EDITORIAL: Turning campus purple shows support
VPVA’s week-long campaign portrays U. in solidarity with students
If you have taken a look around campus this week, you should notice something a little different — the campus is turning purple. Dining halls, buses and even Rutgers staff have been adorned in purple. But this is not just a coincidence. This outpour of purple is the direct result of the Rutgers Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance (VPVA) beginning their week-long campaign, known as “Turn the Campus Purple." It was created to raise awareness on campus about dating and domestic violence. This coincides with October being National Violence Awareness Month. As part of this concentrated celebration, VPVA and Rutgers have planned events, including the “It’s On Us” rally where former Vice President Joe Biden will be speaking to Rutgers students. Having the former vice president come to campus and speak about sexual violence and abuse is a testament to how devoted the University is to this week.
By participating so heavily in this month and even dedicating this week to the awareness of domestic and dating violence, the University is sending a message stating that Rutgers stands in solidarity against violence and abuse.
The University has furthered, and plans to continue to further this supportive message through events throughout this week such as a SCREAM Theatre performance, a candlelight vigil, a gathering of students writing on Livingston Courtyard with chalk and a lecture by Francesca Ramsey.
But this is not the only way Rutgers has been known to shown its solidarity in standing against violence and abuse. Every Rutgers student can attest to the fact that the University has made it a requirement for incoming first-year students to participate in a program on sexual assault. During orientation, this is usually done through SCREAM Theater performances, which depict difficult but realistic scenarios that some students could find themselves in throughout the course of their college careers. Students learn about what to do in situations as a bystander and a victim, in hopes that if dangerous situations ever arise, they will know what to possibly do.
Aside from this, VPVA held their annual “Clothesline Project" last month, where students decorated t-shirts with their experiences as victims or bystanders to violence and abuse.
With the current political climate and the stigma that surrounds sexual assault and violence on campus, it is easy for a university to fall back on sexual violence and abuse issues, particularly considering that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is rescinding certain policies under Title IX. Having the federal government allow universities to step back on policies regarding sexual assault and violence can certainly sway you into doing so. But Rutgers is standing above this and every other outside force pressuring them to not take this as seriously.
“Turn the Campus Purple” is more than just a campaign. It is a stand of support and comfort. By having the entirety of our campus painted purple it is not only telling victims that they are not alone, but it also tells abusers and those who have committed sexual assault that this is not a place that will tolerate their crimes. This is also a message to the rest of the nation that Rutgers will never shy away from creating an atmosphere for its students that is supportive in matters that deeply affect them.
It does not take much to put on a purple t-shirt or accessory and take part in one of the events Rutgers is offering. Even if you have not personally been affected by violence or abuse, this week is the opportunity to help stand up for someone who has.