2. You get woke
3. You can walk around more knowledgable about the world than most people probs!
4. SCCAP love <3
5. You can surround yourself with people that are inspiring and passionate with their way of service and activism. You learn so much more about the prejudices that you hold within yourself and how you can make impact everyday. You learn to look at both sides of situations and push yourself to identify with people whose stories you've never heard before. SCCAP is that place for you to learn the little extra bit you've been looking for when class just isn't enough.
- Harshi Mogallapalli
Trigger Warning: This blog post talks about the themes of sexual assault and victim-blaming.
In the US, one in five women and one in sixteen men will be sexually assaulted while in college (National Sexual Violence Resource Center).
CAPS Crisis Center Hotline: (408) 554-4501
Before I moved away for my first year of college, my parents sat me down at the dinner table one night to have a talk with me. The realities about on-campus sexual assault had become clearer over the past decade or so, and so my well-intentioned parents wanted to have a no-bullshit talk with their daughter about her safety. They went over binge-drinking, the buddy system, emergency contact numbers, and towards the end my dad casually added, “Oh, and be conscious about what you wear when you go out to parties.” A loving comment, supporting victim-blaming culture, rooted in true concern about his daughter’s well-being. It was a no-nonsense piece of advice, no beating around the bush about the issue. If you wear sexually appealing clothing, something that shows a bit more skin for the guys, of course you should expect to get more attention.
Clothing can be a powerful and empowering source of self-confidence. An outfit is an outlet for your personality, a way to express your identity. It can shape the way that others see you. So yes, sometimes when I’m feeling confident, I wear an outfit that I know will get me some compliments and a bit of attention at a party; a low-cut top, a tight dress, something that shows some midriff. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t care about people’s reactions to my outfit, because in this situation, that’s part of the point of wearing it. But more importantly, I’m out to dance, have fun with my friends, drink, and hopefully avoid a hangover the next morning. I’m not asking to get raped.
But unfortunately, when victims of rape report their rape to their college or the police, one of the questions they’re often asked is, “What were you wearing that night?” And many victims are stunned by the question, thinking to themselves, “What do my clothes have to do with the horrible thing that happened to me?”
The implication behind this question is that what a victim was wearing during their assault can legitimize or delegitimize their rape. If a girl wears a short, tight skirt while she went out drinking, maybe she was “asking for it”, especially if she was flirting with the guys at the bar. She was certainly looking for sexual attention, so she shouldn’t have been surprised or alarmed if one of the guys gave it to her. With the way she was dressed, getting attention was inevitable.
I don’t think people in our society believe that they’re engaging in victim-blaming when they make these comments. To them, they’re just speaking truth. When men are aroused, and clearly the girl in the above scenario was trying to arouse them on purpose, their judgement gets foggy and they can lose control. They start thinking with their pants and not with their brains. And that’s when sexual assault can happen.
This assumption is not only dangerous, it’s blatantly insulting men. Saying that men lose the ability to control themselves is saying that they revert to animals the second they see something that arouses them. A woman’s leg, or the back of her thigh, or an off-the-shoulder top can undo thousands of years of evolution? It can devolve men to the point of being unable to make rational decisions? They simply become beings of instinct without any control over themselves? This assumption strips men of complexity, of moral compass, of intelligence, of their ability to make choices. One of the most fundamental, universal assumptions in our society is that humans have the ability to make choices. It separates us from being nothing more than hairless apes. It’s the foundation for our government, for our economy, for our structure of society. We are autonomous beings, with a degree of complexity, intelligence, and self-awareness unlike any other species known to humankind. But the second a man sees too much skin, he loses that autonomy and becomes a slave to his sexual impulses, because he is nothing more than a meathead. That is ridiculous. That is insulting. That is directly contradictory to the basic foundations of our society. That is exactly what we are saying to all young men, not just rapists, when we blame sexual assault on someone’s skirt.
When a victim is told that if they had worn less revealing clothes that night they wouldn’t have been raped, it’s not just damaging emotionally and psychologically, but it shifts the blame for their attack away from their attacker and onto their tight jeans or their crop-tops. It misses the bottom line- that no matter what you are or aren’t wearing, no one has the right to have sex with you without your consent. Whether or not you were looking for sexual attention, no one has the right to have sex with you without your consent. If you were flirtatious or not, no one has the right to have sex with you without your consent. You could skip through the streets, completely naked, and no one would have the right to have sex with you without your consent. You could dance around completely nude in someone’s bedroom, and they would not have the right to have sex with you without your consent. With or without clothes, in a nun’s habit or in your underwear, sex without consent is sexual assault. And clothing cannot give consent.
