The courageous women and men who are speaking out about their assaults should not have to share the most horrific experiences of their lives publicly in order to get the attention of their schools and their government. That shouldn't be on them.
Change takes time. But what sets our nation apart is that, even in our darkest hours, we strive to make things better. During this week's winter solstice, we celebrate the holiday season with light as a symbol of hope.
The more important question is: Does each individual campus need to enter the limelight of shame before faculty will use their voices? I say we step up and do what we should do: teach.
Rape culture is living in a society in which your story is dissected rather than heard; it's being told your inherent, God-given value begins to disintegrate once your story gets uncomfortable and its trajectory skewed.
Women and girls worked hard in 2014 to advance equality, and we should be encouraged that in many ways our efforts paid off. In each bit of 2014 news that we found depressing, maddening, truly appalling, or all three, we've found a silver lining that can inspire and fuel our efforts for 2015.
Often times, formal justice is not achievable. But my hope is, over time, the right questions and the right services and the righteous movement that is building and the amazingly brave, beautiful survivors that are speaking out will help to cast off the shame and blame and silence that thwart their collective path to justice.
Why should not sex premised on mutuality, respect and joint agreement -- rather than sex premised on pressure, intimidation, and acquiescence -- be an administratively-endorsed, and administratively-enforced standard?
No matter the cause -- whether it's our lack of comprehensive sex education, an ingrained rape culture, or ignorant institutional policies -- the fact remains: sexual assault is a serious issue on college campuses across the country.
Schools' role in responding to campus sexual assault is essential, because students' civil rights -- an equal opportunity to education -- are on the line. I fear, however, that many do not understand that these civil rights concerns stand separate from any criminal proceedings that may or may not transpire.
Sexual assault is not just a crime; it is a gross violation of our human rights. As the conversation about sexual violence ignites on the national platform, small-scale, university-focused efforts are the key to impacting sustainable change.
As I asked that student in 1986, I ask you now, Chancellor Syverud: Why are you here? I am really trying to understand. And I know, because I read in their deep, critical descriptions of what it is like to be heard on this campus, that the students who are THE General Body want to know this as well.
We are failing if we make our victories dependent on eschewing the rights our legal system was founded on -- fairness, due process, a presumption of innocence -- in order to obtain findings of guilt in sexual assault cases without regard to the facts.