Last semester, five female Temple University students put up posters, banners and stickers across campus, asking, “Why don’t men have time to talk about sexual assault?”
The women said they reached that conclusion after contacting about 20 fraternity officers and sports teams, asking to schedule a meeting to discuss sexual violence, the student newspaper reported. Few responded, and no one had time to meet, they claimed.
So the five students, who were in a self-guided community art class together, created the project under the name “Take the Time.” The campus paper reported that their spokeswoman asked not to be named, citing her own alleged sexual assault.
Take the Time has a group email account, and despite claiming they wanting to “start these conversations,” they declined Heat Street’s request for comment, saying they “cannot take interviews at this time.” They added that they may take interviews or meetings at some point in the future.
We rephrased Take the Time’s question slightly, asking Temple administrators whether or not fraternities on campus discussed sexual assault.
Chris Carey, Temple’s director of student activities, said, “Sexual misconduct has been on the forefront of [discussions within] our fraternity and sorority community for several years.”
Specifically, he said, members of fraternities and sororities receive specific training by Student Activities about “consent, bystander intervention, combatting sexual assault and misconduct.”
Several fraternities have done “It’s On Us” video campaigns about preventing sexual violence, while the Interfraternity Council hosts Women Organized Against Rape each semester. Moreover, fraternities and athletes are “largely represented” in the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes march, a men’s march that draws attention to sexual violence.
“I would not be able to speak to the specifics about this group without knowing who was contacted and what the responses were,” Carey said of Take the Time’s claim that their requests for a meeting went unanswered. “Many of our fraternity leaders are highly invested in this cause, so I can make a very safe assumption that the response was not tied to a lack of support for the issue.”
Take the Time recently told The Tab that they had decided on “targeting” men with their campaign because they were “groups with the stereotype of being perpetrators.”
According to The Temple News, that focus became a source of controversy on campus.
“The group member said most of the reactions she has received have been positive and encouraging, but some other students felt offended because the sign seemed to target men,” the article said. “The group member says she agrees the language can be problematic, especially for men who are victims of sexual assault.”
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.