Sexual Assault Watch-Texas Lege

(previously published on juliegillis.com

Texas State Rep. Dawnna Dukes has sponsored a bill to create a statewide task force to learn how to better respond to sexual assaults on campuses across the state.

The Daily Texan presented testimony of a Texas Tech student as she spoke about her assault at at Fraternity Party which involved GHB and rape as initiation rites for members.

It's harrowing and horrible.

Full testimony of Texas Tech student regarding sexual assault on college campuses at House Higher Ed | The Daily Texan.

I'd love to say that cases like this are uncommon. They are not. Rape and sexual assault and use of date rape drugs such as GHB (or Benedryl mixed into liquor) are widespread across college campuses, and are part of a culture of status, power, and a disregard for others. While most cases reported upon are male on female assault, I feel certain that there are likely cases of male on male assault as well, only in such a hyper masculinized culture, most young men would never report it for fear of reprisal and of not being believed, and frankly, because of the shame such a culture inculcates in men.

I am glad that this bill is up, I'm glad there may be a statewide task force to help support victims of assault in better ways. I'd also love to see a statewide task force in place to help dismantle institutional dynamics that allow for such assaults to begin with.

And of course I know how unlikely that is to happen. Those fraternities and clubs are filled with money and power and a culture of boys will be boys. And so long as that is allowed to thrive, well, you'll see sexual assault.

I'm particular proud of our campus here at UT. They have amazing programs against interpersonal violence from a poster campaign that is gender neutral and shows the wide range of orientations on campus (and because violence can happen between all genders in all relationships), to solid information during all orientations, and a theater class and teaching tool that uses actors and scenarios allowing dialogue and questioning to happen.

But still, assault happens right here in my back yard. I have heard such heartbreaking stories, not unlike the one above, many times.

We have to teach consent, yes. We have to work all the dynamics in place to reduce violence. We have to support victims of assault in much better ways (and part of that comes with changing societal attitudes around rape), but we also have to strike at root causes, not ignore them because they are wrapped in the mantles of power.

Power is the problem. Everything else is necessary to staunch the bleeding, but doesn't seem to keep the wound from happening.

I'll do everything I can to support Representative Dukes bill. And I'd like to see more.

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