by Sophia Surage, student staff
Sagittarius: Nov 22-Dec 21
Symbol: The Archer
Body Part: Legs and hips
Color: navy and maroon
Key Phrase: “I Perceive”
Check out this list of opportunities compiled by one of our volunteers. Areas include: Health and Human services, Human rights, and Violence Prevention/Victim Assistance. Most locations are based in/around Denver and Boulder with some locations from outside of Colorado. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of additional internships to add.
Description of each site is provided at end of this list
1. Health and Human Services
- Boulder County AIDS Project
- Boulder Public County Health
- Boulder Valley Women’s Heath
- Clinica Tepeyac
- Denver Health
- The Eating Disorder Foundation of the Rockies
- Naral Pro-choice Colorado
- Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
2. Human Rights
- Amnesty International
- The African Community Center of Denver
- Colorado Progressive Coalition
- Colorado Prison Law Project
- Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition
- Denver Justice and Peace Committee
- Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking
- United Nations-Boulder County Chapter
3. Internships Located Outside of Colorado
- Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice—New York, New York
- The Clinton Foundation
- CU In DC Internship Program
- Global Fund For Women—San Francisco and New York
- The Advocates for Human Rights
- Urgent Action Fund—San Francisco
- UN Women—New York and International *Graduate Students Only*
- U.S. Pathways Internship Program
4. Violence Prevention/Victim Assistance
- Attention Homes
- Blue Sky Bridge
- Boulder Police Department
- The Denver Center for Crime Victims
- M.E.S.A. (Moving to End Sexual Assault)
- Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence
1. Health and Human Services
Boulder County AIDS Project www.bcap.org
Address: 2118 14th Street, Boulder CO 80302
Email: Volunteer Coordinator email@example.com
Mission Statement: To provide free confidential and non-judgmental services to the men, women, and children who are HIV positive. BCAP’s objective is to ensure access to HIV care and improve the quality of life for people infected or affected by HIV.
Possible Positions: Vary depending on need and availability. Please consult website for recruiting positions.
Boulder Public County Health
Address: 3450 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302
Mission Statement: To protect, promote, and to enhance the health and well-being of all people and the environment in Boulder County.
Possible Positions: Boulder County Public Health has multiple positions from working as a research assistant or becoming a mentor for recovering substance/alcohol addicts. Check provided website for availability, contact information, and information on how to apply to desired position.
Boulder Valley Women’s Heath
Address: 2855 Valmont Road
Email: Volunteer Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Mission Statement: To provide accessible, confidential, and comprehensive gynecological and reproductive healthcare, including sexual health services and education.
Possible Positions: Possible Positions can include:
-Clinic Support: Duties include cleaning exam rooms, clerical work and assistant duties.
-Advocacy: Stay informed on development in Congress, State legislature related to Reproductive rights.
Consult the website for open internship positions.
Address: 5075 Lincoln Street, Denver CO 80216
Mission Statement: To provide culturally competent healthcare and preventative health services for the medically underserved. Seeks to overcome language and culture barriers to create and sustain a healthier community for all.
Possible Positions: Positions vary by availability and need. Some include:
-Primary healthcare providers: offer health screenings physicals, wellness exams.
-Bilingual Reach out and Read: read story books in English and Spanish to waiting children.
Please consult the website for open positions and how to apply.
Address: 777 Bannock Street, Denver CO 80207
Mission Statement: To provide access to the highest quality health care, regardless of ability to pay and to provide life-saving emergency medicine and trauma services to Denver and the Rocky Mountain region.
Possible Positions: There are more than 35 different specialty areas ranging from receptionist to assistance in the pediatric department. See open position list on the provided website.
The Eating Disorder Foundation of the Rockies
Address: 1901 E. 20th Ave, Denver, CO 80205
Mission Statement: To be an effective resource to the general public and the healthcare community in the collective effort to prevent and eliminate eating disorders.
Possible Positions: Positions vary from receptionists to speakers who educate the larger community. To learn more or volunteer, go to the provided website, and click the “sign up” tab.
Naral Pro-choice Colorado
Address: 1905 Sherman St., Suite 800, Denver CO 80203
Mission Statement: To develop and sustain a constituency that uses the political process to guarantee every woman the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive health choices, including preventing unintended pregnancies, bearing healthy children and choosing legal abortion.
