Consciousness-Raising at Oberlin College During the Second Wave: Gender and Sexuality Conferences and Workshops

Part 1: Student-Focused Consciousness Raising     |      Part 2: Staff-Focused Consciousness Raising
Part 3: Administrative Response to Consciousness Raising    |     Appendices

Appendix 1: Student Sexuality and Rape Survey     |     Appendix 2: Details from the GLCA Survey
Appendix 3: Report from the Council on Campus Relations and Sexual Harassment

Appendix 2: Details from the GLCA Survey

Title: Survey of Women Students at GLCA Colleges

Author: Great Lakes Colleges Association, Katie Loring and Alison Ricker

Date: 1987

Location: Subgroup I. Administrative Records, Series 13. Files Relating to External Organization, Box 2. Dean of Students Papers, RG 12, O.C.A.

Document Type: Printed


Content Warning: discussion and brief personal accounts of assault, abuse, harassment, and rape.


Original                       Both                    Transcription






Section IV: Interpersonal Relationships (Please respond to these questions about your experiences only with other students at this college.)


  1. Have you been sexually active while a student at this college?

Yes      no


  1. Have you had an action of yours (e.g.. [sic] going to someone’s room, going to a party) misinterpreted as meaning you were willing to have sexual intercourse?


  1. Have any of the following experiences happened to you with other students at this college?
  2. Have you ever been addressed or referred to in sexual terms that made you uncomfortable?

yes       no        uncertain

  1. Have you been touched in a way that made you uncomfortable?

yes       no        uncertain

  1. Have you been struck or pushed?

yes       no        uncertain

  1. Have you been struck or pushed by another student with whom you were intimately involved?

yes       no        uncertain

  1. Have you been pressured to go further than you wanted sexually?

yes       no        uncertain

  1. Have you been verbally pressured to have sexual intercourse– including oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse– against your will?
  2. Have you been physically forced to have sexual intercourse– including oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse– against your will?

yes       no        uncertain

  1. Have you been taken advantage of sexually while under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

yes       no        uncertain



Question 4: What did you/would you do if any of the experiences described in Question 3 happened to you on this campus?


