The Muhlenberg Students for Reproductive Justice (SRJ) is a group of students dedicated to learning about and fighting for reproductive rights for all. SRJ are also members of Planned Parenthood Generation Action.
As described by the organization, the ‘It’s On Us’ campaign aims “to recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault. To identify situations in which sexual assault may occur. To intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given. To create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.”
The campaign It’s On Us “has historically been organized by SRJ in conjunction with the Title IX office.” Last year SRJ were not able to host a Week of Action. “However,” says SRJ President, Taylor Chase ‘19, “we are trying to reestablish our club’s investment in the campaign and creating a culture on college campuses where sexual assault is not tolerated.”
Chase says her main goal of the event “is to make sure we have a successful week and build visibility for this movement.”
There is no reproductive justice without a culture of consent.
“Sexual autonomy is an essential part of reproductive justice,” said Chase, “and we believe that everyone has the right to have (or abstain from) happy, healthy and consensual sexual encounters. There is no reproductive justice without a culture of consent.”
Chase does acknowledge her “idealistic goal as being able to create a culture on campus that doesn’t tolerate sexual assault.” She is aware that one Week of Action will “not completely dismantle the institutional and societal structures that have created the current culture where sexual violence is permissible.” Most importantly, Chase hopes that the campus learns how many students there are that do not tolerate sexual assault and that “survivors feel validated in their journey and that they feel heard and supported.”
There is still much more to come from It’s On Us action week. On Thursday SRJ will be partnering with Fight4HER in the Lehigh Valley to sponsor a discussion on the gag rule. The event is part of a larger national tour and will feature Women’s Rights advocates Lisa Shannon, Amos Simpano and Melvine Ouyo. “Together,” describes Chase, “the advocates show what the world that doesn’t support women’s reproductive health looks like.” On Friday there will be and Escalation Workshop developed by the One Love Foundation, which works to stimulate conversation and activism around relationship violence.
SRJ also does many other things on campus throughout the academic year. Previously their events have had condom gram drives and a Planned Parenthood event that included a book signing event. SRJ has also gotten Plan B in the health center at a discounted rate ($25 versus the $50 you’d pay at the drugstore).