YouTube star Laci Green to CSU: “We can end sexual assault”

Nicole Towne

Laci Green displays the Reframe t-shirt that the Women and Gender Advocacy Center gave to her.

At the age of  26 and just years after graduating with the highest honors from the University California Berkley, Laci Green  was named one of  Time Magazine’s top 30 most influential people on the internet in March.

Feminist, sex educator and host of the Youtube channel Sex+, which has nearly 1.5 million subscribers, came to Colorado State University as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month Friday April 22. In her presentation, “Taking Down Rape Culture”, Green discussed how sexual violence is currently viewed in society and what people can do to change it and end it.

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“We can end sexual assault,” Green said as she opened her presentation.

Green, with her humor and bluntness, was able to make a taboo subject approachable.

“I thought she was really positive and upbeat about these things, even though they’re hard to talk about. It was very engaging,” said first-year Matthew Quinn Carey Borocz.

Green used facts and real-life events to present the idea that rape and the concept of rape is prevalent and tolerated in society.

“Sexual assault is the number one unreported crime,” Green said. “The average perpetrator will violate six different people.”

Women with a disability are at the highest risk of sexual violence, Green said, with one in three being sexually assaulted.

Green also debunked the common belief that the majority sexual assaults are by unknown predators.

“Seventy-five percent of the time the survivor knows them,” Green said. “Lots of times when people think about rape and sexual assault they (think of) walking home at night and a big scary man in the bushes jumps out, and that’s how rape happens. That’s not usually how sexual assault happens. Usually it’s someone you know. Maybe it’s someone you trust. Maybe you’re on a date with them. Maybe you’re married to them.”

Green discussed the 2013 Steubenville, Ohio rape trials where two high school football players allegedly sexually assaulted a drunk 16 year-old girl. Photos and videos of the girl were spread across social media. Little action was taken by local authorities at first, but after being put on trial the football players were charged as delinquents and sentenced to time in a juvenile correction facility.

“(The students) plastered it everywhere. The evidence of what had happened was glaring, but still when this case went to the Steubenville Police they completely ignored it, swept this case completely under the rug and acted as nothing happened,” Green said.

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Green also discussed the prevalence of women being sexualized in modern media and how woman are being objectified in music such as in Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and in various advertisements.

“In our society women are sexualized in every context. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing,” Green said.

The over sexualization of women leads to problems with consent and respecting a women, or any individual when they say no, Green said. 

“We have this consent by default way of thinking about sex in our culture. We need to change that. It should not be consent by default. You should have to hear a clear and enthusiastic yes before you have sex with someone,” Green said.

Green encouraged both the women and the men in the room to take action and change how people think about consent. 

“Sometimes guys need to hear it from other guys. It can be really useful for men to use their privilege and reach out,” Green said.

Green recognized that sexual violence is not always a comfortable topic to discuss, but by speaking out about it, she believes that people will make a difference.

“It’s very easy to pretend it’s not going on,” Green said. “It’s very easy just to not talk about it, but we have to brave and we have to talk about it and be willing to.”

Collegian Reporter Nicole Towne can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @nicole_towne21.