  • Don’t know.
  • It depends on which one– to what extreme – speak to friends professors, police.
  • Get angry, depends on the situation- level of my embarrassment would determine action.
  • Got angry and usually stated/made clear my dissent.
  • Confront the person; but because I was involved with him 3-½ yrs., wouldn’t get much support for (f) above. For (d) I was shoved once during an argument and made it very clear that if he ever did it again- that’d be it.
  • Avoid the person, talk to my friends- MAYBE talk to someone in a counseling type position. I don’t know if I actually would though. For f and g, definitely. The others, probably not.
  • Make my own decisions.
  • Probably deal with it myself or go to Psych Services for help and/or referral.
  • I would go find help from certain friends or organizations.
  • Have it out with the person, friends, authorities if necessary.
  • I would go to Janet Stocks, get counseling, bring charges against the person.
  • Nothing
  • Scream and get support from women and harass and educate the guy (hard to do) and spread the word about him.
  • Get a friend’s advice (best friend). If it was really severe (c-h) I would talk w/my house director, dean, or a counselor in the Sexual Info. session and take further steps from there.
  • probably not report it
  • Anything more severe than B- I would take actions on _ I think esp. f-g-h again my actions would depend on the circumstance- f-g-h (which I call rape) I’d press charges.
  • There is an increasingly high awareness of what Acquaintance Rape is here. Someone was pressuring me but a friend told me that was a form of rape and I broke up with him.
  • I don’t know, talk to a friend.
  • I would confront my victimizer. I would be really upset and would also seek guidance if the experiences included d-h.
  • Seek professional help
  • Vocalize it, not forget it
  • depends on who it is/was- once it vaguely happened to me but I didn’t report because I didn’t know any better and he was a friend included in our social circle.
  • Probably talk to friends about it and not much else.
  • I would (did) confront the person and tell them to stop it. If they wouldn’t I would try to get away from them- scream, yell for help, etc.
  • I would try to avoid future situations.
  • I didn’t do much- I later reexamined the situation and saw I should have been much more assertive. I’m not sure who I’d tell though. If I was forced or violently pressured I’d tell though. If I was forced or violently pressured I’d definitely talk to Mom and work on into the college from there.
  • Raise hell
  • Psych Services, Jud. Board
  • If they (they experiences) seemed serious enough, which it seems they would be, I’d go to psych. services or my advisor and ask them what to do. I’d also stay away from the person who did it and report them to judicial board.
  • Since there occurrences were not too serious, I just avoid this guy.
  • If I felt uncomfortable w/a situation I would probably first talk it over w/ a friend and have her help me decide what I should do
  • If something happened against my will, I would report it.
  • If it happened, I would raise hell
  • Talk to women involved in these issues such as Oberlin Students Against Rape or Janey Stocks who does the rape prev. workshop.
  • Not sure
  • Seek professional advice
  • Sometimes I just leave but sometimes I verbally abuse back.
  • Depends on the circumstance- depends on who (stranger/acquaintance/friend). As for verbal harassment, I’ve “talked back” on occasion.
  • confront the person and seek counseling
  • I disassociated myself from the person and sought the council of friends.
  • I would bring judiciary action against the person and maybe call the police if it was really bad also I would seek counseling.
  • In the actual situation I did nothing but talk to him. If I had been physically forced, I would have told a friend and probably my mother and then gone to SIC
  • Nothing
  • Nothing
  • If the experience were not rape, I would avoid the person myself, and try to get the person to psych services, peer counseling, whatever seemed appropriate. If it were rape, I don’ know what I’d do for myself, but I’d definitely report it and get the person some help.
  • Talk to friends and try to handle it, but if I see things going really out of hand (i.e. I get hit or forced into anything I don’t want to do), I’d probably go talk to a female dean.
  • If I were pressured to have sex verbally or physically I would report the incident to the proper person if the aggressor was being violent. If he was really trying to force sex on me and gave up I might not do anything- I’m not really sure.
  • Talk to women’s center support groups, individual friends, or the Rape Education Coordinator.
  • I try to avoid people/situations which would encourage this behavior
  • a) sometimes nothing, sus. [sic] retorted or made individual understand that wasn’t okay.
  1. b) I would say this is one of the hazards of being a sexual active young person- I stop him.
  2. c) I was truck [sic] by a close male friend. It ruined the basis of trust I had in him.
  3. d) I have been pushed coercively by men here on several occasions.
  4. e) I reported the incident, which was quite violent, to my R.C. who reported it as a statistic because it was acquaintance rape I was reluctant to divulge his identity.
  • If I felt it was “acquaintance rape”, I might press charges, otherwise I would dump the other person FAST!
