Event, movie addresses rape culture

Freshman Alexis McDonald organized the event “Vagina, Vagina, Vagina”  held on Thursday night in the Stanford Master’s Apartment in support of April’s Sexual Assault Awareness month. The occasion drew in a crowd of nearly 40 students who were intrigued about the wonders of vaginas.

The aspiring activist felt that even though this event was mandatory for her women and gender studies class, it was only one “activist moment” out of many to come.

“From the first day of class I knew that I wanted to address rape culture in some capacity,” McDonald said. “With this event I want to lighten up the mood while talking about something serious.”

Rape culture is something she felt needed to be discussed more at UM because, according to her, it has changed the way women are now allowed to act in society. This change saddens her.

“It’s an issue that needs to be addressed, and promoting sexual positivity in women is just one way I felt I could help to combat rape culture,” McDonald said.

Nadine Shamji, a freshman majoring in nursing, feels it’s simple.

“Men should not rape and women shouldn’t have to fear to be raped,” Shamji said.

The event consisted of a viewing of “The Vagina Monologues” movie with discussions among the audience members about perceptions of female sexual expression and consensual sex.

“It’s kind of weird for girls to say ‘yeah I like to have sex,’” McDonald said. “People call those girls h*es, but that shouldn’t be the case, and people shouldn’t assume that they will have sex with anyone.”

McDonald planned the event independently and, to ensure the success of her event, she said she did everything she could, from taping flyers onto gliders to harassing her friends and her friend’s friends to attend.

As the audience watched The Vagina Monologues, the mood quickly changed from light-hearted, with people chuckling at the puns, to serious, as the audience listened, open-mouthed, to the stories of women who had been raped.

“The part where the woman was raped by all of the men in the military base camp, the Bosnian Camp, scared me,” said Keria Moran, a freshman majoring in music business. “It was so disturbing; I’m not going to be able to sleep.”

According to the film, more than 700,000 women are raped in the U.S. and that, overseas, rape is used as a war tactic.

“In today’s society, I feel like a women do not have the control they should over their body, especially once they have been assaulted. They are stripped of their power,” McDonald said.

At the end of the event, students stuck around to discuss the impact vaginas have in our world.

“At first I was like, ‘that’s gross’ but then, I remembered life came out of it,” said Alex Jean-Baptiste, a freshman majoring in computer science. “I feel like this generation of people will be more conscious and understanding about vaginas.”

Before they left, the students screamed, “Vagina” and other variations of the word as a symbol of empowering women and to take away the shame society has put on vaginas.