Slut Walk is a transnational movement against sexual assault, victim blaming, and rape culture. Our bottom line- it is NEVER the survivor's fault, and blaming rape on the survivor's clothing is NEVER OKAY. We march for all survivors. Show your support for Slut Walk by attending this Friday, April 28th from 12-4 between the Learning Commons and Benson Memorial Center. The march starts at 2:30.
- Sarah Locklin
Feminists For Justice (FFJ) PC
Many tensions have been felt within the SCU campus over the course of the quarter. From the Presidential election, which evoked strong emotions from students left and right, to the vexing incidents in Casa targeting the LGBT+ and Jewish communities on campus, to the controversial events prompting student involvement and backlash, it seems that there is a growing disjunction between students. And while this partition will require a great deal of time and effort from all students to be repaired, it is important in the meantime to recognize the valuable work that has been implemented by those who promote positive discourse and a concomitant push towards unity within our campus.
The Empowerment Program Coordinators are prime examples of student leaders who have proven time and time again to show compassion and care for each other and for others, and who are in turn doing some of the work that is necessary to preserve and reinforce the type of community the SCU campus is supposed to be.
This quarter, SCU's Rainbow Prom, organized by Adrian Chavez (Program Coordinator for Q+A), was a remarkable event. With over 500 individual attendees, the event was created in an effort to support the LGBT+ community, stand in solidarity with the victims of the Pulse shooting, and invite all students and friends on campus to join in. The Labor Action Committee and BLEJIT (Coordinated by Ciaran Freeman and Marisa Rudolph, respectively) continued work this quarter to promote a greater sense of student involvement on campus and with administration, encouraging a more sustainable and transparent SCU, and hosted events like Gallery in the Garden, featuring well-loved student performers, good food, and mingling with people one wouldn't normally get to know. Feminists for Justice (PC: Sarah Locklin) invited students to a film screening of "She's Beautiful When She's Angry", and co-hosted meetings to facilitate discussion on often-avoided topics. Kimy Grandi, our Program Coordinator for Worker's Connection, engaged off-campus with her program to collaborate with other communities and works to provide support via a symbiosis of information exchange and critical dialogue regarding worker's rights.
While the near and far future may seem bleak to many students (and duly so), it is people like the PCs I work with who not only empower each other and many others during times of chaos, but who bring light and love to this world and who give myself and the people they touch the courage and inspiration to do better, to be more, and to work a little bit harder every day.
- Massiel Rivera
At Downtown College Preparatory (DCP), college is not always the norm for students. Most students are first-generation, meaning their parents did not attend college. Many of them do not know a whole lot about college and the opportunities thats comes with pursuing a higher education.
Tutoring at DCP has reminded me to never take my education for granted. Often times, many college students forget how much of a privilege college is. We forget that being able to choose your own major, to live away from home in a dorm, to go to school with people from across the country is a big deal! Whenever I volunteer at DCP, the students constantly ask questions. They want to know everything from about what it's like to choose your own classes to what the food in the cafeteria is like.
One thing I have learned from working with students at DCP is not to assume that everyone is planning on attending college. You can tell that the students at DCP have such a passion for learning, but they often lack the resources to go to college or are simply uniformed of the many ways that going to college can broaden your horizons. Whether you volunteer for DCP or not, make it a point in your life to help someone that might not know what college is all about. Make it a point to reflect at some time throughout the day on why you are going to college and never take for granted the fact that you have the opportunity to further your education which will always be the gift that keeps on giving!
- Adrianna Oliver
Karina is a janitor from El Salvador who works a partial job at SCU. She is an ambitious woman, who is taking the ESL classes because she wants to achieve a higher position at work. Her charisma has charmed everyone in the class and her inspiring story reminds us that it is never too late to pursue a dream.
Karina and her tutor Katie, have become a dynamic duo through ESL. They are more than just partners for the English classes; they have built a long lasting friendship. During our group sessions, both are constantly chatting and laughing, almost in a teasing way, as if they were partners in crime. It is gratifying to see how ESL has brought these two amazing people so closely together.
What is more, last week Karina suggested that we should all go eat Pupusas. Pupusas are similar to wheat tortillas, only thicker and filled with beans, meat, or cheese, typical from El Salvador. Her idea inspired me to make an "Appreciation Event" next Friday. At 4pm volunteers and workers will meet up in "El Águila" to get some real Salvadorian Pupusas. This will be a great opportunity for Karina to share a bit of her culture with us. We are all excited to hear more about her life growing up in such a beautiful country, and to be able to share this delicious dish with her.
