Opinion submission: What happened at the Wallys is unacceptable
As a parent of a UP senior I have an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. I have read the articles and responses to the appalling remarks made by the emcee at the Wally awards. I expected that these last few weeks before graduation were going to be filled with bitter sweet moments, stress over finals, excitement for the future, but never with a slap in the face that disrespect towards women can grab a microphone at UP and not once, but multiple times objectify us. One remark after another he spewed out. Leadership remained seated. Where was the defense of the dignity of every person who was in that room? Is that not what the UP mission statement promises? Apologies for what occurred, but not for the lack of action.
Silence against violence is showing support. Staying was justified as a way of honoring the student athletes. The moment the first violent words came out of his mouth, leadership should have stood up, because that is the moment athletes stopped being honored. For over 20 years I have worked with victims, many of those are victims of sexually violent crimes. In most of those cases what has been the hardest thing for victims to overcome is that those they trusted did not believe them, did not protect them, did not want to listen to them. We must change that. That change comes, when in the face of ANY violent comment, we stand up and say, “Unacceptable!”
Rosario Gonzalez is a parent of a UP student and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.