  • Prosecute
  • If someone tried to physically force me to have intercourse against my will, I would avoid ever being in a threatening situation with that person ever again.
  • Maybe talk to someone professional (probably a friend instead about a & b)- the rest I would tell the proper authority
  • I was very upset that someone who I thought was a friend tried to take advantage of the fact that I was drunk. As it was near the end of the semester I didn’t take any action, I just avoided him.
  • I would seek guidance from the various places on campus which deal with such situation [sic].
  • I can’t say simply because most of them haven’t happened.
  • Talk to counselor, friend, go to above mentioned committee depending on gravity of grievance. End relationship with the offender, seek support of student rape survivors’ group, possibly take offender to judicial board or appropriate board.
  • Once again it would depend on the situation. I tend to think it would be better to try and persuade them to seek counseling for a minor incident and not go through the judicial board.
  • Say no clearly- talk to the other person if possible, fight if necessary
  • talk to the special rape counselor on campus
  • In the case of 3c being pushed was in self-defense because I was tickling the person, so I didn’t do anything about it
  • To be honest, I’d be less sure of what to do here…Again, verbal confrontation. If it were my boyfriend, I’d have trouble ever “pressing charges”- if it were a stranger, I’d feel awkward.
  • I don’t know
  • When unwanted sexual attention occurred as described above, I firmly said no and the person involved either respected my wish or I left
  • Tell someone who could help me
  • Go to the women’s center or SIC for help and counseling
  • Judiciary board
  • I’d report it as rape to the counselors here
  • I’d like to think I’d have the presence of mind to let the perpetrator know what a jerk he is. I’d also get out of the situation as quickly as possible. If it was actual rape (g or h), I might report it, although if it looked like one of those “date rape” cases when I might be blamed (though I shouldn’t be) I might be afraid of the embarrassment and keep my mouth shut.
  • report to the police and security, file charges
  • I wouldn’t let myself be abused. I’d run away; if I couldn’t fight someone , [sic] I’d live with it then avoid the person. I probably would not take legal action because I would not want to put myself on trial (sad but true)
  • Raise Hell
  • I don’t know
  • Talk to the offender and/or psych. services/advisor depending on severity.
  • I wouldn’t do what I didn’t want.
  • Belt the guy
  • I don’t know
  • Report it. Go to psych services or Sexual Information Center
  • Confront the behavior -seek help/support from friends.
  • Janet Stocks/friends (talk to you)
  • I didn’t know what to do, besides stop seeing that person. It was painful and embarrassing.
  • I would probably talk to a friend or maybe call Psych. services advisor, SIC, psych. services
  • I would call the emergency contact persons and begin to file a complaint of sexual assault if applicable.
  • I’m not sure
  • I did not tell anyone. I stopped seeing the man with whom I was involved.
  • I would talk to an R.C. or my House Director for help in figuring out what I should do.
  • If I’d been physically abused I would seek help through a campus service and if the action was very violent I would call the police or campus security.
  • Tell my friends or report it to someone
  • Once I realized that I’d been pressured against my will in certain situations, I told the guy what bothered me about his behavior and went on to other things.
  • Talk to people, officials, Janet Stocks – deals w/rape prevention, therapy for rape/abuse victims
  • Verbally made it clear that I did not want to have sexual intercourse.
  • I would go to the clinic and to psych. services and maybe take the matter before the judicial board.
  • First, talk to friends and get advice on whether or not I could solve this myself without requiring outside mediation.
  • Unsure- talk to a very close friend first.
  • If I was forced to have sexual intercourse, I would report it.
  • Bring it before the judicial board
  • unsure
  • Though I would probably do the same as in part III question b, depending on the circumstances, I might be more tempted to deal with the problem myself and with my friends’ support.
  • I’d probably go to a friend first
  • Talk to friends
  • Talk to my friends a lot! Go to SIC (Sexual Information Center) for counseling if it were serious (e.g. sex against my will).
  • Talk to people specially trained to lead acquaintance rape workshops
  • ask advice of someone who knows the appropriate organization to file a complaint with
  • The things that happened to me I allowed to happen, by passively going along, even when I didn’t want to. The guys never meant to push me, really.
  • Talked about it afterwards, kind of, with my partner, have kind of avoided sexual contact since then.
  • Depending on the degree of the situation I would either talk to the offender or I would report the offender to police, Janet Stocks, or college security
  • Tell someone!
  • None of the pressure or actions have been particularly violent or insistent, and have taken place with friends/boyfriends with whom I could talk openly and diplomatically, so the situations fortunately have been resolved smoothly and to my satisfaction.




