Last week in an interview with a journalist about O’weeks, Colleges and sexual assault I was posed with a question that has really had me on edge since it happened and I haven’t felt comfortable about it since.
The question was not meant to upset me, or make me uncomfortable and probably won’t even be used in the article. Well really it wasn’t the question that upset me it was my answer.
The interview went down the path of what was said to be one of the O’Week tasks for first year girls at a certain college- 5 sexual acts, 5 different guys, 5 consecutive days. The question was ‘Does it shock you that this kind of thing is happening?’ my answer was ‘no. No It doesn’t’.
If she had asked me if it outraged me I would have said of course its down right disgusting.
If she had asked me if it upset me I would have said Incredibly these are young women being peer pressured into engaging in sexual activity, anyone with a moral compass would be upset.
If she asked me if it repulsed me I would have said more than I can find the words to explain.
But she didn’t, so I answered her question. Then said all of these things. And the sad thing is I don’t think any Women’s Officer would be shocked to hear it appalled, outraged, disgusted, upset yes but not shocked.
I haven’t been able to get this out of my head since, and I think that it is important that we don’t forget that these things are still happening, dont put dealing with them in the to hard basket, say that colleges are just out of our reach or we can’t make the change in the 12 month term. But realise that the campaigns we run and in particular Talk About It are really important, they can and do help young women who are being abused, pressured and harassed. They do force Universities, Colleges and Government to take action.
So in a round about way I really want to encourage you all to fill out Talk About It and make sure that you get everyone you can to fill it out so we have an accurate and all encompassing report on these issues.
I also wanted to share my little story because while its just a little thing that to many may seem insignificant it helped put things into perspective, and give me a kick up the arse to figure out how to fix the problem.
You can find the survey here
National Women’s Officer 2013
I agree with your conclusion, only I don’t like the way you say young women are being pressured into sexual activity when you haven’t mentioned men are also being pressured, and then go on to say in the same sentence that ‘anyone with moral compass would be upset’. I don’t like linking ‘women’ and ‘moral compass’ together, as if you’re saying boys can be boys to no moral consequence and girls are required to control their sexual desires otherwise they must be lacking in morals. You can have morals and still be fine with having a bit of fun. I feel this is just another less obvious form of slut shaming. I agree that no one should be forced into sexual activity, but please be careful when assuming women should be especially sheltered from this practice.
I discuss the way that the women were being pressured to do this, the task was not set for the new males in the college to do. While I do acknowledge that men are also being pressured into doing things they are not comfortable The purpose of this post was not to discuss and compare the pressure that men and women are having exhorted on them but rather to express my sadness at the whole situation.
Perhaps moral compass was the wrong choice of words, or I didn’t explain it fully. All I meant by it was simply anyone being pressured to engage in sexual activity they do not want is immorale. And anyone who knows right from wrong would acknowledge that this is wrong.