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Monologues’ provide rape education

Observer Viewpoint | Monday, February 6, 2006

Restricting academic freedom puts Notre Dame’s students at a disadvantage. Students do not choose to attend a Catholic institution in hopes of being sheltered from the secular world. Rather, these institutions are chosen in hopes of making sense of the outside world with the help of a Catholic viewpoint. By restricting and removing controversial elements from Notre Dame, the University misses an opportunity to address many of the issues important to Catholics today.

By omitting the fundraising element from “The Vagina Monologues,” the University is not simply making a statement about the forbidden acts of masturbation and homosexuality, but also about its disregard for sexual violence against women. The entire premise of the “Vagina Monologues” is to end the oppression of women’s sexuality and violence against women. Not including these materials in an academic setting sends the message to students that the excluded information is of no importance. It is highly disappointing to me that Notre Dame is sending a message of violence and intolerance to its students. As a woman in the Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s community, that not only upsets me, but also makes me afraid.

In a society where rape is often times still considered the woman’s fault, it is discouraging to have Father John Jenkins question the play’s morality. Male students at Notre Dame have sexually assaulted many female students at both Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame, and instead of giving these women back their dignity, the University is on a track that continues to take it away. By eliminating the donations that would be given to local women’s shelters, Notre Dame is adding to ignorance while simultaneously hurting the organizations that aid abused women, including some of its own students. Rape is not a women’s issue; it is society’s issue. It is the responsibility of everyone to educate and demonstrate that rape and sexual assault are wrong. One required lecture during Freshman Orientation is not enough. There is more to “The Vagina Monologues” than masturbation. Giving a voice to the abused and oppressed is a part of Catholic teaching, and it’s a shame that Notre Dame is not following this example.

Megan OsbergerjuniorLe Mans HallSaint Mary’sFeb. 4