Section IV: Interpersonal Relationships


Question 8: Comments on Section IV (optional)

  • I don’t know the policies and procedures but after the rape that was reported a few months ago there was a great student outcry, organized discussion, movies, and security has been tightened up and lighted phones installed across campus
  • #5: the judicial procedure is screwed up. There is often no redress for the victim, and after she goes on trial (as the victim, the man often is let off.
  • #5: BUT [sic]- these procedures are not coordinated effectively. Res. life is incompetent in its handlings- there should be one clearing house where confidence is insured -that students know about- as it happens now -??? [sic] to incidents are often ??? [sic] the good will of the faculty and students.
  • Many friends of mine have been subjected to this type of harassment by several males on this campus.
  • It is very difficult in these questions to draw an arrow labeled rape. We are young but sexual human beings who are testing out our likes and dislikes as well as our limits with people in very similar circumstances. Sexually intimate contact is traumatic even if it is successful, and it is very difficult to say when one has been “pressured” to do something pleasurable in theory but not necessarily in practice.
  • Again, I think the policies are not very well defined for inter-student relations, and despite attempts to educate, many women still undergo acquaintance rape w/out doing anything about it.
  • I understand that you are trying to determine if women students are being subjected to mental, moral, and physical abuse, but I think you should have made it more clear that you weren’t talking about terms and acts of affection, which can also be unwanted. Furthermore, “pressuring…against your will” is not the same thing as actual rape. Furthermore -women rape, too.
  • The college judicial board has no distinct policy or procedures to deal w/acquaintance rape or sexual assault on this campus
  • Means of dealing with these problems can never be well funded enough, publicized enough. We always need reinforcement to learn to say no, to defend ourselves, and to stop blaming ourselves.
  • I think a lot of times, men are unsure of “how far” women want to go sexually and it is natural for them to pressure if they want sex. However, if the woman is clear about what she wants to do, it makes the man’s role much more clear to him, and misunderstanding is less likely to take place.
  • Survey does not address the availability of this information, manner of presentation to the community, etc. Most organizations are listed in the phone book and in the Student Organization Listings, describing services – more info given to new students. Sometimes it’s hard to determine who to go to for what kind of help.
  • I was once at a party in my dorm where a man who lived off campus (student, a friend of a friend) asked to come back to my room with me and was insistent enough that I was worried he’d follow me but he didn’t.
  • College’s way of dealing w/rape charges between students ineffective and victim-blaming—accuser and defendant must go into mediation and accuser can’t really accuse for fear of slander charges. INADEQUATE CHANNELS!
  • There was a recent rape on campus so there are now peer groups for people who have been raped or had negative sexual experiences previously and were afraid to speak to anyone.
  • These questions are a bit redundant
  • I know the college has policies concerning sexual harassment by faculty, I don’t know what the policies regarding students are.
  • I know my own ming well and actively avoid hazardous situations.
  • The questions seemed pretty heterosexually geared and excluded input from bisexual and lesbian women (i.e. it assumed sexual activity is limited to heterosexual intercourse).