- Melanie Vezjak
ESL on Campus PC
How can our community come together in times of deep political division? How can we promote dialogue, respect and social justice? It is my firm belief that we do it by coming together and sharing what we are passionate about. We must collaborate to create spaces for solidarity. SCCAP, the SCU Student Art League, and the Forge garden came together to put on an amazing event, Gallery in the Garden, empowering students to showcase their art, celebrate environmental justice and perform music and slam poetry. Eating home grown salad, singing along and looking at sculpture, over 100 students were able to come together in a laid back atmosphere, mingling with students, faculty and staff from all different areas of campus.
The Empowerment Department within SCCAP is launching a new movement, Be More: the campaign to make Santa Clara University more responsible, more sustainable and more transparent. Inspired by the Ignatian philosophy of the Magis, we as a community must hold our institution accountable to its mission and Jesuit identity. We have to encourage the University to be better, to be more. Understanding that the fight for social justice is an uphill battle we know that the only way we can continue on is through community. Martin Luther King wrote, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” movements like ours work to ensure proverbs like these come true. As an institution we must orient ourselves against the grain of the current day and towards justice. We must stand up for the rights of the marginalized. We must be leaders in environmental justice, and not fall complacent in our moral minimums. We must look closely at our university finances and ensure that fall in line with our values. As a community of people who care deeply about the world in which we live, we must challenge our institution to be more responsible, more sustainable and more transparent.
- Ciaran Freeman
LEAD 10: College Going Communities and Challenges, is a class I’ve been taking during this winter quarter. Among the many discussions that have began as a result of the systematic inequalities ingrained in the U.S educational system; mainly the correlation for wealthy communities to receive more resources than they need, and for lower income communities to receive the exact opposite; I’m enthralled by the notion that people still beat the system, people make it out of those low income communities and make something more of themselves and their communities! These outliers, people who have come from the low end of the socioeconomic ladder, are thriving at Santa Clara University, thriving at other colleges; in essence, beating the odds and thriving in places where they statistically and demographically were not meant to be.
From these outliers, we encounter an unquenchable thirst for success, driven by a potent factor: passion. They were able to carry themselves in ways other low income students could not, many times by opportunities, but many times by their sole desire. As mentors and role models, let’s work to ignite this passion when working with low income communities. Why? Because they are not dependant on someone coming to “help them out,” to carry them out of disparity. If as mentors, however, we can aid in their willing process of having an internal locus of control, whereby they perceive their actions as having a monumental impact on the outcomes, I firmly believe more people will make it out. By placing the student in a position of power, where their decisions matter, the passion is ignited!
- Omar Herrera Luna
PC of Sunol
I was introduced to SCCAP by a friend and I was intrigued by SCCAP’s mission of service and social justice. So this year, I became a part of SCCAP’s support staff team. Being a part of the support staff team, I don’t run a program so a lot of things that support staff team do are behind-the-scenes. However, I do intend to attend as many programs as possible to learn more about each individual programs. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend Senior Connection and I had a great time with the program coordinator and another volunteer as we danced and played games with seniors at Live Oak Adult Day Care.
Over the past weekend, our entire SCCAP staff went on a retreat and we went to the Women’s March in San Francisco. Despite being drenched in down pouring rain, I think the rally and march was very empowering as thousands of women and men came together to march for human rights and social justice issues. The Women’s March gave us hope that we can make a difference and fight for our rights and future.
"My experiences at Senior Connection have been one of my highlights since coming to Santa Clara University. I have developed great relationships with the wonderful seniors and staff at Live Oak Adult Day Care. Senior Connection has given me a better understanding of how to communicate and care for the elderly in our community who are commonly out of contact with or disregarded by young adults of our generation. Despite challenging physical, mental, and/or verbal abilities many of the seniors still engage in fun activities, like dancing and various games that continuously bring me joy. I highly recommend anyone who is able to help at Live Oak Adult Day Care to do so!"
- Daniel Rogers
Senior Connection Volunteer
As the first quarter of my senior year comes to a close, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on the journeys that brought me from the person I was at this time in my first year at SCU to the person I am now in my fourth year. One of the most powerful transformative forces I’ve experienced has been SCCAP. From being a volunteer as a first-year, to a Program Coordinator as a sophomore, to a Department Coordinator as a junior, and now Director as a senior, SCCAP has been one of the most central parts of my entire college experience.
