s enthusiastic consent, then there shouldn’t be any sexual activity,” Chadwick said.

In addition, Erwin contacted the Ohio University Police Department about victim-blaming word usage in crime alerts. Erwin stated that Chief Powers positively reacted to the idea. They will be collaborating on changes in the alerts.

Earlier this semester, student body president Nick Southall tweeted a comment slut shaming the women on campus. Erwin took a lead role in condemning Southall’s tweet.

“I organized a panel on sexism, slut shaming and violence that was mandatory for Senate. Delfin Bautista [director of Ohio University’s LGBT Center] helped me organize the safe zone trainings that I also made mandatory for Senate,” Erwin said.

Most importantly, the group wishes to contact and connect with students on a personal level. Chadwick and Erwin encourage the members of the group to publicize the FuckRapeCulture group and the organization’s goals in front of their classes.

FuckRapeCulture is not a radical feminist group hoping to eradicate the male population.

“This is really a movement that includes everyone. We have gotten a reputation for not being an inclusive group,” Chadwick said.

They wish to inform the OU community about the prevalent rape culture on campus.

“We are just trying to change people’s perceptions. I know we can’t do it all, but I think  we have already left an imprint on the university with policy changes that make a safer university and a safer campus,” Chadwick said.

In the future, Chadwick hopes to have a third party hold university-wide workshops. Hollaback!, an organization that aims to end street harassment, is now working with FuckRapeCulture.

Sophomore Wren Jackson and co-president senior Allie Erwin work on their posters for Friday's rally at Mackracken Field.

Sophomore Wren Jackson and co-president senior Allie Erwin work on their posters for Friday’s rally at McCracken Field. Photo: Mark Clavin

On Friday, FuckRapeCulture will host its first event. The rally begins at McCracken Field. The attendees will then march their way towards College Green in a clothing-optional parade.

“We really want to get the message across that a woman can be walking down the street naked and that still isn’t consent,” Chadwick said. “We are going for policy changes. This is an issue that affects everyone. It’s a mistake to leave it just to women. We want this to be empowering for men as well.”

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3 thoughts on “Students raise awareness about OU’s rape culture

  1. Pingback: Alma Mater, Ohio « Afro Pick

  2. Pingback: To those who believe “rape culture not prevalent on OU campus” – Speakeasy Magazine

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