Over the last month or so, a group of Purdue graduate and undergraduate students have been collaborating to plan a series of teach-ins addressing sexual assault. The idea for the teach-ins was sparked when students learned of two sexual assaults that occurred on or near the campus at the very beginning of the semester. Many of the students were dismayed that one of the reported assaults took place in a rather public spot on the campus near a residence hall.
Purdue students’ efforts are taking place amidst active protests on many campuses around the nation, and amidst a national discourse about the ways in which many universities have failed to protect their students, particularly young women (though sexual assault and sexual violence can affect a person of any sex or gender).
The teach-ins will address three critical areas of sexual assault that relate to college students and particularly to Purdue’s campus:
- Myths about sexual assault and legal definitions and protections, including Title IX.
- Rape culture and victim-blaming; and
- Resources lacking on Purdue’s campus and the student demand for a rape crisis center and better support for survivors of assault.
The teach-ins are free and open to any member of the Purdue or Greater Lafayette community. The first teach-in will be held tomorrow, March 12th, at 6:00pm, in EE Rm 270.
The teach-ins, held once a week throughout March, will culminate in a Take Back the Night rally at Slayter Hill on Thursday, April 9th around 8:00pm.
Currently, the events are being sponsored and organized by student members of the Purdue Social Justice Coalition, the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Purdue, the Feminist Action Coalition for Today (FACT), and a new student organization to support survivors of sexual assault called Sara(V), or Students Against Rape and Violence. Students have reached out heavily to the Greek community, including both sororities and fraternities, which is a significant community at Purdue.
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