St. Andrews Women’s Issues Club hosts Candlelight Vigil
St. Andrews iVomert’s Issues Club
hosted a Candlelight vigil on April
18 to help raise awareness of sexual
assualt crimes. The following Ls a
speech presented by Sherry Hamby,
Professor Al Dardi's wife.
It is great to see everyone here
tonight. Tonight can be the
first of many steps to provide
much needeu action in the St.
Andrews community. Not
just awareness, but action.
There probably are not
any rapists here tonight.
So we all may think we
are doing our part to
prevent sexual assault.
But what 1 want to
emphasize tonight is that
it is not enough to simply
refrain fk)m being a rapist.
It is not enough to simply
reftain from illegally touching
someone else in ways that
they do not want, even
if you stop short of rape.
It is not even enough to
succeed in avoiding becoming
the victim of sexual assault.
All of us here are also
witnesses, witness almost
every day to events that
increase the risk of rape.
America has the highest
incidence of sexual violence
among all the wealthy,
such as the countries of
Europe, Japan, and Canada.
Why is this so?
Tonight I will briefly describe
4 reasons why this is so and
5 first steps each of us can
take to change a culture of
rape to a culture of respect.
Problem #1 The selling of sex,
violence, and sexual violence
is a multibillion dollar industry.
It’s well documented, despite
what some may try to tell
you, that even brief exposure
to pornography and violence
increases sexual aggression.
But it’s not just hard core pom
thatis the problem. Mainstream
media are full of movies and
music that degrade women and
brag about sexual violence.
Problem #2 Second there is
the conspiracy of silence. Acts
of violence happen and the
perpetrators get away with it
because no one ever finds out
about it. You can bet that the
perpetrators are counting on
the shame and embarrassment
of victims to keep their mouths
shut. They know victims don’t
want to be stigmatized. Did
you ever stop to wonder why it
is so much more stigmatizing
to be a victim of a rape than
the victim of a mugging or
another crime? The whole
system of stigmatizing
sexual assault victims was
created to keep victims quiet.
Problem #3 The third problem
is that perpetrators get away
with rape even when everybody
knows about it. Even in the
St. Andrews community members and Laurinhurg community members join together
help raise awareness od sexual assualt. Picture courtesy of Communications.
years that I have been at St. Andrews
1 have heard stories about individual
males and sometimes even whole
cohorts of buddies or sports teams
that are known for their aggressive
sexual behavior, but although
everyone “knows,” no consequences
happen. I’ve heard stories about
men literally lying in wait for new
ft^shman women because they
know they are the only ones who
don’t know their reputation. Even
if the police don’t do anything,
these men should be expelled and
ostracized but instead they continue
with their scholarships and their
classes and only the victims suffer.
Problem U4 Then there’s the social
pressure on women to be attractive
and get in a relationship. I’ve known
women who thought it was “cute”
when a student caught the attentions
of a known rapist because they just
thought any attention from any guy
The tragic events at Virginia Tech
serve to remind us of the fragility of
life. For some of you the horror that
unfolded on the VT campus is very
personal; several of our faculty and
staff members graduated from VT,
our equestrian teams regularly com
pete against Virginia Tech riders and
some you of you have fi'iends who at
tend that very fine institution. I urge
you to remember the victims, families,
students, faculty, staff and adminis
trators in your thoughts and prayers.
In light of the crisis at Virginia
Tech, let me remind the St. An
drews community of the precautions
you must take to keep this campus
safe. Please remember that campus
safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Report all suspicious activity. If
you see a suspicious person, ve
hicle or activity, call campus safety.
Guns, knives, incendiary de
vices are not allowed on campus. It
is a felony to possess these items on
a college campus. You can prevent
a horrible event by immediately re
porting the possession of these items.
Keep you doors and windows
locked. The best protection for you
Eind your possessions is locking
your door and windows. Leaving a
door propped open jeopardizes the
safety of you and your suite mates.
Report all expressions
of violence or threats.
If you notice a change in be
havior or hear someone make
is good attention. Needless to say,
it’s not, but it shows you how women
are still swamped with the message
that they are no one without a man.
So those are 4 problems: the selling
of sexual violence, the conspiracy
of silence, the lack of consequences
for known offenders, and the
stigmatization of the single woman.
Now here are 5 very specific
things you can do about those
problems. It’s hard to stand up to
a culture of violence but these are
some of the simplest steps you can
take to start pulling away from it.
Action I) Don’t consume media
that degrades women and glorifies
violence. I know there probably
aren’t a lot of subscribers to Hustler
in this audience, but I encourage you
to critically appraise ALL media, not
just the blatantly pornographic. You
don’t have to limit yourselves to
nonstop viewings of March of
the Penguins. Go see Blades
of Glory and skip Grimlhouse.
Don’t buy those t-shirts that
“solve” “problems” by duct-
taping a woman’s mouth, and
don’t laugh at them when
others wear them. It will make
a difference. In fact, this has
been a good week for shaping
the media—Don Imus, who
for more than a decade has
received tremendous financial
^,„backingand a national platform
to spread sexist and racist
slurs, finally picked on the
wrong women and got his long
overdue comeuppance. Your
voice can make a difference.
Action 2) Persuade the school
to offer violence prevention
programs. On most campuses
in the 21” century, these are
offered at a minimum to all
freshmen and required of
all athletes. Although these
programs are not a cure, they
do make a dent in the problem.
Action 3) Fix this sign and
work to get emergency call
boxes throughout campus.
“Just in case you don’t feel safe
walking alone” makes it sound
like walking alone at night is
something some women can
safely choose to do unless they
are scaredy-cats. Women can
never walk alone safely at night.
It is not a personal choice; it is
threats, call campus safety
Be responsible for your guests Ex
plain to your guests expectations
for visiting campus and your guest
is registered with campus safety.
St. Andrews has an emergency man
agement plan that is activated in
case of an emergency. Administra
tors, members of OSA, campus safety
officers and others review and as
sess the plan on an ongoing basis.
Students, faculty and staff will
be notified by a telephone broadcast,
emails and [wstings when the emer
gency plan is activated. The notices
will describe the nature of the emer
gency and give instructions for deal
ing with the situation, in the event of
a campus wide lock-down, members
of the administration, student life,
campus safety and physical plant will
be dispatched to secure all buildings.
Campus safety has direct radio com
munication with Scotland County
Emergency Services and the 911 com
munications center. City police, coun
ty sheriff, emergency medical services
will be notified of a campus emergen
cy through the conmiunications cen
ter. These agencies respond to emer
gency calls to campus within minutes.
During an emergency, it is critical
to follow instructions and repeat only
confirmed and official information.
We hope that the type of event
that took place at VT never hap
pens here. Please keep those affected
by the VT tragedy in your prayers.
- Dean Glenn Batten
a fact of our violent cuhure.
Campus Escorts should be in
place every night of the week.
Student volimteers, as long as
they work in pairs and carry
flashlights and cell phones,
can help provide this service,
as they do on many campuses.
Action 4) Create safe places
to speak out. It’s too easy for
the naysayers to claim it is not
a problem here if no one ever
reports it. St. Andrews has
not reported an act of sexual
assault in the last 3 years on
this campus in their official
filings of crime statistics.
Action 5) Don’t participate in
the stigmatization of single
women. Finding a partner is
important, but there are other
things in life too. Thenexttime
your roommate frets about not
having a boyfriend, you tell her
she is just fine the way she is.
ITiank you and have a safe n ight.
If you have any questions
please feel free to contact
Betsy Dendy via email.