Between the University of Victoria Students’ Society’s Let’s Get Consensual campaign, which has been in full swing since the start of school, and the sexual assault on campus last week, UVic students have had a lot to think about in regards to rape culture.
Laci Green is a sex educator and YouTube video blogger who travels to colleges and universities throughout Canada and the United States. Her YouTube videos alone gain thousands of views, and through her university talks, she is able to directly discuss the topic of rape with students, doing so in a way that is relatable to the students she is addressing. On Sept. 30 she discussed what rape culture is, and how we can begin to dismantle it, with the students of UVic.
Green opened her presentation by showing a video montage of news reporters discussing various rapes that have happened over the past few years. While most of them were from American news channels, some were local to Canada: Amanda Todd’s story was mentioned, and was met with sighs, shuffling, and visible signs of upset from the students in attendance.
The rest of Green’s talk was dedicated to addressing what rape culture is, what comprises rape, and what we can do to stop it. She directly addressed what survivors go through on a day-to-day basis, and how important it is that we support these victims as best we can.
“When we’re talking about someone who has been assaulted,” Green said in an interview prior to her talk, “we’re talking about someone who’s had their agency violated, who’s had their bodily autonomy violated. So it’s really important to respect their wishes and to respect how they would like to proceed.”
What seemed to resonate most with the students who came out to see Green’s talk was when she asked the girls in the audience to call out some of the things that they have been told to do in order to prevent rape. Answers such as “don’t drink too much,” “don’t wear revealing clothing,” and “don’t go out at night” were just a few of the dozens of responses that she gathered in under a minute. When the audience went silent, Green just stood there and nodded, signaling to everyone just how prevalent rape culture is in our society, and why this needs to stop.
Green said that no one tells people not to rape, or to respect women. “Women,” Green said, “are always the victim,” and this needs to stop.
“To anyone who is in a position of power,” said Green, “your voice goes far. Raise the voices of people who don’t have that kind of power, and make sure you’re using your positions of power for good.”
Green’s speech concluded with her inviting the audience to “take down rape culture, y’all,” which was met with roaring applause and a standing ovation. While her talk was not about one of the most lighthearted subjects, it was definitely well appreciated by the students in attendance.