Possible Positions: NARAL Colorado is continuously looking for qualified interns. Internship opportunities vary, depending on seasons—elections years, anti-choice measures, etc.—and current issues. To find out about open internship positions and job opportunities, please visit www.prochoicecolorado.org/about-us/jobs-and-internships.html
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
Address: 7155 E. 38th Ave., Denver CO 80207
Mission Statement: To empower individuals and families in the communities we serve to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health by providing high quality health services, comprehensive sex education, and strategic advocacy.
Possible Positions: Vary depending on season and availability. To find the right position for you, visit the website and register to receive updates on current and upcoming positions that best suit your interests and strengths.
2. Human Rights
Mission Statement: Amnesty International is a global movement of people fighting injustice and promoting human rights.
Possible Positions: Positions are available in a variety of areas such as Advocacy and Policy Research. To inquire about an internship, please send an email with an updated resume, cover letter, and writing sample to email@example.com. Ideal for students who want to work outside of Colorado and network in D.C., though there is an Amnesty branch in Denver.
The African Community Center of Denver
Address: 5250 Leetsdale Dr., Suite 200, Denver CO 80246
Mission Statement: To help refugees rebuild safe, sustainable lives in Denver through supportive networks of people, services and community activities.
Possible Positions: ACC has numerous positions ranging from grant writing to youth mentoring. To find a program that’s right for you, visit www.acc-den.org/get-involved/intern/.
Colorado Progressive Coalition
Contact Information: To inquire about internships, send an updated resume and areas of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mission Statement: Colorado Progressive Coalition is a statewide, member-driven organization that engages communities to advance economic and social justice since 1996. CPC is organized around five campaign areas including racial justice and civil Rights; health care; economic justice; statewide base building; and civic engagement. CPC advocates at the local, state and national levels on issues that affect people of color, low-income neighborhoods, and immigrants, the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community and young people.
Possible Positions: Internships are offered in several areas of racial justice, economic justice, and civic engagement. To learn more about possible positions please consult the website and email.
Colorado Prison Law Project
Mission Statement: The Colorado Prison Law Project seeks to protect and promote the rights of the incarcerated persons in the state of Colorado through litigation, advocacy, and law reform. We provide legal services to inmates in the city, county, state, and federal facilities located in Colorado on issues of conditions of confinement including: brutality and abuse, access to the courts, medical care. Recognizing that prisoner’s rights are human rights, we provide legal services to the grossly underserved and impoverished sector of the Colorado community.
Possible Positions: Positions are tailored to suite individual interests and strengths. To inquire, send an email to email@example.com. Detailed instructions can be found on the provided website.
Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition
Address: 255 W. Alameda Ave Suite 300, Denver, Co
Mission Statement: To improve the lives of immigrants and refugees by making Colorado a more welcoming, immigrant-friendly state. CIRC achieves this mission through non-partisan civic engagement, public education, and advocating for workable, fair, and humane immigration policies.
Possible Positions: Paid and unpaid internships are offered throughout the year. To inquire about internship opportunities, send an email with a resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Denver Justice and Peace Committee
Contact Information: To apply, send an updated resume, cover letter, and a letter of recommendation from a professor to:
Denver Peace and Justice Committee
P.O. Box 80212
Or email information to email@example.com.
Mission Statement: DJCP is a volunteer organization dedicated to promoting human rights, economic justice and lasting peace in Latin America through education, solidarity projects, and non-violent activism.
Possible Positions: Several positions located in Colorado and various Latin American counties, dependent on current issues and funding. To learn more about current open positions, please consult the website. Ideal for students interested in international studies, human rights, and Latin American culture and experience.
Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking
Mission Statement: To compel data-driven actions to end human trafficking by conducting research, training professionals and first responders, and educating the public. Our Vision: To create an informed social change movement to end human trafficking.
Possible Positions: Internships are individualized. To inquire about an internship, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
United Nations-Boulder County Chapter
Contact Information: Submit a current resume, cover letter, unofficial transcript and writing sample to email@example.com.
Mission Statement: The UNA-USA is dedicated to educating, inspiring and mobilizing Americans to support the principles and vital work of the United Nations, strengthening the United Nations system, promoting constructive United States leadership in the system, and achieving the goals of the UN Charter. The Boulder County Chapter aims to make local participation in UNA activities and the active UN family a significant part of Boulder County’s rich culture.
