Students, faculty discuss sexual violence on campus

Whitney Allen

Statistically, one in every five women will face assault or attempted assault during her time on campus. Stephanie Gilmore provided this statistic and has made it her mission to end sexual violence on university and college campuses. 

Gilmore addressed WKU students and faculty Wednesday evening in the DSU auditorium. The lecture was also streamed online for the regional campuses.

Gilmore holds a Ph.D. in comparative women’s history from Ohio State University. She is currently the editor for the Committee on LGBT History and a member of the editorial collective for Feminist Studies, an academic journal.

In the 90 minutes of Gilmore’s lecture, 45 sexual assaults took place, she informed her listeners. She said statistically someone becomes a victim of sexual assault ever two minutes.

She reminded students those victims were not limited to one specific group or gender, but this is an issue that grazes every gender and race.

With her presentation of the numbers, Gilmore presented a matching energy and passion for change.

Gilmore’s mission is to make change happen in order for the numbers she presented to change. This includes ending rape culture and taking care of these problems at their roots rather than only dealing with the victims.

 “We need to create communities where violence becomes unthinkable,” Gilmore said.

She said the creation of such a community will stem from campus protests, activists groups and accountability with the university to maintain a safe environment.

In some cases, she said the policy itself needs to change.

“If this (policy) needs to be changed, then we need to be changing it,” Gilmore said. “Policies are only as good as the paper they’re written on.”

Following the lecture, Gilmore opened the floor for questions. Students asked questions about WKU’s policy on sexual misconduct, “yes means yes” policies and ways to end rape culture.

Gilmore encouraged students to take action where they see fit whether that is through protests, social media, activism or campus media.

 “Students need to be involved, this is your campus,” Gilmore said. “It’s an exciting time to be opening up conversation about this.”