This past week Union Board partnered with members of Residence Housing Association (RHA), Gender and Sexuality Diversity Alliance (GSDA), Shades of Pearl, Concerned Black Students (CBS), The Fuller Center, Womyn’s Center and Student Senate to create the Tunnel of Oppression. The event is meant to educate the Wittenberg community about microaggressions and the various forms they can take on.
Students were lead through numerous rooms to talk about microaggressions against people of color, mental disabilities, physical disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community, different body types, victims of sexual assault and rape and homeless people. Each room presented students with an interactive and educational method of discussing these kinds of microaggressions.
For example, when discussing microaggressions in fat shaming, hosted by the Womyn’s Center, students were asked to write a body positive message and pin it to a poster. GSDA had students stand in a circle and take a step forward outside of the circle if, when read a microaggression towards the LGBTQ+ community, they had either said something similar themselves or heard someone else use that word or phrase.
The Womyn’s Center, including members Hannah Brown, ‘19, and Alyssa Stout, ‘20, played a myth-busting game with students going through the tunnel, debunking some common myths associated with sexual assault and rape. In the end, all of the statements presented were myths, show casing the amount of misconception that exists surrounding sexual assault and rape. For example, one statement said that almost all reports of sexual assault or rape are true and that less than 2% of those reported are false reports.
Stout and Brown informed students that the media often misconstrues the number of false reports as a way to invalidate survivors. Christine Blasey Ford, for example, was thought by many to be false reporting against former Justice Robert Kavanaugh. Since the trial, Ford has had to move several times due to death threats from those who side with Kavanaugh.
“Why would anyone want to live a life like that?” Brown said.
The Tunnel of Oppression helped to debunk countless other misconceptions and popular beliefs about oppressed groups of people. Microaggressions are more common than one might think, and are powerful tools of oppression that we should all be more aware of.