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.

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Homework Due Monday, February 13

For Monday, please read these three articles debating the place of political correctness, safe spaces, and trigger warnings on the college campus:

The New York Times’s report on the University of Chicago’s letter to freshmen at the beginning of last semester.

This letter to the Washington Post from the president of  Northwestern University

This explanation of trigger warnings.

Take notes and come to class Monday ready to discuss all three.

 

A Movement for a Voice

Advocacy, to me, is the power of having my voice be heard as a collective voice that speaks for those who have been silenced. While one voice alone may seem small and weak amidst the voice or actions of the opposition, it has the power to ignite a change and act as an impetus for the beginning of a larger movement. A wildfire cannot start without an initial spark, and that spark is the power of just one or two voices. When I think of movements, I generally think of protests, marches, sit-downs, and the introduction of newfound social and political justice. I also think of the unyielding power of group-thought and hundreds or thousands of people standing together to fight for a common cause. Personally, I am greatly interested (and have even been involved) in movements that advocated against sexual assault and rape culture on college campuses across America. Some examples of the anti-sexual assault movements have occurred at various universities such as the protests against rape at Syracuse University in 2014, the mattress carrying at Columbia University as a response to the sexual assault of student Emma Sulkowicz (“Carry That Weight”), and the marches at Dartmouth College that aided in the implementation of new school-wide sexual violence mandates. Although I am also interested in other movements, such as the Gay Rights and Marriage Equality movement and the recent Women’s March on Washington, the anti-rape movement is the closest to my heart and the movement that I have been most diligently following since it’s inception. I see many, many benefits from this movement, such as the implementation of more harsh consequences for sexual offenders, support groups for those who have been affected by sexual violence, and the mandates of anti-sexual violence education classes on campus. A challenge to this movement that I can imagine will continue to be a challenge moving forward is the stigma that surrounds sexual assault. Many women (and men) are afraid to report a sexual assault because they are afraid that they will be victim blamed and there will only be scarlet letter shame for them instead of justice. This is why many victims internalize the pain and post traumatic stress that comes after sexual assault instead of talking about it to a professional or reporting it to police. However, I hope that through the continued push of the movement, this stigma will be mitigated, and victims will not be afraid to speak out, while offenders will be rightly punished.

-Katie Kornienko.

Homework 2/8

For class on Friday, do some exploration on the Generation Progress website. We’re going to be talking in class about issues pertinent to college campuses and potential movements for you to research for your first project, so getting familiar with some issues that are featured on this website is a good place to start. Keep in mind that this isn’t the be all end all of campus activism, but it should give you some ideas. You can also poke around in other places to help you begin to brainstorm what movement to research for the Mapping the Movement project.

Remember that your first blog post is due Friday at 11!

Homework 2/6

For class on Wednesday, in addition to the textbook reading, look over the website for Campaign Zero  and take notes about how they use their website to get out information. Also, take a look into the protests at the University of Missouri that took place last year. Some places to start: the Wikipedia page (always a good place for background information), and the background on graduate student issues/ involvement to give a bit of backstory. Please find one more either news source or informational source to get another angle and more information about these protests and what caused them/ what they caused. Take note of where you got your source, and bring it and your notes to class Wednesday.