I recently saw this Yik Yak post about a rape on campus
But of course Yik Yak responded to that, too.
Which all just points to a widespread rape culture that persists on campuses
And the inevitable sense that an anonymous shout is beyond reproach.
In the 90s, rape lists appeared on the bathroom stalls at Brown...
The facilities maintenance crew kept scrubbing them away, and yet they kept reappearing.
Those lists and national conversation they roiled made an impact on how cases of sexual assault were handled.
Could Yik Yak be a bathroom stall with protest potential?
Anonymous platforms aren't perfect. Anyone could have written these posts. And yet, since names cannot be named (victim or assailant) due to Yik Yak's terms of service, this could be a space to just spread awareness. Imagine reading messages from victims of sexual abuse and rape before heading out to that next rager.
Would it prevent sexual assault? Perhaps not. Would it give one pause? I'd hope so.
But could these be false? These could be mere fictions. Isn't that the worst attack on a victim's claim? To suggest that his or her story might not be true? Because of the anonymity built into Yik Yak's platform, that truthfulness is called into question even more. But the question for me in a space that does not name names is not did this happen but could this have happened? Has this happened? Is this happening? Statistics suggest as much.
Anonymous posting boards have been decried for facilitating cyberbullying and racism, but cannot they also prove useful in the long tradition of outcry from victims and the truly vulnerable?
We might not know if these particular rapes ever really happened or even if they were posted by students. But we do know one thing without a doubt: as of Friday afternoon, no rape has yet occurred Friday evening. Let's creatively use whatever tools we can find to keep it that way.
Mark C. Marino teaches writing at the University of Southern California with degrees from and great affection for Brown, Loyola Marymount, University of Notre Dame, and UC Riverside.