Project Title

Exposing Patriarchy: How Universities Uphold Rape Culture by Silencing and Devaluing Women’s Experiences on College Campuses

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

COTA - Theatre and Performance Studies

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Angela Farr Schiller, Ph.D.

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Since August of 2017, there have been six reported rapes in student housing at Kennesaw State University. No students were formally notified of these incidents by the university. This lack of university response demonstrates how the experiences of women are being silenced everyday by universities who are supposed to help women in instances of sexual assault. However, the headlines are full of cases of universities doing the exact opposite like in the case of Emma Sulkowicz at Columbia University, who carried the mattress she was raped on in protest of the school’s mishandling of her complaint, or the woman that was raped behind a dumpster by former student Brock Turner at Stanford University, who was convicted of three felony counts of sexual assault but only served three months behind bars. These examples show how the university response, deeply rooted in the choreography of patriarchy, devalues female student’s experiences in higher education. Using gender theory and the work of performance studies scholars, this project explores the performance of the university in cases of rape from across the country in order to bring awareness to the experiences of women on college campuses and how the performance of the university plays a key factor in solving issues of sexual assault for female students. Ultimately, this project contends that patriarchy creates a bias in society that devalues the lives of women. It has come to a point that universities view this type of behavior as normal, instead of taking a stand for gender equality.

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

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Exposing Patriarchy: How Universities Uphold Rape Culture by Silencing and Devaluing Women’s Experiences on College Campuses

Since August of 2017, there have been six reported rapes in student housing at Kennesaw State University. No students were formally notified of these incidents by the university. This lack of university response demonstrates how the experiences of women are being silenced everyday by universities who are supposed to help women in instances of sexual assault. However, the headlines are full of cases of universities doing the exact opposite like in the case of Emma Sulkowicz at Columbia University, who carried the mattress she was raped on in protest of the school’s mishandling of her complaint, or the woman that was raped behind a dumpster by former student Brock Turner at Stanford University, who was convicted of three felony counts of sexual assault but only served three months behind bars. These examples show how the university response, deeply rooted in the choreography of patriarchy, devalues female student’s experiences in higher education. Using gender theory and the work of performance studies scholars, this project explores the performance of the university in cases of rape from across the country in order to bring awareness to the experiences of women on college campuses and how the performance of the university plays a key factor in solving issues of sexual assault for female students. Ultimately, this project contends that patriarchy creates a bias in society that devalues the lives of women. It has come to a point that universities view this type of behavior as normal, instead of taking a stand for gender equality.