Possible Positions: Positions vary depending on current issues. Typical intern duties include:
Work with chapter board members to complete projects as needed
Manage social media presence (Facebook, website)
Provide photography for UNA events
Support UNA membership and outreach to CU students and faculty and to the Boulder County community
Attend chapter board meetings
3. Internships Located Outside of Colorado
Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice—New York, New York
Mission Statement: The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe. We support hundreds of brilliant and brave grantee partners in the U.S. and internationally who challenge oppression and seed change. We work for racial, economic, social, and gender justice, because we all deserve to live our lives freely, without fear, and with dignity.
In pursuing our mission, we raise and disburse funds to programs and initiatives that directly benefit or serve our diverse constituencies; expand the community of individuals and institutions that support lesbian and trans issues; promote community-building, capacity building, and movement-building; and educate individuals about money, philanthropic giving, and the role of grant making in achieving common goals.
Our mission is based is on an enduring commitment to feminism, progressive social change and an end to all forms of exploitation and discrimination. We support programs and policies that strive to eliminate oppression based on race, age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic exploitation, physical and mental ability, anti-Semitism, and other such factors. Only through action will we build a world of peace and justice for lesbians, and for society as a whole.
Possible Positions: Positions are individualized. To inquire or apply for an internship contact Mai Kiang at firstname.lastname@example.org, or consult the website for open positions and requirements.
The Clinton Foundation
Email: For questions regarding the internship program, please send an email to email@example.com
Mission Statement: Building on a lifetime of public service, President Clinton established the William J. Clinton Foundation to bring people together to take on the biggest challenges of the 21st century. Throughout the Foundation’s history and growth, Secretary Clinton and Chelsea offered their voice, vision, and counsel. To recognize their past contributions and acknowledge their role in shaping the Foundation’s future, the Foundation was renamed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation (Clinton Foundation).
To accomplish its goals, the Clinton Foundation has established separate initiatives, each with a distinct mission but all reflecting the Clintons’ vision: to implement sustainable programs that improve access worldwide to investment, opportunity, and lifesaving services now and for future generations. Working in diverse geographic regions and responding to local needs, the initiatives address targeted challenges in the Foundation’s key areas of focus: economic inequality, climate change, global health, and health and wellness.
Possible Positions: There are several strategy areas available including a strategy called “Girls and Women” that focus on oppressions women face globally, such as inadequate healthcare and sexual violence in marriage. Some positions are located internationally or at one of the two domestic offices in New York or Little Rock, Arkansas. To learn more about the CGI internships or apply please visit http://www.clintonfoundation.org/main/about/intern/internships-available.html.
CU In DC Internship Program
Mission Statement: CU in D.C. is a program for students who want to put classroom learning into real world action. The program is a semester-long experience that combines a professional internship with CU coursework in Washington D.C. Internships in Washington D.C. offer students an opportunity to build bridges between knowledge gained in the academic environment of CU, and practical experience gained in the exciting, fast-paced world of the nation’s capital.
CU in D.C. is a new initiative of the CU Boulder campus. Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, CU in D.C. is a for-credit internship program open to undergraduate students in majors across the entire campus, as well as to undergraduate students on the CU Denver and CU Colorado Springs campuses. Internships are offered in fall, spring, and summer.
The CU in D.C. internship program is part of a broader initiative by the university to develop a more visible presence in Washington D.C., where students, alumni, policymakers, and others participate in the dynamic processes of our nation’s capital. In addition to working in political, governmental, business, or nonprofit organizations, students participate in an internship class, conduct original research, and often take additional classes.
If you are ready for a challenge and a transformational experience, CU in D.C. may be for you!
Possible Positions: Positions vary and are offered in non-profit organizations and governmental agencies. To research the application process and potential internship sites visit http://cuindc.colorado.edu/the-internship-experience/.
Global Fund For Women—San Francisco and New York
Mission Statement: We advance the rights of women and girls worldwide by increasing the resources for and investing in women-led organizations and women’s collective leadership for change.
