Last week, Students for Reproductive Justice (SRJ) hosted Muhlenberg’s Week of Action for It’s On Us, the campaign seeks to end sexual assault on college campuses. I wanted to start by thanking everyone who came out to support our club and to support the campaign. The number of students who came out to take the pledge was amazing to see. I hope everyone who took the pledge continues to work hard to support survivors, intervene in nonconsensual situations and work to create a safe and validating environment.
While taking the pledge is an important step, it is not the finish line. We, as students, need to internalize the goals of the It’s On Us campaign and work constantly on dismantling the institutional and societal forces that make sexual assault a normal part of college. I know this sounds like a monumental undertaking, but it really doesn’t have to be. If a friend makes a rape joke, call them out on it. If you see a questionable interaction at a party, make sure it’s consensual. If someone tells you that they’re a survivor, believe them.
I’m not naïve enough to think that one Week of Action will change everything. I also understand that, as President of SRJ, I cannot host one event per academic year and do nothing else. I said it in an article last week, and I’ll say it again now – reproductive justice fundamentally includes a culture of consent. I know I will work with my club to help build that at Muhlenberg, and I sincerely hope others will and are doing the same.
One question I was left with after our Week of Action is how we can continue to create a culture of consent. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution nor a quick fix. However, SRJ is always open to suggestions. If you are interested in creating a culture of consent, or you are part of (or know of) a group on campus that is already doing this work, please reach out to our club at firstname.lastname@example.org or to me directly. We want to keep working, and we cannot do it alone.
So, on that note, I have one final question. Where do we go from here?