Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 17, 2013 20:02
On Valentine’s Day, the Boston College Allies hosted an event in the Quad called “Don’t Skirt the Issue,” a campaign to end gender-based violence. Men wearing skirts, a nonconventional method to draw the attention of passersby, was an effective way to open up dialogue about what is generally considered a touchy subject. The Heights would like to recognize the efforts of all those involved in the campaign—the organizers, those who contributed their time to making promotional materials, and those who showed up in skirts on Thursday, prepared to educate their fellow students. The issue of gender-based violence is an important one, and we commend Allies for opening the topic to discussion.
The Heights concurs with Allies’ assessment that the problem of violence against women and girls should not be considered simply a “women’s issue”—assault affects all members of a community, and recognizing that it affects everyone is a significant step toward ending such violence. Attacks against women cannot be halted without the active support of both men and women—neither party can afford to take a passive role, and we appreciate that Allies took time to make just that point. They succeeded in bringing a large-scale issue, one that goes far beyond the BC bubble, to campus. BC students are sometimes criticized for being apathetic about or ignorant of events outside their own immediate surroundings. “Don’t Skirt the Issue” is evidence that the spirit of activism and engagement in the student body is very much alive and well. We hope that Allies, and other groups on campus, take note of this event’s success and continue to push for the recognition and discussion of real-world problems.
The Heights is pleased to note that this campaign was largely met with support and open minds. We would like to point out, however, that simply listening and agreeing will not be enough to halt gender-based violence. Continuing the dialogue is crucial—we encourage students to take advantage of relevant resources on BC’s campus. BCPD offers Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) courses for free—the next sessions begin in March, and women are encouraged to attend and learn how to defend themselves from attackers. The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) offers Bystander Awareness Education courses, aimed at creating communities that feel responsible to prevent sexual assault. RAs can request that these presentations be hosted in their living communities, and student groups on campus can also request presentations, so that all members are informed. Students can also volunteer to be student trainers for the WRC’s presentations. The Heights suggests that all students take the time to become familiar with and use these resources—BC offers effective means for members of the community to educate themselves and take proactive steps to fight against rape and assault—it’s the students’ responsibility to take advantage of them.