In lieu of sexual assault and rape incidents reported in the news recently, there has been an eruption of protests across the United States, mostly centered around fraternities at large college campuses.
Since the start of the fall, students at colleges in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and more are congregating together to push for consequences to be placed on individuals that commit sex crimes on their campus. Most of these protests are aimed at incidents that occurred at fraternity houses.
Here at Penn State, students gathered at the Allen Street Gates, an infamous spot for student activism, to protests the multiple Timely Warnings issued by University Park as a part of Title IX laws. The protest was led by Students Against Sexual Violence on Oct. 2 where students held signs and protested against the warnings.
According to the New York Times, some of these protests are in response to filed reports of sexual assault while some are in protest of rumors. Regardless of the situation, all protesters share the same goal of pushing for accountability and hope to shy away from victim-blaming.
The increase in protests is no coincidence. According to Lily.com, the time between August and November at college campuses is considered the “red zone.” The “red zone” is the most dangerous time of year for sexual assault. Over 50% of sexual assaults on college campuses are reporting during the “red zone.”
While increased activism is a way students have taken actions into their own hands when it comes to pushing for an end to sexual violence, it’s only the start.
Alcohol and sexual education, more survivor support programs, orientation at the beginning of the school year, bystander intervention training and changes to Title IX rules are all different ways people say that society can progress to a rape-free culture, especially on college campuses.
Not only aiming to fix the systems in which survivors report and receive support, activists also want to see more accountability on the side of the law. One example of this is in the case of the Stanford swimmer, Brock Turner, that was charged for the sexual assault of a 23-year old woman. For his crime, he only received a six-month prison sentence.
Having perpetrators take full accountability and proper punishment for their actions is an additional motivation for these activists. As more and more protests continue in response to sexual assaults and overall sexual violence, it’s clear that the campus culture and response from officials need to change.