A Different Type of Violence at UNH
The film and cases of publicized assault that have happened on the UNH campus this semester got me thinking more about the kind of violence I see and hear on campus. I myself have never really felt unsafe on campus, even walking alone at night, but that doesn’t mean I’m not immune to other kinds of violence.
Violence isn’t always physical. Violence and abuse can be verbal as well. I often hear both men and women on campus talking to each other in derogatory terms. Just the other day I heard some girls greet each other by calling each other “bitches”. It made me think about the quote from Mean Girls, “you have all got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores”. I can’t say I disagree. Something about calling each other names that are meant to demean each other doesn’t sit well with me.
If we as a student body don’t respect our fellow students enough not to call each other horrible names then what does that say about us Wildcats as a whole? I pride myself in being a Wildcat. To me that means that I am old enough to respect my friends and peers by not calling them names like children do. As a whole, I think that the Wildcat community is one of the most accepting environments I have ever been a part of, and hearing slurs like this is disheartening.
You may be thinking to yourself “Well, I don’t do that” or “I wouldn’t say that”, but that isn’t the whole issue. I’m sure we have all heard someone be called an unpleasant name that was intended to hurt someone, or we may have even been subject to derogatory language ourselves. In those moments, did you wish that you or someone had stood up to say something?
The best way to change this sort of attitude on campus is to speak up as a bystander. If you see someone acting violently (physically or verbally) against a man or a woman, be a good UNH Wildcat and say something. Anything from a cold evil eye to the embarrassing “hey do you want to call your mom and tell her what you just said” is appropriate. Anything that would make the perpetrator think about what they said (just make sure not to be violent back).
This language can be crippling to a Wildcat. By using these terms, the impact of these terms can be internalized so that one starts to believe that they are no better than the names that they are being called. This can hurt self-esteem and confidence and stifle growth.
If we aren’t all here to grow not only academically, but also personally and socially what good can this kind of language do to a Wildcat? If you ask me, I don’t think anything good.
If you feel like any type of violence is being acted out against you or someone else, SHARPP has a 24/7 helpline at (603) 862-SAFE and they are open Monday – Friday for walk-in assistance. The UNH Counseling Center and Health Services are also good places to go on campus to get help. And Reportit! is an online form you can use to report incidents of bias, discrimination and/or harassment at UNH.