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Responding to Tuesday, albeit a bit late

charlie's picture

I have been thinking a lot about Tuesday's class. I think the class had a lot of positives and a few negatives. For starters, I think that it is really important to talk about rape and sexual assault. It is important to read texts like Ensler's litany. It is important to have tense, emotionally packed discussions. In doing so, it helps to bring aware to a subject that I feel is often glossed over as something horrible and awful and so we should acknowledge its existance but keep our distance. It also helps to de-stigmatize the survivors. With knowledge comes understanding and a tool box. Of course, I am not naive enough to believe that we can outright prevent rape by talking about it, but we can fix our reactions to it. We can learn to use the right terminology (i.e survivor, not victim), we can learn about resources that exist currently, and we can learn about what we can do for ourselves and for others that we know.

That being said, I might have restructured the lesson plan slightly. I really enjoyed our 3 actitivies - talking about the quotes from the readings, diffracting the theorists through each other, and then reading / discussin Ensler's litany - but I think there was really only time for 2 of the activities (if we were to still have time for snack time). I would have removed the first activity, moved the second actitivy to the opening of class, and then read and discussed Ensler after snack time. While I enjoyed the quaker-meeting-style offering of our favorite quotes, I felt that I got less out of this activity, which is why it is the one that I am choosing to remove. The second activity tied all of our theorist together nicely, which I think helped to define this course more for me. As for Ensler, I felt that we need a lot more time than 10 minutes to have a meaningful discussion. Because of the short amount of time, I think everyone left class a little bit raw. I think it is really important to have tough, unsettling, complicated, sticky discussions. They are the kind of discussion that I crave. But I think there needs to be time to resettle everyone afterwards, which I did not feel that there was. 

To Anne and Kaye, thank you. Thank you for not backing down from a potentially scary topic for a no-holds-barred, open discussion class. It is important for rape and sexual assault, as well as our other discussion topics, to be talked about. If our thoughts and opinions are not heard on these subjects, they simply get swept under the rug, ineveitably only making them bigger, scarier, and even harder to approach. Thank you for being brave enough to go there.