Raveena Toor is a woman who I have been watching, with admiration and respect, for a very long time now. That is because Raveena has been working very hard for women on campus for a very long time. Raveena manages to take on the hard stuff (unilodge, anyone?) with everything she’s got, and with what seems to be endless amounts of tolerance for bureaucracy and energy for what has to be some of the most testing roles an engaged student can face. Did I mention that Raveena manages to study Arts/Law whilst simultaneously being a ass-kicking, name-taking feminist? Total feminist crush!
What are you working on the moment?
RT: Right now, as the ACT NUS Women’s Officer, I’m working on the NUS Women’s Department’s “It’s Time to Demand Safety on Campus” campaign. This Campaign is all about addressing the issues around safety on campus for women and making sure that the Universities in the ACT take seriously the urgency for which these issues need to be tackled. More specifically, I’m also working with the UC Women’s Officer to build up a Women’s Department, a Collective and a functioning and appropriate Women’s Space on her campus.
What is something you’ve achieved that you’re really proud of?
RT: Over the past few years I’ve consistently lobbied ANU to take the safety of female students seriously, and to take measures to reform existing policies and attitudes regarding the issue. When I started, it felt as though there was no hope. But now, a few years later, I can be proud that I never gave up. As a result of my persistence, the pastoral care staff in the Colleges are better trained in Women’s issues and sexual assault response, Women’s Officers are considered a necessity and the University is willing to completely fund an ANUSA safety campaign. The University’s increased receptiveness is an achievement that I’m proud of.
What are your hopes for ANU this year or years to come?
RT:I hope that ANU can become a leader not only in academic performance, but also in valuable social experiences that students can carry with them always. Ensuring the wellbeing and safety of the majority of their students is the first step, and I hope that 2012 is a particularly productive year in this regard.
What is a campaign that you really like at the moment?
RT: I’ve really been into Men Can Stop Rape (http://www.mencanstoprape.org/) for a couple of years now. It’s a well-established campaign in the US and UK, and focuses on education and opening a dialogue around sexual assault, sexual harassment and domestic violence. Its focus is on teens and young adults, and is particularly effective because it’s perpetrator focused. Rather than the usual rhetoric that teaches girls and young women how not to get assaulted, it focuses on potential perpetrators and instead teaches them where the line is, what consent involves, and that assaulting women is unacceptable.
What do you do when you’re not being a badass feminist?
RT: Well, I tend to spend a lot of time procrastinating by watching hours of tv shows. There’s nothing more satisfying than getting through an entire season of friends in a night when you really should have been pumping out an assignment. Right now I’m really into Nikita (all about a kick-ass female spy), but some good old favourites include The West Wing, Seinfeld, Friends and Alias.