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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Stand For What You Believe

Advocacy is committed belief expressed outwardly to bring about change. It also means listening to and respecting your opposition. Advocacy takes many forms; it doesn’t necessarily manifest itself by way of large-scale events, like marches or strikes. Sometimes, the most impactful movements are subtle, intentional actions imperceptibly woven together.

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Most movements that work to create change are, hopefully, a form of healthy, principled advocacy. Ideally, those involved in the movement work peaceably with their opponents, refraining from violent means. However, many movements that are currently working to create change don’t follow the aforementioned qualities of moral advocacy. Many movements today attempt to bring about change through violent protests, fear-induced speeches, and/or through creating a hateful, and typically inaccurate, view of those with differing opinions. This must change if we hope to have a society where people can freely express their opinions without fear of rebuke.

Some movements that exemplify successful advocacy are the historical and modern Children’childrensrightss Rights Movement, the modern Anti-Bullying Movement, and the historical Women’s Suffrage Movement. These movements brought change to society: the Children’s Rights Movement eradicated child labor in parts of the world and brought about new, specified rights for children to empower and protect them; the Anti-Bullying Movement brought new legislation against bullying and stricter school anti-bullying policies; and the Women’s Suffrage Movement gave women the right to vote.

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The movement that is closest to my heart is the Pro-Life Movement. It intersects with my identity as a Christian-believing life begins at conception and must be protected- and my family’s experiences. The benefits of exploring this movement are: bringing attention to the importance of life and the necessity to protect it; defining when life begins; advocating the need for our rights not to infringe on the rights of others; and exploring anti-abortion legislation. The challenges of exploring this movement are: the pervasive belief that abortion infringes on women’s rights; the controversy over the beginning of life; and, most significantly, Roe v. Wade and other pro-abortion legislation that currently exists.

Advocacy begins with fervent commitment and a hope for change. As Reverend Martin Luther King once said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”