Intersectionality is necessary for anti-rape activism. Sexual violence can be a tool to uphold institutionalized racism and misogyny. Anti-rape activists, primarily Women of Color and LGBTQ+ folx, have consistently addressed the intersections of gender, sexual orientation, and race on campus because it was necessary for their survival to understand how sexual violence intertwined with systemic racism.
I say Women of Color (WOC) to highlight the consistent overarching oppression that justifies sexual violence against non-white women and LGBTQ+ folx, not to negate or dismiss anyone’s identity. Kimberlé Crenshaw, in her piece “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against Women of Color,” elaborates on the pitfalls of feminism and anti-racism on their own and how holding these two ideas separately neglects to see the multifaceted nature of experiences. In the video "The Origin of the phrase "Women of Color," Loretta Ross, a co-founder and national coordinator of SisterSong - Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective explains the political origin of Women of Color in 1977. Ross explains that Women of color is "a solidarity definition, a commitment to work in collaboration with other oppressed women of color, who have been minoritized."
White supremacy is upheld through sexual violence because white supremacy informs which women’s bodies are valued and why. The method and narratives ascribed to women vary, however, the end result is the same that is the continual devaluing and subjugation of non-white women.
The Jezebel and Sapphire tropes are used to relegate Black women as subhuman and justifies sexual violence toward Black women. Similarly, the China Doll and Dragon Lady tropes used to characterize Asian women also ascribe narratives that are then used to justify sexual violence toward Asian women. While these tropes are similar in effect, it is important to recognize the different historical contexts that cultivated them. These tropes have been and continue to be used to further justify acts of imperialism, colonialism, and white supremacy.
Moreover, these racial tropes are complicated further when applied to LGBTQ+ folx. This is why it is important to acknowledge that Anti-rape activists within The Ohio State University not only held their own identities in tension with each other but also addressed and continue to address how best to analyze and combat sexual violence in ways that were and are culturally relevant to the LGBTQ+ folx and WOC on campus. *
*It is important to note that there may be omissions of events and individuals due to the limitations of compiling data exclusively from articles in The Lantern.