The second installment of the University of New Orleans’ Cultural Conversation Series tackled the topic of rape culture. Last Tuesday, UNO students had a round table discussion to dispel the myths and misunderstandings associated with the topic, from the media’s influence to everyday conversations people have with peers or relatives about the subject of rape.
The Cultural Conversations, hosted by the Student Activities Council, occur once or twice each semester and are a means to provide a platform to discuss heavier subjects affecting college students that small talk often tends to shy away from.
The open-forum discussion was supplemented by a PowerPoint presentation, informative videos, and other visual media that described the plight of rape culture and how it can affect morale on college campuses. The discussion turned from finding flaws in popular culture that promote hostile sexual behavior, to frightening sexual assault statistics on college campuses.
“Growing up and watching it so much you become numb to it.” UNO student Darius Miner pointed out. “When you hear about rape in the media, you’re kind of immune to it. I do think the media perpetuates that.”
Darius cited the Brock Turner sexual assault case at Stanford University that shook the nation, yet did little more than stir up social media outrage “Very few people you actually see do something to try to help combat that. You just become numb to it.”
Some students cited upbringing and lack of education on the subject of rape culture that may leave people dangerously ignorant of the topic.
“It’s not until you get older and have different discussions and see different experiences where you can fully understand difficult topics like rape,” student Shrederick King Jr. said. He went on to state that the conversation “doesn’t necessarily have to start at an educational point, but I can see how schools don’t incorporate it, and families don’t incorporate it.”
For LeeAnne Sipe, Assistant Director of Student Involvement & Leadership at UNO, the remedy is easy, though its execution may be difficult. “The university could support it, but I’ve been trying to get students to do trainings, to reach out to other students, to be peer educators, to train students to be active bystanders—to get that off the ground.”
“There are workshops going on, we don’t talk enough about rape.” Sipe said.