An Open Letter to the OSU Community:
Last year during move-in week, Ohio State made the news, and not in a good way, when a private student residence near campus hung signs with the words “Daughter Daycare” and “Dads, we’ll take it from here.”
The message to female students, especially first-years, was clear: 1) your bodies are fair game for sexual objectification and assault on campus, and 2) you, as property of patriarchal figures in your life, will be passed on from your father to the man/men who will prey on your body. These signs were especially disturbing to the countless OSU students who are survivors of rape and sexual violence. But for all women students, the “joke” glossed over these sobering statistics about campus life:
- Most rapes on college campuses happen during the first two weeks of classes.
- 1 in 4 college women will be the victim of sexual assault during their academic career.
- Every 21 hours there is a rape on a U.S. college campus.
- 1 in 12 college-aged men admit having fulfilled the prevailing definition of rape or attempted rape, yet virtually none of these men identify themselves as rapists.
- In a survey of high-school students, 56 percent of girls and 76 percent of boys, some of whom may be incoming college freshmen, believed forced sex was acceptable under some circumstances.
We in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at OSU make a public call to the campus community to step up our efforts with even greater vigilance and continue to raise awareness about rape and sexual violence. We ask you to demand the creation of a nonviolent educational space: No one should fear for his/her/their safety while trying to get an education.
Prof. Shannon Winnubst
on behalf of Core Faculty of WGSS