I came across something very exciting on cnn.com today. It was a video about a former University of Alabama student named Bergen Baucom who has decided to use her freshman year experience with acquaintance rape to speak out about the misconceptions of date
rape on college campuses.
In short, Bergen used a class assignment to make a documentary film about acquaintance rape. I'm not exactly certain of how the events played out, but her video evolved into her gaining media attention. Following the video, she received numerous emails from individuals with similar experiences, and now Bergen is making sure to advocate on their behalf. Her focus is on educating individuals - not just victims - on the serious consequences of acquaintance rape. She has already amazing progress in opening dialogue regarding a topic that is frequently overlooked, especially on college campuses.
In the CNN video clip and on her first blog post (view bottom of this post or click here), Bergen discusses how she was ill-equipped to handle acquaintance rape following her experience. She discusses how college campuses brush over the topic of rape, providing students with "rape whistles" and mace. Students are rarely informed about what constitutes rape and what to do should it happen to you.
Cluelessness regarding acquaintance rape is shared by many. I know, I for one, never imagined a friend was capable of doing something as horrible as rape, and I certainly struggled to call my experience what it was for that reason.
Over Thanksgiving break, I witnessed my former self in my sister-in-law. After Thanksgiving dinner had transitioned to dessert and conversation, the topic of drinking and my sister-in-law's safety came up. She was rolling her eyes due to her father's continuous concern regarding her "guy friends" walking her home after a night of drinking. My sister-in-law remarks went something like, "I mean, dad is so ridiculous. I know my guy friends. Nothing like that could ever happen. These aren't some sketchy guys from some random bar." Hopefully, my sister-in-law's friends are as decent as she believes, but my point is how she truly believes that rape only occurs with "sketchy guys from some random bar."
Enough of my rambling, I'm just thrilled that Bergen Baucom is taking the leap and starting dialogue on this very important topic. It's something everyone needs to here - victims, potential victims, perpetrators, potential perpetrators - and not to mention, friends of victims of acquaintance rape. Over the past few months, it has become evident to me that I am not alone in experiencing secondary wounding from invalidating comments made by those I cared for the most. By breaking the silence, acquaintance rape will no longer be able to be brushed under the rug. Thank you, Bergen Baucom!
To view Bergen Baucom's campaign website, click here.
Miniskirts, Mace and Other Misconceptions: Let' Give Em' Somethin' to Talk About..: Today I had the unique opportunity to speak with four young female members of a student council from an area high school. I was attending a ...