Possible Positions: The internship program is designed to give undergraduate and graduate students experience with grant making for global women’s rights. Opportunities available will be posted on the website at http://www.globalfundforwomen.org/who-we-are/internships, as well as instructions for applying. Ideal for students with grant writing experience and are interested in the advancements of women’s rights world-wide.
The Advocates for Human Rights
Mission Statement: The mission of The Advocates for Human Rights is to implement international human rights standards in order to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law. By involving volunteers in research, education, and advocacy, we build broad constituencies in the United States and select global communities.
The success of The Advocates for Human Rights is based upon:
A commitment to work impartially and independently to promote and protect international human rights;
Innovative and flexible programs that include investigation, representation, training and education, to offer concrete opportunities to promote international human rights;
Dedicated volunteers who devote their skills and energy to projects that support human rights;
Cooperative relationships with the United Nations as well as other non-governmental organizations working to protect human rights;
Strategic alliances with local, national and international agencies whose work complements and supports our mission;
Partnership building with local groups to build relationships in order to educate the community about and protect human rights;
A generous and receptive community that is the basis of the organization’s volunteer and financial support;
Talented and committed employees, board members and interns who represent the organization with clients, colleagues, donors and the public.
Possible Positions: The Advocates for Human Rights have multiple positions for all human rights violations, including a program for monitoring Women’s human rights and human rights violations in the United States. Internships can be both domestic and international. For a complete list of focus areas and open intern positions please visit http://www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org/Internships_and_Fellowships.html.
Urgent Action Fund—San Francisco
Mission Statement: Urgent Action Fund, as part of women’s rights movements worldwide, supports women’s rights defenders striving to create cultures of justice, equality and peace. We provide Rapid Response Grants that enable strategic interventions, and participate in collaborative advocacy and research. We are led by activists, rooted in feminism, and strengthened through solidarity.
Possible Positions: Positions vary based on vacancies and availability. Visit http://urgentactionfund.org/get-involved/employment-internships/ for updates on upcoming vacancies for internships.
UN Women—New York and International *Graduate Students Only*
405 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017 United States
Fax: +1 646 781-4444
Mission Statement: In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In doing so, UN Member States took an historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women. The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system, which focused exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment:
Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW)
International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW)
Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI)
The main roles of UN Women are:
To support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms.
To help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, and to forge effective partnerships with civil society.
To hold the UN system accountable for its own commitments on gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progress.
Possible Positions: The internship and career programs are currently being re-vamped. Check back with the website when this process is over.
U.S. Pathways Internship Program
Mission Statement: The Pathways Program offers paid and unpaid internships for undergrads, graduate students, and recent graduates. Additionally, this program offers fellowships. The website also provides a list of federal occupations that are compatible with college majors. Internships and careers can be located internationally or domestically.
Possible Positions: Positions are dependent on availability, student ability and education level, as well as current needs. These positions have included; law interns for political lobbies, engineering assistants, and field medical assistants, to name a few. Please visit https://www.usajobs.gov/JobSearch/Search/GetResults?Internship=Yes to find a compatible position.
4. Violence Prevention/Victim Assistance
Program Director/Volunteer Coordinator (Attention Homes): Tom Mazione
Location: 3080 N. Broadway Suite C, Boulder, CO 80304
Phone: 303-447-1206 Ext. 28 or Ext. 26
Fax: 303-447-0623 (fax)
Program Director/Volunteer Coordinator (Chase House): Amy Pierce
Mission: Attention Homes provides opportunities for at-risk youth to change their lives. We offer shelter, community-based living and teaching of life skills necessary for an independent future.
Positions Available: Attention Homes helps teens in crisis develop into healthy members of our community by providing residential treatment, counseling, safe shelter to at-risk youth. Attention Homes currently serves four types of clientele: 1. Families with children in crisis, 2. Homeless, runaway youth, 3. Abused and neglected youth, and 4. Troubled & delinquent youth. In an average year, Attention Homes addresses the basic and emergency needs (food, housing, and health care) for an average of 100 unduplicated youth ages 12 to 18 with over 3,400 days of care.
* Research in a variety of areas (program research, client research, substance abuse, etc)
* Fund-raising, grant writing, etc.
* Counseling (bachelors level milieu therapy and master’s level clinical work)
* Service projects
* Independent Studies
Applications: please contact volunteer coordinator.
