Rape Culture & Mental Health at UP: A Harsh-Yet-Loving Critique of The Beacon’s Controversial Issue Last Week

With multiple rape victims and suicides coming to light recently at UP, last week’s issue of The Beacon fell short in its attempt to spark collegiate-level dialogue about rape culture, mental health, and suicide awareness; receiving much heat from the student body for their lack of effort. Clearly, there is a need to re-ignite more constructive discussions in an effort to revolutionize the culture of UP’s community and build a safe space for all Pilots on The Bluff.   

I have mad respect for Katie Dunn’s executive calls last week: as any human should have for an editor of any newspaper.

Especially at times like these.

However, despite The Beacon’s Editor-in chief, Katie Dunn, and her attempt to start dialogue about rape culture at UP in her most recent editorial piece, Stop Rape, the biggest missing pieces of The Beacon’s content still stand loud and clear as lacking more honest discussions about mental health awareness and rape culture at UP. Period.

Do not silence us.

 Enjoy this video from the Redefine Purple Pride movement that took place on The Bluff just two years back.

Twas’ a peaceful movement that worked towards legally ending discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation on our campus, once and for all. It was a success.

This video was created for you by Matt Gadbois, a member of Redefine Purple Pride

Was last week’s content in The Beacon just a little too little, a little too late?

Perhaps-Let’s take a closer look and see.

Good News Provided by The Beacon Last Week

First off- the design is gorgeous.

In my opinion, by far the best parts of The Beacon last week were the pieces found within the centerfold. ActUP presents ‘Next to Normal’ and a Q&A with ‘Boom’ director Natalie Mecham, offered a unique presentation of talented colleagues in our Arts and Drama department. In addition, other pieces stemming outwards from the centerfold were equally appetizing: Calling it: Cinderella, Heart Beat: The Mysteries of Attraction, and Seeking social justice through service and learning in the Faith & Fellowship section.  Some parts are hilarious, and others parts pull on your heartstrings.

Seriously, these pieces are the kind of pieces that make you proud to be a part of the grand Pilot puzzle. Fellow Pilots and  journalists including: Karen Garcia, David DiLoreto, Cassie Sheridan, Lydia Laythe, and Rebekah Markillie were among the few who offered us a diverse array of such beautiful and thought-provoking pieces to devour and enjoy with our eyes last week.

If only we could go back in time and switch out the centerfold with every cover for every copy of The Beacon published on campus. Then, I believe we would we begin to see and experience the best of the best student voices and work showcased on a more consistent basis.


Graffiti: “No More Rape Culture”

Rape Culture

Yet another young woman at UP was raped, leaving her scarred and damaged by a member of our community for the rest of her life. Surprised? The national and global numbers for this phenomenon are continuously escalating and equally nauseating with no signs or promise of stopping anytime soon.

When our country and culture chooses to glorify sexual control, power, and domination via Hollywood productions such as, Fifty Shades of Grey, or endless amounts of free porn online, we are collectively choosing to perpetuate rape culture and ultimately we silence our victims by doing so.

For example: Google search the term, Cougar. The #1 result is an online dating site for older women seeking younger men with mommy issues, not the animal in the wild that you might hope to find. Wow.

Green Dot, a program/movement on campus, is supposedly working to make all spaces on campus safe, or metaphorically “green” in efforts to ultimately stop rape culture on campus.

From what I can see, the green dot program has lots of stickers, and lots of t-shirts, but sounds more like some sort of game or marketing campaign. All walk. No talk.

Mental Health Head Graphic

Mental Health Head Graphic

Mental Health

In the U.S, every 30 seconds, someone chooses to commit suicide. On a global scale, we just witnessed the shock and horror of a Germanwing pilot taking down 149 lives along with his own in the Swiss Alps.Why does it feel so hard for us to be happy at times?

The only easy answer I’ve learned: Life happens and it’s OK!

Depression is a dark and seductive demon that is capable of haunting us all. When your emotions become high-strung, and you’ve lost a sense of your light and purpose in this world, it’s so easy to start drowning in depression.

If you start to drown, just remember: You are not alone.

Even more important: Always ask for help. Be shameless, be humble, stay strong, and never forget your roots. Your roots will always help you stay grounded.

Over time, I myself have learned to somewhat master that art of “acting normal.” We have all learned how to master this art in some way, shape, or form in the public sphere. It is an art that works to further divide us and separate us physically, emotionally, and spiritually from one another. It is an art that turns us against our own humanity, and yet it is a socially constructed norm.

Our society typically trends towards valuing the strong and rejecting the weak. We like to scapegoat and shame others because our culture teaches us that to express one’s own vulnerabilities is somewhat subhuman and worthy of punishment.

In our culture, if you have a problem, it’s your fault and you need to fix it. ASAP. Tick Tock, time is running out.

I highly encourage and challenge you, as a member of our community, to pick up a copy of The Beacon or look online to do some digging and formulate an opinion of your own.

God, Grant us the Serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the Courage to change the things we can, and the Wisdom to know the difference…

…So be it.

Sunday's Sunset by Maraya H. Sullivan

Sunday’s Sunset by Maraya H. Sullivan


Categories: Unfiltered

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1 reply »

  1. I found myself nodding as I read through your article. You nailed it – I am absolutely sending this to my social circles. You’ve done this very important topic justice. There are so many things you present that should be reflected on – your voice that transpired through the facts was perfect.


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