Madeline Ward and Jessica Syed
The Red Zone report was released on the 26th of February by End Rape On Campus. It outlined historic practices of hazing within Australian residential colleges, embedded in a framework of power, wealth and sexual assault. The report was the first critical and explicit look into this endemic and age-old problem, that also offered tangible and thought out solutions to it. We are grateful for the work of EROC, particularly of 2016 Wom*n’s Officer Anna Hush alongside journalist Nina Funnell for their unpaid effort in putting the report together. We also thank all survivors who came forward to share their stories.
We continued the campaign against these practices and against sexual assault on campus more broadly in O-Week primarly by holding a rally in response to the Report. We deman meaningful change from the university and college structures by asking no less than that the recommendations outlined in the Report be implemented.
It has been floated that we are alienating college students with our rhetoric in doing this. To this we say: we are open to speaking to and working with anyone so long as they are open to the critique of the institutions to which they subscribe. We work as a subsidiary of the SRC, to which we owe a lot. But we aren’t afraid to come out and tell it how it is, if the student union puts a foot wrong. Let’s get ourselves on the same page, and then talk. Also maybe don’t rip our posters down.
LifeChoices, the anti-abortion group on campus were again with a stall during orientation week. WoCo has time and time again attempted to preclude them from participating with their archaic views on reproductive health. We staged an impromptu protest outside the stall/gave out accurate informational pamphlets and were naturally accused of, among other things, silencing free speech, studying gender studies and Marxism (both useless, of course), having had abortions, and not engaging in ‘respectful discussion’. It also came into question, “who would want to pump them?”. We take this opportunity to say to LifeChoices: so long as you exist we will always be protesting your views in the most outrageous and radical way possible. We’re big fans of Marx and don’t want to discuss your foetal fetishes. And also, we’re both having huge amounts of great sex in our recreational time.
M. Ward and J. Syed