Section XI: Closing General


Question 5: What is the greatest problem or challenge facing them? [This question is poorly worded and it is unclear whether the survey was referring to women as a whole, or the groups that support women on campus. The student’s answers vary in which question they respond to]


  • Getting male peers to accept them equally
  • General social attitude which does not expect as much from women.
  • their own fears of not measuring up
  • Cohesiveness and activities of general common interest
  • not being taken seriously by Pres. F. Starr (e.g. rape on campus last semester) women who are enemies of women
  • Feeling independent enough to walk alone at night – being able to take care of ourselves
  • Don’t know- probably varies from student to student
  • Getting a guy who is not gay and doesn’t already have a girlfriend (and isn’t a loser)
  • Overcoming sexism in the curriculum and in its subtle everyday manifestations
  • The administration does not respond to women’s wants or needs
  • Stupid men that think they aren’t sexist. Making our voices heard and respected.
  • I couldn’t really say because I don’t see Oberlin as having any major problems in women’s issues. We often discuss problems and address issues – but are not solely pertinent to Oberlin’s campus. However I do think that some of the administrative staff tend to be rather sexist at times. But I usually feel very comfortable as a woman on this campus
  • The women’s center has a reputation as being a lesbian organization.
  • We need better protection and education against acquaintance rape, better security, a better funded and supported curriculum in women’s studies, more tenured women faculty, esp. Minority women, more minority woman [sic] students, and more than lip service to feminism in the classroom and more practice of it.
  • The whole male slant of society
  • Physical violence and pressure from men.
  • I haven’t been much involved so I don’t know
  • Security
  • Gaining more recognition through the women’s studies program. More tenured professors.
  • I’m not actively involved in women’s organizations; therefore, not sure
  • Assimilating into society when we leave this place and have to face the fact that unshaven legs and business suits do not go into board meetings together.
  • Personal Safety, increased awareness about Acquaintance Rape
  • Breaking the lesbian/feminist and angry/man-hating feminist stereotype to not make people on the defensive so strongly. Breaking into science as teachers and students.
  • latent sexism personified by the Zeke guys
  • Rape/violence danger
  • Making people aware of violence towards women and showing that sexism certainly is not yet a thing of the past.
  • Crime
  • Helping women realize their full academic potential in all aspects of life- social, academic, vocational…
  • Tradition
  • Lack of concern for safety
  • traditional attitudes seeping in; not always adequate security
  • Women’s Safety on Campus, Sexual issues (education, responsibility, contraception) more tenured women’s faculty positions- expansion of Women’s Studies Program
  • societal norms
  • Learning to be strong, effectual, assertive and understanding. And, of course, to be respected in every way by everyone.
  • The usual- less women profs, etc.
  • Making people take women seriously- we’re not just another cunt.
  • On this campus, as it is worldwide: sexism. It doesn’t really exist there, but we know it does in the “outside world.” I believe this college, because of it’s liberal orientation, gives women equal opportunities, lets them become strong enough to face the problems we will encounter when we leave.
  • FUNDING and general sexism
  • Member apathy
  • The lack of adequate security measures on campus, the fear of rape and the inadequate policies of the college to deal with cases of sexual harassment.
  • Minority women issues and racism- integrating minority women into a predominantly- if not all-white women’s group.
  • Each problem would depend on the individual personalities and/or failing of the women. In general every woman graduate faces the typical prejudices of the “real” world (such as equal pay, job opportunities, etc.)
  • Stigma as lesbian groups, lack of funding, just so much to do, not enough people to do all the work.
  • Their own lack of self-confidence or feelings of persecution
  • $/ long term institutional support
  • Equality in everything, not just some things.
  • Fighting through stereotypes
  • easy ideals, too pat an environment
  • I think the issue of Security is extremely important
  • Accepting males as they are.
  • I don’t know
  • Maybe sexual harassment -rape-issues -trying to get things done about it. I don’t exactly know.
  • Getting more women on faculty in tenured positions
  • We need more female faculty
  • Being taken seriously and treated as equals with male students
  • Getting more men involved in their programs, without them feeling guilty of being male
  • Out societal/cultural resistance
  • Being accepted as academic/intellectual equals
  • Don’t know of any
  • Don’t know
  • Being taken seriously by certain men and getting more people involved in the issue
  • empowering themselves against rapists
  • Security- more needs to be done to protect women students from attacks by non-students in the area. The need has been proven but there aren’t enough preventive measures.
  • Security issues, Women’s Studies dept. (professors, classes…), attitudes towards women’s issues- from administration, faculty and students!
  • Sexism, racism, male violence & hostility, sexual harassment
  • men
  • Centuries of discrimination
  • The old boy’s school of thought, which is present at times in the administration.
  • lack of concern for safety by the college
  • from outside- sexism, from inside -racism/homophobia
  • to be treated like people by other women when they choose to associate w/ men.
  • Educating people who are supportive but ignorant about women’s issues and fighting the sexism that does exist here.
  • Callous administration, male view that Oberlin is a “safe” place
  • Problems with lack of security and communication for rape and assaulted victims
  • Being a black woman on a campus that is predominantly white and the racism and sexism that incurs from these issues
  • Getting some better security
  • The mostly male administration
  • equality
  • Having men (male students) take their problems seriously- such as security at night (rape, etc…) discrimination, But, basically, my college is very well informed.
  • Attitudes and behaviors of those off-campus or in “the big world.”
  • uniting/supporting each other without antagonizing sympathetic males
  • Safety at night
  • isolation
  • safety, bad self-image (fat)
  • Don’t know
  • Subtle sexism i [sic] feel that male teacher often respond more positively to male participation even without realizing i.e. if questioned, they wouldn’t feel they treated men and women differently.
  • The not-so-feminist world outside of Oberlin
  • Less obvious forms of hostility (eg. bad jokes), making all believe that sexual harassment happens often and must be dealt with
  • Safety
  • Don’t know
  • being labeled separatist
  • The intolerance of others who associate them with homosexuality
  • Getting students involved
  • Getting an active Women’s Group and a better budget for the women’s studies major
  • Several feminists and political women are mockes [sic] and stereotyped
  • Probably the inner struggle to give up and be dependent on someone
  • I’m not sure because I’m not deeply involved in these groups
  • Good old boys in every department
  • Becoming heard before an incident occurs which demands attention, i.e. rape
  • Issue of sexual harassment: what it is and how to draw the line between warranted and unwarranted attentions.
  • don’t know
  • don’t know
  • Subtle sexism and harassment. Sexism i.e. jokes, not being taken seriously, lack of concern (mostly by other students) for women’s issues
  • Militant feminists who make feminism laughable
  • don’t think there are any
  • Can’t think of anything
  • I think it is a challenge to learn what “feminism” can be. I think it should be a positive feeling, including every woman. I think the greatest problem is acknowledging our own weaknesses and struggling against the subtle bad feelings that women feel when exposed to the media, etc.
  • Nothing peculiar to women only.
  • Believing that in subjects like physics that they can achieve as much as men
  • Lack of unity in an organization. Most organizations are very specific or people just don’t have an interest, therefore there isn’t a central meeting/unifying place.
  • Inequality in employment – problems after college sexism in business, etc.
  • Disrespect from male students (some)
  • dangerous, unescorted walks at night
  • equality
  • not sure, rape prevention campaign was pretty big.
  • Who? The groups or individual women?
  • Ignorance of women’s issues and of their power to change
  • Better security
  • I think the greatest challenge for me is getting the women’s studies program off the ground, official, respected and fully funded. The fact that it is not says something about the nature of this school and its administration.
  • graduation
  • alienation of some more traditional women by vocal feminists radical segregation
  • getting out of stereotypes, not being too self feminine oriented
  • Pushing for more women’s studies courses; mainly the challenge of graduating and facing the inequalities in our society and in other countries between the sexes and sexual harassment and discrimination on campus no matter how low level it is




[Transcribed by Rebecca Debus]