Students, Administrators Discuss Rape Culture During ‘Campus Conversation’

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Dozens of Ohio University students took time out of their day on Thursday to engage in conversation with fellow students and administrators regarding a hot topic on campus: rape culture.

The university hosted a Campus Conversation in Nelson Commons on Thursday to allow the university community to talk about a range of topics related to rape culture from consent, masculinity, victim blaming, bystander intervention, outreach, LGBT issues, healthy sexuality, and policy.

Students stopped in the Nelson banquet room to join into the confidential conversations facilitated by those with some knowledge of the topic.

Susanne Dietzel, director of OU’s Women’s Center, said that university groups have been thinking of holding such an event for a while now, but the event wasn't publicized until Friday. From the turnout of the event, it was clear that the issue was one that was on the minds of many on campus.

The issue has been a hot topic on campus even before the alleged sexual assault that took place on Court Street on Homecoming weekend, which has received media coverage across the globe.

“We felt it was an opportune moment to begin this conversation,” Dietzel said. The event was set up so that people could stop by during the four-hour period at their leisure.

The conversations among the participants was confidential so that participants could feel free to share their thoughts and experiences regarding rape and sexual assault.

OU Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones, who was facilitating one conversation, said that there was a nice even flow of participants during the event.

“People are interested in the topic and I think some people just wanted to talk about it and have others listen,” she said. In addition to the conversation, participants were able to browse various booths to gather information about campus groups and support networks.