Feminists accused fraternities at Northwestern University of abusing their “male privilege” and have publicly demanded an apology after they displayed signs promoting sexual assault awareness week.
In an op-ed for The Daily Northwestern, author Jessica Schwalb chastised the fraternities because their signs might “trigger” some students. The author claimed support for the campaign was “just a cruel reminder” for sexual assault survivors and that the efforts were “purely symbolic” of the problem.
The signs, which included statements such as “[Sexual assault] is everyone’s problem,” “We stand against sexual violence,” and “We support survivors,” were intended as a show of solidarity for sexual assault awareness week.
— Daily Northwestern (@thedailynu) May 2, 2016
“To display a banner [saying] that ‘We support survivors’ is really something you have to earn by actually walking the walk,” one student told The Daily Northwestern.
As a result of the reaction, the Northwestern Interfraternity Council were forced to issue an apology in which they admitted to not being “cognizant enough and not considering how it might affect others in our community.”
The council even signed up to a four year education plan to ensure they never commit such a thoughtless action again.
“It’s a matter of focusing on the kind of culture change that needs to happen for any sort of banner like that not to be ultimately hypocritical,” another student said.