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Graduating College Students Don Red Tape to Remind Everyone that Rape is Still an Issue in American Colleges

Sexual assault and rape is a serious issue in American colleges, and many college students across the country are determined to bring awareness to this fact.

At Stanford University, hundreds of students attended their commencement ceremonies donning red tape over their graduation cape to signify their solidarity for victims of sexual assault, particularly Leah Francis. Many students’ red tape was arranged to spell out “IX,” in reference to Title IX, a federal law passed to promote gender equity and protect against sexual harassment.

Those student activists at Stanford would be glad to realize that students at man other colleges are as frustrated about the college administrations’ lackluster policies and enforcements regarding sexual harassment/assault. Moreover, many such students have organized fiercely to bring awareness to this issue. In Columbia University, the student group – Students Acting for Ending Rape (SAFER) – had a hand in placing red tape throughout the university campus. The photo shown in this article is one of the results of this organized activism – a large statue of a woman sitting in front of the university library, with a red tape covering her mouth. Another group of 23 students at the university filed a federal complaint against Columbia University, making the point that the school has failed to protect students against sexual assault.

This silent yet chilling movement against sexual assault has also occurred in places like Brown University, Harvard University, and Dartmouth College. (Source: Think Progress)

In light of many cases like that of Leah Francis, in which the student who raped Leah received outlandishly lenient punishment of having to attend sensitivity training and having his diploma be delayed, frustrated students have united in protest, and instead of being distracted by joyful graduation rituals, they have come to utilize graduation as an opportunity to bring awareness to this serious issue.

(Photo Credit: Instagram @Juniper_Lilly)

About the author

David Kwon is a freelance writer to Issue Hawk. He's currently a graduate student majoring in social work at New York University, mainly being trained to serve the poor and the homeless.