Rape Culture and Broadchurch: TV’s Warning Against Normalization

They needed girls.

It was such a natural statement, such a normal predicament. And easily solved.

It was the first night of NSO, and as my roommate and I stepped outside the quad, our night’s plans were quickly determined. Guys were sweeping the streets outside the dorms – “Are you bored? We need girls.” – picking up female students to add to their growing masses on the way to the frats. They couldn’t get in without us; it was all about the ratio.

I was intrigued, not by the fact that they needed more girls – what’s a party without heterosexual interaction and the prospect of hooking up? – but by the nonchalance of such a statement. The guys said it, the girls laughed, and the party began.

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The Anxiety of Learning a New Language

I walked into the first day of RUSS001 excited to finally learn the language and culture that always left me in awe. The art and aesthetics I loved as a teenager were typically Soviet or Russian, from Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita to t.A.T.u. I was going to take it freshman year at Penn before my pre-major adviser suggested taking Spanish to fulfill my language requirement, and then to take Russian if I was interested. She warned me of the agony if I decided to take Russian but ended up hating it. I took her suggestion, figuring that it didn’t hurt to improve my Spanish. Now that the language requirement was out of the way, I could have fun. I was ready.

Not so fast.

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Returning From a Leave

It’s hard to return from a leave of absence. It’s even harder to come back knowing that you feel worse than before.

Let me explain: I took a leave after fall semester last year because of unbearable circumstances and experiences that rattled my emotional core. I could write an entire book on the events leading to my leave, but this is sufficient for now.

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Female Freshmen: Perceptions of Danger

How do you feel late at night on Locust Walk?

Do you feel like you’re in danger? Do you think your college campus is perfectly safe?

The United States Department of Justice defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” [1] Many different actions fall under the category of sexual assault.

Women in college are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than women in general—23.1 percent experience assault during their college years, as well as 5.4 percent of men [2]. And scarily, according to a 2015 report, 20.8 percent of female undergraduate students (and 4.5 percent of male undergraduate students) at the University of Pennsylvania have experienced unwanted sexual touching [3]. This year welcomed a new freshman class to Penn—the Class of 2020. With these frightening statistics, it would be understandable for women to feel apprehension about this potential campus danger. However, perceptions of this underlying threat seem to be very mixed within the freshman class.

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A Brief History of Racism in Redlining

Redlining [red-lahy-ning]: noun: a discriminatory practice by which banks, insurance companies, etc., refuse or limit loans, mortgages, insurance, etc., within specific geographic areas, especially inner-city neighborhoods.

(via dictionary.com)

The practice of redlining in cities across the United States, including Philadelphia, started with the creation of the Federal Housing Administration in 1934 and ended in 1968 with the Fair Housing Act.

A key that shows different rankings of regions, as written on security maps. [via The Atlantic]

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) created maps that ranked residential neighborhoods based on their desirability for further investment in a color-coded system. Often, higher ranks of “A” or “B” were likely to receive loans, while ranks of “C” or “D” were likely to be denied loans.

The FHA used various factors to differentiate rankings of zones, among which was the description of the kinds of people living in the area. Often, areas that were predominantly African American communities, or even immigrant communities, were ranked low on the scale. The common, but unstated, thought was that the arrival of African Americans and Immigrant in a community signaled the decline and ultimate demise of a neighborhood.

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Glen’s Journey of Resilience: West Philly Streets to the Ivy League

Penn prides itself in selecting a diverse student body. That being said, I never expected to meet someone at Penn who had been a crack cocaine dealer and had come from one of the most rough areas of West Philly. And I never expected that person to be so accomplished and ambitious.

I was first introduced to Glen’s story when I serendipitously decided to attend a random documentary screening last year.

I left amazed by the different journeys students take to arrive at Penn and stunned by the reality so different from our own that’s ever present only a few streets further west into Philadelphia.

The film “Glen’s Village” was commissioned by 5th Borough Films and the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, a non-profit newspaper that reports on the city’s education system. It was directed and co-produced by Brooklyn-based multimedia journalist and filmmaker Dorian Geiger and  Paul Jablow, a veteran Philadelphia education reporter. The film has been to more than 15 film festivals across the U.S and has won 5 awards. Glen’s village is also currently nominated for a Education Writers Award.

The only thing more impressive than the accolades the film has accrued is Glen’s story itself.

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