Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rape is not Funny

No one goes out of their way to receive bad publicity, but this time around, it seems inevitable. 
The University of Connecticut hosts a tier-III student organization, UCTV which is known for their comedy skits (Shenninagans)and various coverage of campus wide events. This week, UCTV's mistep became public. In November, students made a comedy skit about rape. Comments were made it was not meant to be laugh-out-loud funny, but rather to make light of a dark situation. Unfortunately, the theory its not so. 
The video portrays a young woman chased through the night by an apparent rapist. The video was formally taken down, but can still be found online. The young woman is found trying to use the emergency help posts found throughout the campus. The pole has a call button which she tries to use and only finds one automated system after another - most of which call her a "bitch" "cock gobbler" and a "howler monkey".  Rather than giving her help the, automated system threatens to rape the girl calling for help. The scene ends with the rapist catching the girl and strangling her to the ground and a sex scene between the two call-for-help-poles. 
 The students responsible for making the video acknowledged the upset, but truly have not yet expressed sincere understanding for their actions. The initial response was that the episode"slipped through the cracks." 
This is truly a multifaceted issue:
1. UCTV is a tier-III organization which means they are granted ample resources by the university, including funding. Additionally, student fees are allocated to the funding of UCTV.
2. The University has proven that it is not progressive in accepting the rights of women. This past September at the Slut Walk (similar to Take Back the Night) a woman was informed by police that "Rape will stop when women stop spreading their legs like peanut butter". Clearly, this mentality is generational and has not yet been halted.
Now made blatantly obvious, initiatives like Take Back the Night, Vagina Monologues, and the Slut Walk are necessary. The Women's Center is vital for channeling the voices of women across the campus in a force standing in solidarity and creating change. 
A meeting to plan a protest was held at 8 p.m. Wednesday night at UConn's Women's Center. Over "500 students on a Facebook page said they would attend, and dozens had posted comments decrying the video." The students are planning a rally for Monday Feb. 6th. 
Luo, a UConn student, wrote an op-ed in Wedneday's Courant that the video "perpetuates myths about the legitimacy of rape claims, denigrating those who have been subjected to sexual violence. There is nothing humorous or redeeming about the video."
In addition to it being baffling that anyone would find it socially acceptable to make a film making fun of rape, it is also astonishing that it took over three months for the video to be pushed out across the web. This begs the question of how many more  violations against women are occurring everyday without our knowing - after all, not everything makes its way to facebook. 

**after posting: apparently UCTV has removed the video from their website through it can still be found through facebook and other avenues.

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