A Platform for Change

As technology becomes increasingly relevant in the twenty-first century, the circulation of thought is increasing in speed and efficiency, allowing ideas to spread from person to person, then state to state, and sometimes, even country to country, within a matter of days. The movement I have chosen to delve into, the anti-rape culture/sexual assault on campus movement, uses the power of online platforms in several ways, one of which is to provide an anonymous way for victims to reach out and speak about sexual assault without disclosing their identity. On platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, victims can discuss their feelings with others who understand what they are going through, and talk about how to cope with post traumatic stress and anxiety that prevent them from reaching out or talking about what happened to the police or school authorities. Another way this movement uses online platforms is to reach out to people about different gatherings, marches, and protests that are happening across the country such as the Anti-Rape Marches and Slut Walks in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, and several other large metropolitan areas. Facebook groups, especially, are conducive to bringing people together for these events because once one person clicks the “Interested” or “Going” buttons, all of their Facebook friends can see this, and the event instantly gains exposure to all of their hundreds/thousands of friends. In this way, the word gets out quickly, and suddenly, after a mere two days of the event’s online fruition, hundreds of thousands of people are exposed to it, and many of them will decide to attend.it.jpg

Media is also incredibly important to my movement, in that humans, by nature, are visual beings, and photographs and videos tend to appeal to their emotions more than just words. Personally, I feel very empowered when I see pictures on Instagram and Tumblr of women holding up signs that say things like, “I was wearing this when I was raped”, while they are dressed in a simple tee-shirt and jeans, implying that rape has nothing to do with the victim’s clothing, provocative or not. It is NEVER the victim’s fault. Because such visuals are so powerful, I will include many on my webpage, especially on the home tab, in order to catch visitor’s attentions and appeal to their pathos the same way that Instagram posts from the marches appealed to mine.

Advocacy: Education and Action

To me advocacy is educating yourself on a topic that is often misconstrued, misinformed, or not even spoken about and to then take the information you learned and present it to others in order to bring about awareness and understanding.  The ultimate goal is to change how the topic is handled or viewed by our current society.

The word movement instantly brings to mind the historic women’s voting rights movement and its connection to the current women’s movement seen advocating for a multitude of topics very recently at the women’s march worldwide.  Historically the Civil Right’s movement sought to bring to light the issues faced by those marginalized in America specifically African-American people and the ways in which they were and still are mistreated.

With awareness comes a call to action.  “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” -Desmond Tutu.  This quote by Desmond Tutut, a South African social rights activist, connects the education side of advocacy to the movements that come from advocacy.  Once aware of the issue and injustices in this world there must be a movement to create a difference.  The final goal of advocacy is to no longer need to spread awareness of an inequality because the inequality no longer exists.

The student debt movement interests me and intersects with my life as the movement strives to lower the amount of debt students face upon graduation. The women’s rights movement strives to make sure women have equal rights, reproductive rights, and much more. By exploring these movements I will become aware of inequalities that affect me and work with other like-minded people to make a difference in my own and  my peers future. Moving forward I anticipate challenges convincing others that there are still issues to face when it comes to women’s rights and making a change legally in the current political climate.