Suppose Susan B. Anthony was in a position to call shots at Georgetown, what would she do? I find it doubtful that she would ever passively let a known perpetrator of sexual assault set foot on our precious campus. It’s a shame Suzie isn’t around, because this is the kind of gender injustice that has persisted at this school for too long.

Last year, the fledgling group AFIRMS (Advocates for Improved Response Methods to Sexual Assault) challenged the Georgetown administration to designate all cases of blatant sexual abuse/assault as felonies deserving of harsh legal punishment. I don’t know about you, but this certainly does not strike me as a radical notion. In fact as a recent transfer to Georgetown University, this is an issue that I would have never even pondered. At the heart of this school’s messy system, however, lies the same old story of young women’s tragedies being shoved under the carpet – female victims who must perpetually suffer physically and mentally for the crimes of their fellow male students.

AFIRMS put forth a resolution in the second semester of last year that urged modification of the school’s code toward sexual misconduct. Currently, “nonconsensual penetration” is considered a class B offense. Class B, to those who may not know, is basically a slap on the wrist. To translate the student code of conduct out of jargon and into truth: Students who are guilty of sexual assault at Georgetown are punished by getting some sort of housing probation or academic suspension. If I recall correctly, my public high school suspended kids for talking back to teachers! We are paying good money to be here and rapists are openly permitted to wander around Red Square and Copley Lawn. And need I delve into the current disclosure policies? Lucky for us female students, not only are these rapists able to walk around, their identities are protected by our administration.

This is just some of the outrageous background to what had exacerbated this debate on campus last school year. It seemed through the campus media coverage last year that there was significant progress in the dialogue between AFIRMS and the administration. Many times administration members would refuse to comment on what was going on and people were left in the dark. Regardless of what substantial changes will be made to Georgetown’s discipline policies (if any at all), this surfacing of institutional misogyny must be taken with a grain of salt. This whole issue is simply a painful calling to the necessary advancement of women’s activism at Georgetown.

It’s a new year and it’s time to set some goals. It is time that this school is held to the standard that it claims to set for itself: to espouse equality, justice and tolerance. But at the same time students and community members must be persistent in assuring that the changes that are proposed and accepted are enforced – and not left to fizzle away with time. Women contribute just as much to the Georgetown mosaic as men (if not more). Therefore, as a potentially powerful group on campus, we should never succumb or blindly tolerate such policies of blatant sexism. Even if any of us females fall into the apathetic mentality that this bureaucratic mess does not affect us in our daily pursuit of an education – we must remind ourselves, it can happen to anyone. When it happens to you, it will immediately be your problem. In addition to the trauma itself, you will have to walk around with the knowledge that people calling shots at Georgetown are actively working to silence and hide your pain.

Sonia Mukhi is a sophomore in the College. A YOUNG WOMAN’S PEN appears every other Friday.

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