As a first-year, I felt a little lost. I was having a grand ole time with my new friends in Dunne and relishing in the newfound freedom of college, but everything felt superficial and somehow disconnected from myself. Like many incoming SCU students, I had volunteered extensively throughout my high school years and it felt strange not to have that as a part of my college life. In just my third week of college, my friend and I started volunteering at Downtown College Prep (a SCCAP program tutoring highschoolers) and in my second quarter, I also started volunteering with LUCHA (tutoring elementary school students) and Best Buddies (hanging out with students our age with developmental disabilities). All of these opportunities were enriching in their own way, but I still didn’t feel that connected to the greater community. Each of the volunteer experiences felt isolated from one another and whenever I went to bigger SCCAP events, I didn’t feel like I knew anyone or was actually a part of the SCCAP community. (Ok, shameless plug here, this feeling is one of the reasons why we’re really trying to build the SCCAP community this year through events like the SCCAPreciation dinner on January 13th from 5-6:30PM! If you’ve volunteered with SCCAP even just once, you are welcome to attend. We really want the SCCAP community to be stronger than ever this year! <3)
It wasn’t until I was on staff my sophomore year that SCCAP really started to change me. I had a tough year, filled with anxieties and doubts and a struggle to finally come out. But SCCAP was my rock through it all. I was surrounded by a group of loving, supportive, incredibly passionate individuals who both accepted me as I was and challenged me to constantly grow. All throughout high school and my first year of college, I saw service mainly as “helping people”. I mainly worked with individuals with disabilities and I enjoyed it and felt that I was making a positive impact in their lives. However, through all-staff meetings and discussions with other SCCAP staff members my sophomore year, I started to question a lot of what I thought I knew about service. Who am I, some upper-middle-class white girl from a suburb, to enter a predominantly low-income and Latinx community in downtown San Jose and try to “help”? What do I know about the unique experiences that each marginalized population faces? Am I just reinforcing some sort of “white savior” power dynamic by going into a school once a week and pretending that I’m helping these students? How does “community service” fit into the wider questions of privilege, power and oppression? While I loved being the Program Coordinator of Chandler Tripp (working with preschoolers with disabilities), my sophomore year on staff arguably left me with more questions than answers.
I came back in September to start my year as the Department Coordinator of Health and Disabilities after having two transformative experiences: spending my summer in The Gambia teaching at Starfish International through Global Fellows and coming out as queer. These journeys humbled me and broke down what I thought I knew, but gave me an incredible sense of peace and perfectly primed me for new learning and growth. Working as a Department Coordinator was so different than a Program Coordinator—at times it felt distant from the community partners we work with, but it was also so much more integrated with SCCAP as a whole. I grew in my relationships with fellow staff members, started attending different programs in different departments, and found that I was passionate about so many more aspects of SCCAP than I had previously realized. I also had the invaluable opportunity to attend the IMPACT conference in Massachusetts as a SCCAP representative and for lack of a better word, had my mind blown in every workshop. Through a difficult year for staff as a whole, I grew exponentially in my understanding of social justice. I could go on forever about each thing I learned and even then not be able to fully explain. But here’s a very poor attempt to sum it up: I think the three most key points I had previously understood but never deeply comprehended until then were 1) everything is connected and intersectionality is key, 2) listen to people who have had a specific experience first and 3) service and activism are inseparable.
I am still humbled and in disbelief to be the director of SCCAP this year. While I do feel rudimentarily educated in issues such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, immigration, etc. and am now comfortable talking about these things to others, I still know relatively nothing. They say that the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know, and that could not be more true. I believe that we all have the responsibility to educate ourselves about issues that oppressed groups face, but that does not mean that we can ever be a full ally. We can never completely understand an identity that we are not a part of, and one of the sayings that resonates with me the most is “ally is a verb”. It is a constant process, a constant challenge and a constant growth. One of our main focuses this year (as shown on our new tank tops woohoo!) is Solidarity, and what we mean by this is that service is not about going in and “helping,” service is about being with a community, learning from each other, and being in solidarity. It is through these relationships that we start to understand each other’s unique experiences and struggles and become equipped for the activism that can fight against the systemic injustices causing these inequalities. I have been blessed with an incredible SCCAP staff this year who challenges me and teaches me every day, and that is the way it should be. Leading this intelligent, inspired, creative group of activists is one of the most difficult positions I could imagine, but also one of the best.
If you made it to the end of this, congratulations, and just for that, you should come to our dinner on January 13th and start/continue to be a part of SCCAP. I have participated in 18 out of our 20 SCCAP programs, and I can honestly say that there is a program in SCCAP for everyone. My story is similar to many others on our staff: SCCAP has been both a relentless and challenging source of growth and increasing awareness and a warm, loving, community that finally allowed me to be my whole self. If you have any questions about SCCAP or if any part of my journey resonated with you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you join our family and see what your journey with SCCAP will be.
- Alaina Boyle
Director of SCCAP