Blue Sky Bridge
Volunteer Coordinator: Alyson Gaioni
Location: P.O. Box 19122 Boulder, CO 80308
Mission Statement: At Blue Sky Bridge, we facilitate a collaborative approach to child abuse investigations while providing child victims and their families with support in a safe and child-focused environment. We strive to make the community safer for all children and families through intervention, education and advocacy.
Positions Available: Blue Sky Bridge is a child and family advocacy program. It facilitates a collaborative approach to child abuse investigations, while providing child victims and their families with support in a safe, compassionate environment.
Client Services: interns interface with clients. Duties can range from attending to the children who visit the center to being behind the scenes of the multi-disciplinary approach to child sexual abuse investigations.
Applications: please contact volunteer coordinator.
Boulder Police Department
Volunteer Coordinator(s): Susan Townley (Victim’s Services Coordinator) or Diane Herzberg (Volunteer Coordinator)
Location: 1805 33rd Street Boulder, CO 80301
Phone: 303-441-4048 (Susan) or 303-441-3334 (Diane)
Email: Susan: ￼Townleys@bouldercolorado.gov
Victim’s Advocate Internship: Begins in late March. Requires at least a one-year commitment. Please contact Susan Townley for information and/or applications.
Police Officer Internship: The intern will be expected to work 10-12 hours per week for 16 weeks. The timing of the 16-week schedule will generally correspond to the semester. In the spring, it will begin the fourth week of January, and in the fall, it will begin the last week of August.
It is expected if the Citizen’s Academy is offered, and it works with the interns’ schedule, they will participate in that. That time will count towards the 10 to 12 hour requirement.
The interns will spend approximately:
One week in dispatch, one week in RIS, one week in Property & Evidence, three weeks in Watch I (includes a week with the SROs), one week in traffic, three weeks in Watch II, three weeks in Watch III, and three weeks in Detectives.
The intern will also be involved in in-service activities, problem solving projects, follow-up requests and other events deemed appropriate. In addition, he/she will be allowed to participate in special training days, such as AIT and SWAT.
Applications: Please contact Diane Herzberg for more information, application packets are available online.
The Denver Center for Crime Victims
Volunteer Coordinator: Kathi Fanning
Location: P.O. Box 1897 Denver, CO 80218
Phone: 303-860-0660 or 303-860-9555 (TTY)
Mission Statement: The Denver Center for Crime Victims (DCCV) is a nonprofit agency that provides culturally and linguistically responsive services to victims of crime and crime prevention education. DCCV serves all victims of crime regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or national origin. All services are offered at no cost in over 41 languages and dialects.
Since 1987, The Denver Center for Crime Victims has been the beacon of hope for crime victims in our community. In our 25 year history, DCCV’s counselors have served over 165,000 victims of crime. Your contributions allow us to provide the support crime victims need to heal from their trauma. Donations can be designated to any of our programs, our emergency fund, endowment or for general operating support.
DCCV is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization and all contributions are tax-deductible. Please consider making a one-time or sustaining gift now or visit our Wish List or Volunteer pages for other ways you can contribute.
Victims Assistance Internship – Learn to provide case management, crisis intervention and emotional support via a 24-hour Hotline for crime victims; assist Program Specialists in providing assistance for victims who are elderly or who have a disability, for children who are victims of crime and their families, and for victims requiring specialized long-term assistance. Visit and observe other victim assistance programs; police ride-along with the Denver Police Department; network with other service providers; and community outreach. Qualifications: interest in and desire to acquire skills in crisis intervention theories and practice; some knowledge of victimology/PTSD and client-centered therapy helpful; excellent active listening skills needed as well as an empathetic non-judgmental perspective on crime victimization; ability to work well with a wide range of populations; good problem-solving skills an asset as well as a sense of humor!
Applications: contact volunteer coordinator for application and training schedule.
M.E.S.A. (Moving to End Sexual Assault)
Volunteer Coordinator: Dr. Marti Hopper
Location: 2885 East Aurora Avenue, Suite 10 Boulder, CO 80303
Phone: 303-443-0400 ext 103
Mission Statement: MESA’s mission is to end the suffering in our community caused by sexual assault. We believe every person has the right to live free of sexual assault. Through our client services we are here to help sexual assault survivors and their loved ones today. Through our prevention education programs we are working toward changing tomorrow to ensure a world free of sexual assault.
