Students continue video protest
Published: Monday, February 6, 2012
Updated: Monday, February 6, 2012 23:02
Students came together on Fairfield Way yesterday afternoon to continue rallying against the perpetuation of "rape culture" and bring awareness about it to the student body, which began with the UCTV "Shenanigans" episode.
State Rep. Gregg Haddad (D-Mansfield-Chaplin), who serves on the Higher Education Committee, was present at the event and spoke to the crowd of students. He said that when legislation begins this Wednesday, a bill will be considered for universities statewide to improve school policies on dealing with sexual violence. This bill will demand universities to report campus data on sexual violence cases that take place. Haddad wants to make sure that campus crime does not go unreported, emphasizing the point to eliminate sexual violence. The bill will gain a number, which will be easier for people to track the progress of it online.
"I think when good people see something wrong they feel they have the moral obligation to take a stand," Haddad said. "These people took a stand and I want to take stand with them."
In order to address the more underlying issues aside from the UCTV "Shenanigans" episode, students wanted to inform the public on the fact that there is not enough talk or actions taken on the issues of rape culture at UConn.
"I hope that the attention this UCTV video received will bring a light to what is going on," said Brenna Regan, 8th-semester sociology and environmental justice major and co-president of Idealist United. "It's important that we bring attention on these issues."
Many students and people were asked to step up to speak about what needs to be done in order to change the policies that UConn currently has on reporting sexual assault and how cases should be handled.
Some students at the rally expressed beliefs that the blue light emergency systems are not effective enough. There was also the matter of the need for more open conversation on the topic to help people understand that rape culture is not funny. Another point brought up was the need to stop victim blaming as well.
Many people who spoke at the rally believe that there are a number of sexual assaults that go unreported, and many ideas were suggested such as requiring all freshmen to take a violence against women class. Many students at the rally supported the idea of making this mandatory in the near future.
"I think this rally was a success no matter how many people came out for the event," said Jessica Diaz, 6th-semester communication disorders major and a TA for the Violence Against Women Prevention Program (VAWPP). "I hope we gain more support from the administration with the struggles we deal with and prevent this from happening again."
Diaz said that the UCTV board agreed to a training course offered by VAWPP in order to get a better understanding of violence against women. There is also a partnership in the making with UCTV in order to spread more awareness of the VAWPP issues and help regulate their shows to prevent offensive material.
Another student who spoke, Cindy Luo, emphasized the point that their protest against the UCTV clip was not to attack or limit their freedom of speech, but that the video can cause harm to those who have fallen victim to sexual assault and rape. Another student advocated bringing these issues to the upcoming USG meeting this Wednesday.
There was also talk to get support from other clubs and cultural centers such as the Rainbow Center, PRLACC and many more in order to eliminate rape culture. Women are not the only victims of sexual violence, and the rally highlighted the point that men also fall victim to it.
Logan Place, a 6th-semester political science major and an administrator for the Facebook group "UConn students Against Rape Culture," said that the UCTV video was the last straw that has led to all the rallying against rape culture.
There will be future events and protests taking place to continue keep UConn students well informed on stopping the popularity of rape culture. More information on these rallies can be found on the Facebook groups "UConn Students Against Rape Culture" and "Protest of UCTV ‘Evil Blue Light.'"