The Assembly for justice views sexual violence not a series of isolated incidents by as symptomatic of a culture that fosters misogyny, selective impunity, and a sense of entitlement. We wish to express that personal safety is never a bad idea, however, this is irrelevant to the issue of sexual violence at large. Sexual harassment, assault and rape threaten the safety and health of students, but if we wish to address the issue, we must look at the gendered systems of power that facilitate it and work proactively on this systemic level. While the various initiatives that have cropped up which stress personal responsibility are all good and well, they should not be considered solutions to the problem of sexual assault. The violence that students have endured on this campus is appalling, and it is beyond disturbing that perpetrators have attacked students in public. However, we must recognize that, according to national figures and as many of us know first-hand, most attacks are not reported, and the vast majority of abuse occurs in a familiar setting by someone known to the survivor. If we are serious about a proactive approach to sexual assault, about addressing the issue and not the headlines, we need to move toward a cultural paradigm shift. More police, more self-defense classes, and more blue lights will only do so much. These initiatives may in fact do more harm than good if not paired with a much larger conversation, as a part of a holistic approach, as they risk promoting a misunderstanding of the issue, a misdirected increase in policing, and an irresponsible emphasis on the individual responsibility (and blame) of the survivor.
Attached is an updated list of demands pertaining to sexual violence. AFJ Flyer and Demands