Four panelists discussed various topics surrounding rape culture and its impact in society during the Conference of World Affairs on Tuesday.
The talk, titled “Locker Room Talk” was a reference to a video of President Donald Trump claiming that he groped and kissed women without their consent, which caused uproar in both political parties. The language and actions of individuals such as Trump continued to establish a cultural stigma towards sexual assault survivors.
“There is nothing, I think, more damaging or hurting than taking someone’s body and using it for your own purpose … this is not just locker room talk,” said Mary Reynolds Thompson, a therapist and life coach. “It’s piggery, it’s thievery and it’s disgusting.”
Thompson explained how sexual assault survivors are not only physically damaged, but also emotionally and mentally damaged. This results in a tendency towards silence, shame and a fear of sharing their stories.
CU Boulder’s Title IX coordinator and Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance Valerie Simons expressed her frustrations. According to Simons, the main reasons why sexual assault survivors do not report their assault is because they don’t think it was serious enough to be reported.
All of the panelists agreed that the conflict extended past the language used in the locker rooms. It is about who holds the power in American culture: white men and their masculinity.
This is an issue that affects all genders. Sam Cook, the founder of Button Poetry and the only male panelist, told a story about how he was teased when he was in high school because he wasn’t “man enough.”
They said that white men have been in power since the birth of the nation. The problems with American culture is that white men hold the power and they misuse and abuse that power, according to the panelists. This is evident in the fact that middle-aged white men are making laws about women’s reproductive rights.
When asked why women voted for Trump, Simons asked why men voted for Trump. She argued that Trump’s misogyny is not just a women’s rights issue but a cultural issue as well.
In order to overcome these difficulties, it is important to humanize and prioritize sexual assault survivors, the panelists said.
Although audience members were eager to discuss women’s rights issues in other countries, Cook warned against fixating on how other countries treat women when America’s women are abused as well. Cook advised that people use their privilege to focus on these issues before worrying about another country’s civil rights movements.
Contact CU Independent General News Editor Kristin Oh at firstname.lastname@example.org.