As the instances of sexual assault continue to rise on college campuses, rape culture finds itself at the center of conversations around the nation.
Rape culture is an atmosphere where its people explicitly or implicitly perpetuate an environment that allows sexual violence to be normalized.
The recently inaugurated Women’s Resource Center at San Diego State is working to address this topic with a new series called “Feminist Food for Thought.” The new space on campus is dedicated to all students who identify as female and engaging the campus in conversations related to women’s issues.
On Wednesday, Sept. 30, the center hosted the first event of the monthly series with a presentation on identifying and dismantling rape culture on campus.
“(Sexual violence is) something that we see as everyday occurrences,” Women’s Resource Center Director Jessica Nare said. “It’s something that we sometimes trivialize and don’t see as a big deal.”
Led by Nare and women’s studies master’s student Emma Fuller, the event covered some of the issues that cultivate rape culture on campus and how students can act as activists to intervene on the school’s current state of sexual violence.
“Instead of teaching not to do sexual violent acts, we are teaching them how to prevent sexually violent acts,” Fuller said.
Fuller and Nare tied rape culture to stereotypes given to men and women and how people act on those labels, whether that be victim blaming, slut shaming or the everyday rhetoric around sex and sexual violence. This allowed for the audience members to marinate in the idea that everyday actions and language can contribute to this culture on campus.
“If you validate these actions in one place, you’re validating it everywhere,” Fuller said.
This presentation not only introduced students to rape culture, but also challenged the notion of what sexual violence means and who is experiencing said violence.
“I definitely think it was necessary, and I’m glad that there is this kind of resource because I feel that this topic is not very highlighted on campus,” international security and conflict resolution senior Jasmine Ljungberg said. “This spreads awareness. This is very important that these events are happening and they are going to continue to happen.”