#FemTrending: On "Fixing" Sexual Assault On Campus

#FemTrending is a blog series with a feminist kick that wades into the waters of things "trending" in popular culture and politics. Written by GS&NS Digital Content Coordinator, Hailie Johnson-Waskow.


Today I sat in on a panel discussing the Violence Against Women Act and its implications at Boise State University. The panel was largely based on audience questions; questions largely from the student body. I sat there and listened quietly; I can usually be found doing this in social settings because I am un-interested in drawing attention to myself. However, a lot of the questions were centered on how much false reporting was being done, what was working to reduce sexual assault, etc.

I sat there for an hour becoming increasingly frustrated around the conversation until I finally raised my hand. I asked how we could address many of the failings of the systems that we currently use to address sexual assault. 

Advocates for sexual assault victims often forget to not invent in ‘magic’ solutions. So often we get caught up in one solution and believe that it will solve the problem of sexual violence.

For example, many schools have become incredibly reliant on Title IX and its methods but fail to criticize the hyper masculinity present throughout the legislation. At Boise State, we use a campaign called It’s On Us. While most of the students have wholeheartedly invested themselves in the campaign, there are numerous aspects of it that engage in victim blaming. This only further replicates the problems it seeks to address.

When it comes down to it; it is important to remain critical of our methods. We are all looking to take steps to address sexual assault but that does not mean that we should remain complacent in our solutions. We must constantly continue improving.

Hailie Johnson-Waskow