Back the Night
Back the Night was an excellent show that is not only relevant to the Humanities curriculum but to Davidson’s campus as whole. Despite what many students think, Davidson has quite a vicious rape culture. Women are regularly robbed of their bodily autonomy through sexual violation. As we have learned from studying the Rwandan genocide, the body often defines our humanity. It is what makes us human and gives us our rights. Sexual violence objectifies victims by ignoring their desires and autonomy. Therefore, to be robbed of bodily autonomy, is to be considered less than. This was depicted in the play Back The Night through the story of two girls in college. Cassie is extremely passionate about fighting for women’s rights so much so that she posts police records of violence against women to a blog regularly. Her best friend Em was raped by a group of frat brothers but chooses not to call it rape in order to avoid emotionally processing it. Within the show Cassie is physically assaulted and broadcasts the violence to start a revolution against frat culture. She shows people something that changed their perspective so that they begin to fight for change within their college. This revolution is occurring in colleges today at a slower pace. There have been whispers at Davidson about the party culture centered around Armfield coming to a close. Other universities such as Furman have been pushing to ban fraternity housing or Dartmouth which has adopted a zero-tolerance policy against rape. My mission at Davidson is to further push this revolution and find ways to reduce sexual violence without completely depriving students of parties.
Until I saw The Refugees, I did not realize I experienced any feelings similar to those of Refugees. I am an upper-middle class white girl from a nuclear family. I have never been displaced, food insecure, or unsafe in my home. I have always been at an advantageous position because of the structure of the society around me, not because I earned it. This set me up to have an empathy for Refugees but not to relate to them, until I heard Lexi Ditrapino’s monologue. She discussed her background, one of homelessness and loss. She moved around throughout her childhood never finding a stable place to live until she came to Davidson, but even here a feeling of separation persisted. Davidson is a happy place, a fun place. It moves at a fast pace. This is why dealing with trauma at Davidson is hard. I knew exactly the feeling Lexi was describing when she said she felt like an outsider on campus. At a place like Davidson, where everything is driven by accomplishment and success, being in a dark place makes you feel separate. I know this because the weeks after my sexual assault introduced me to this feeling of isolation. After my previous traumas I got to be alone at home and with my family. Trauma at college is different because college is not about you. Yes, Davidson tries to monitor student mental health, but the work hard play harder atmosphere doesn’t always care about your feelings. This isn’t necessarily something I want to change. I want Davidson to be a happy place for happy people. I just hope those happy people will continue to take care of those who aren’t so happy.