Fall semester PSA: don’t rape the freshmen (or anyone else)

Original text from my friend Bailey:

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Every year, some assholes decide that it’s necessary to post signs across from campus while freshmen are moving in. From “MILFs Drink Free” to “Freshman Daughter Drop-off” to this year’s “Sorority Girl Sign Up,” this behavior is disgusting and unacceptable. But this right here. This is why I love my school. The first two weeks on campus are the most dangerous for a college freshman, and it is during that time frame that a new student is most likely to experience sexual assault. I am so proud of my CSU community for taking a stand against rape supportive culture, starting from the very first day students are on campus.

The first few weeks of fall semester make me nostalgic. As an old, married grad student, the thrill of being on a new campus looking forward to meeting all kinds of people (read: guys) is pretty much gone. But I remember the build-up of excitement brought on by TV and movies that made college campuses seem like The Place to find yourself and make memories.

I was raped in a college dorm room. That should never have been part of the plan. My perception of college campuses as fun, safe spaces disappeared. I enjoyed college, don’t get me wrong, but by the time I was a senior I wondered how different my experience would have been if I’d said something. If I’d gotten help sooner. I’ll never know.

For anyone still a bit confused on what consent looks like, this is a fabulous example that compares assault to stealing money out of someone’s purse, although it’s a shame that the violation of one person by another cannot be thoroughly understood as wrong by certain minds until put in monetary terms. Well, whatever works.

To echo Bailey, I too am proud to attend a school with a women and gender advocacy program that is both educational and supportive of survivors. From Kendall, another advocate at CSU:

We’re speaking out without any affiliation with any office in particular or any student organization, although most of us have been involved with the different Student Diversity offices during our time at CSU.

We’re speaking out because this problem matters and it effects all of us.
Because we believe survivors.
Because we know that someone will be assaulted or raped during these first few weekends.
Because we care.

I won’t say “Be careful who you go home with” or “Make sure you watch your drink at all times.” You can’t tell potential victims to be responsible for rapists. So I’ll use my platform to say this: don’t rape freshmen. Don’t rape anyone. Don’t rape, period.

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