Event brings awareness to variety of oppression

By Jade Myers/campus editor

Oppression comes in many forms. To illustrate this, TR Campus created the “Tunnel of Oppression” which had tours at different times April 17, 18 and 22.

The tour highlighted the different kinds of oppression people face such as human trafficking, bullying, body shaming and more.

“It was a little bit enlightening in certain areas, and it was interesting,” TR student Thomas Rabito said.

Initially, the tour started with participants walking into a room with displays of the different varieties of oppression. Participants were given 25 minutes to observe the displays quietly.

There were displays on black oppression, past and present. Sexual assault and stalking had their own sections as well. There were displays for mental health, how women are portrayed by the media and a larger display about cyberbullying.

The cyberbullying display was covered with real social media posts of people saying mean things and stories of teens committing suicide because of cyberbullying. Statements like “42% of youth are being bullied online,” and “10% of parents are aware their teens are targets” were displayed.

Statistics were on other displays as well, “90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses don’t report the assault,” it said on the sexual assault display.

Participants were asked to write their own experiences with oppression on dry erase boards. Afterward, they participated in a privilege walk.

Everyone stood in a line, and the guides would ask questions and participants would either step forward or backward depending on their answer. At the end, everyone was spread out — symbolizing how they were no longer on the same playing field.

A counselor was present at every tour in case students needed assistance.

When TR director of student conduct and prevention education Tim Cason originally started planning the “Tunnel of Oppression,” he wanted to bring awareness to sexual misconduct. However, that evolved into more of an awareness of other types of oppression as well, he said.

“So, I did a lot of research and talked to other schools and decided this was a great program we could do to bring awareness to sexual misconduct but also discuss the inequities in society and how do we address and combat the concepts of power and privilege within our community,” Cason said.

TR director of student development services Carter Bedford and TR coordinator of student activities Kelsey Bratcher were two faculty members that served as guides.

“I made the comment about how natural some of these things are.” Bedford said. “That when we see them, we don’t even think about them.”

Some of the content is heavy emotionally, but it was good to help bring awareness to these types of oppressions, he said.

“Having to have these conversations, it’s not technically fun,” Bratcher said.

It’s important to discuss the topics though so students know they have a safe place at TCC to talk about their experiences, whether it’s with a counselor or other faculty members, she said.

Too many people only focus on their own oppression and never consider other types of oppression out there someone might be going through, SE academic advisor Cyrus Crosby said.

“This allows us to see it up close and personal, the oppression the other people experience,” he said.