Women’s rights are human rights; show your respect and speak out

When Concordia picked “Gender Matters” as the topic for symposium and intended for the important messages to seep into people’s perspectives, I don’t think they could have predicted a full semester of nation-wide gender focus. The symposium landed shortly before the national “debate” with Brett Kavanaugh, setting people into spirals on social media and having them biting at the bit to go to the polls in November.

After the mid-term chaos passed and 85 new women took their place in the House of Representatives, Jon Krakauer was brought to talk about his book, “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town,” on campus. Since then, a debate has started. His book details a college town, Missoula, Montana, and the hundreds of sexual assaults and rapes that occurred in just two years. On top of that awful reality, his book focuses on the lack of justice in our current world for these victims. He tells the chilling tales of several personal cases that have not gotten justice in a judicial system that puts victims of sexual assault on defense and not their assaulters.

For Krakauer’s lecture, numerous Cobber sports teams were required to go and absorb the talk, not only as education, but as a sign of support for other women, showing that Cobbers are working to better these issues. That didn’t go according to plan.

McKayle Carter, a senior, noticed the lack of focus with the athletes at the event, as they disregarded Krakauer’s important message and sat on their phones. Carter posted a Facebook status detailing her frustrations in the disrespect and unacceptable nature of them not taking the event seriously and isolating their support, from the perspective of audience members. Her Facebook has exploded and been talked about in classes all around campus, as well as shared over 1,000 times on social media. So, little to say, the campus is charged.

There is an emotional wave building, and we all feel it. After the “It’s okay to be white” signs and Krakauer’s visit, it all adds up. And little to nothing has been done. It has been talked about across campus in clubs and dorms, at dinner in DS, over the phone, but it all boils down to campus wanting more. We want more from the administration acknowledging these issues and fighting for its students. We want more education and a sign from the powers that be that women are valued on this campus.

Countless teachers and coaches know about the incident at Krakauer’s talk and the heights it has escalated to, yet silence remains. As a campus that is made up of over 60% women, it is dumbfounding that gender rights conflicts aren’t immediately addressed. It is time to stop tiptoeing around each other.

As students, we can do better as well. We say we care about the injustice of the “It’s okay to be white” signs, or the current fight for female rights to be taken seriously, but what are we doing? Are you correcting your friend when they make a sexist joke? Are you being an ally to a friend when their boyfriend talks down to them? Are you standing up to men that assume they can talk over you? Are you educating yourself on how you could be better? Are you lifting up the other women in your life? I would beg to differ.

There are so many issues with women’s rights permeating on our campus, let alone ways to be better in our community that we all walk by each day. One of those tragedies is our current feminist club. Many people are unaware that it is in fact run by 75% men that think by playing devil’s advocate, they are educating themselves on the counter argument. But, they are in fact simply confirming their misogyny and feminist club turns into a meninist club.

Open your eyes and call out your peers of all genders on these issues. Tensions are high on campus, we need to start creating change both on the administrative and personal levels, otherwise all of these harbored feelings will turn into something nastier than a Facebook argument after a semester of built upon women’s oppression. It is time to put our efforts not only into our school work, but into the greater causes we care so much about. It is time to turn the tide. Women’s rights are human rights.

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