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Manhattan Denim Day Op-Ed Contest Winner

Manhattan Denim Day Op-Ed Contest Winner

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Published by Scott M. Stringer
Manhattan Denim Day Op-Ed Contest Winner
Manhattan Denim Day Op-Ed Contest Winner

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Published by: Scott M. Stringer on Apr 23, 2013
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04/23/2013

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Manhattan Winner: Lauren Peterson, The New School“Challenging the Norms of Rape Culture”
Welcome to The New School. Our lively campus is quietly nestled in the trendy area of Greenwich Village, NY. Upon entering the hallways of our school, visitors arewelcomed with one of the University’s most prized attributes—diversity. The NewSchool houses students from all over the world who come to New York City to live outtheir dream in dance, drama, art and other liberal arts entities. Our University buildingsline the streets of 5
th
and 6
th
Ave but ideally, New York City is our indigenous campus.The local coffee shop and Leo’s Bagels is where you’ll catch most New School studentsstudying or grabbing a bite to eat. We don’t have Fraternities or Sororities, and there isdefinitely no evidence of Frat houses. We simply find our solstice in the boisterousstreets of New York City. At The New School, we pride ourselves in gender neutrality. Throughout our campus wehave “All Gender Restrooms” scattered throughout the buildings. When the restroomswere first installed, there was quite a bit of scrutiny surrounding the implementation.Women felt as though their privacy was violated and rape culture was still an evidentissue on University campuses. Hearing these conversations fluster our halls, I began tothink about the issue of sexual violence within our particular University. I’ve concludedthat in order for us to understand rape culture, we must first eliminate the stigmaassociated with gender. What about men? What about those who classify themselvesas Trans? Is the idea of sexual violence only applicable to women? These questionsstarted to furiously pump through my head.Sexual violence is a daunting issue that haunts
ANY
gender. We can’t expect toeducate our youth and campus about it until we begin thinking outside the box. Are theInternational students at our University aware of the laws and regulations regardingsexual violence and rape in New York State? As a native Floridian, I was given aStudent Handbook and was told to sit down and read all 50 million pages of it. Even if Ibriefly skimmed through it, was I able to grasp the concept? These Internationalstudents barely speak English! How can anyone expect them understand a bunch of U.S. laws? Let’s take awareness to the next level. I propose that all colleges andUniversities execute a mandatory introduction course to sexual violence not only oncampus but in the city as well. Universities can’t expect to hand a college student apamphlet the size of a textbook and tell them to explore the policies and missions of their campus. It simply doesn’t work like that. Now what? Let’s talk consent.YES! Yes? Yes. Do you know the difference between the three? How far does your “yes” really travel? Does “yes” mean “yes” to everything? NO! Consent is one of themost controversial issues surrounding sexual violence on college campuses. Sayingyes to one thing, does that mean you’ve said yes to everything. I therefore declare arecall on the definition of the term “consent”. The dictionary defines consent as“permission for something to happen or agreement to do something”. (Dictionary.com).If I agree to kiss you, does that mean I agree to take it to the next level? AbsolutelyNOT! We can recall statistics detailing sexual violence against individuals who knew

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