Positions Available: (see website for more thorough job descriptions)
Development Work: Assisting with fundraising events, marketing, and donor database input.
Client Services: Help with data input following calls to the rape crisis hotline; provide general assistance to the Client Services staff; become a Hotline Counselor (staff the 24-hour rape crisis/information line). Latter requires a longer time commitment.
Prevention Education: Complete presentation data input to an Access database; score classroom evaluations; help staff prepare marketing and training materials; become a volunteer educator for Men Standing Up or be an adult mentor for Peers Building Justice, a high school peer education program (latter two require a longer time commitment.)
Office Assistants: needed for various administrative services and help in the office.
Applications: please contact volunteer coordinator for application and training schedule.
Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence
Volunteer Coordinator: Nancy Chavez-Porter
Location: 835 North Street Boulder, CO 80304
Phone: 303-415-3749 (303-449-8623)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Mission Statement: SPAN is a human rights organization committed to ending violence against adults, youth and children through support, advocacy, education and community organizing. SPAN began providing services in 1979 and is crucial to the network of support that offers critical “safety net” services to vulnerable, low-income and at-risk populations. It is the only organization serving Boulder, western Broomfield, smaller towns and unincorporated Boulder County designed to provide shelter and advocacy for victims of interpersonal violence at a time when our community is experiencing higher domestic violence rates than national and state averages.
Positions Available: (see their website for job descriptions and training schedule)
Shelter Support Volunteers
Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) Advocate (most of the advocacy is done by phone, SPAN provides cell and pager)
Court Advocate (Boulder and Broomfield Court House Buildings)
Children’s Volunteer (teaching and playing with adorable kids!)
Administrative Volunteer (helps with events, fairs and festivals)
Applications: available on their website and contact volunteer coordinator for additional information.
-by Gabrielle Friesen, student staff
Over the course of high school I had to read Romeo and Juliet three times. We watched two different movies, and from elementary school to freshman year of college, I interacted with at least ten of Shakespeare’s works during school. The Tempest once, Hamlet twice, Othello twice, as a book and a film. My general opinion on this trend falls basically between, fuck Shakespeare, or fuck the school system that decides what we should be taught.
I know, I know: Shakespeare is one of the greats, pivotal for modern literature, he made Great Art, etc. etc. etc. And this is not to knock people who like Shakespeare, love him with your entire heart if you want. I just personally have never gotten over the hurt of high school, part of which stemmed from what we read or didn’t read in class.
Conversations with Loriliai Biernacki – The Power of Restraint: Hinduism & Masculinity, America & Rape Culture
by Julia Woods, student staff
Sexual assaults are a hot topic on the CU Boulder campus, lately.
Outside of social-justice-minded circles, you don’t really hear much discussion about rape culture. But even if the words aren’t explicitly stated—even if it’s easy to turn a blind eye—we can’t deny that as a society, many of our dominant U.S. values support the domination of other people—and in doing so, we normalize sexual assault.
Rape culture is so alive and well that we do not expend any time or energy on the rapists themselves—after all, boys will be boys. Women make up the vast majority of sexual assault victims and only a tiny fraction of the perpetrators—and yet for some reason, we see fit to funnel our disdainful warnings upon women, and not the men who actually commit sexual assaults. As women, the message we get is always the same—“Rape is an inevitable danger, so don’t put yourself at risk. No one is going to protect you but you—don’t dress ‘provocatively,’ don’t walk by yourself late at night, stay sober, keep pepper spray in your purse, and invest in a self-defense class.” Rarely do we ever hear, “Men, do not rape women. It is your responsibility to prevent yourself from sexually assaulting other people. If you rape someone, these are the legal and social consequences that will befall you.” Because, if we’re being honest, there aren’t too many legal or social consequences… we just accept rape as an awful thing that men do to women from time to time.
As a woman-identified student, this is extremely frustrating. Why is it that rape is so engrained in the booze and bass of college party life—and in life in the US, as a whole? I feel like I’m trapped in twisted time-warp universe, where our attitudes about sex and gender fail to discourage sexual violence—instead they endorse it. It’s 2013—why does our culture still insist on operating under that formula that man equals dominator, woman equals dominated? And what if we changed this paradigm—how would that affect rape culture?