It’s been nicknamed the “Rape Trail” for generations, but some Central Michigan University students have started a campaign to change the nickname of a local trail and get rid of rape culture on campus and in the area.
“It’s not about giving it an official name,” said Bullock Creek senior Jason Hagle in a Facebook comment. “The point is stop calling it ‘Rape Trail.’ Respect for a legitimate issue.”
The trail, located between Campus Habitat apartments and the Towers residence halls, has signs posted with facts about rape and rape culture. Students have been taking pictures of the signs and posting them on Twitter, Instagram and other social media websites.
A Twitter hashtag has popped up in the last few weeks and has been taking over CMU students’ accounts all over the popular social media site. #renamethetrail is in hundreds of tweets and even has its own account.
@RenameTheTrail has 34 followers, and has been retweeting some of the many tweets by students at CMU and community members.
“It’s about time this happened. #RenameTheTrail,” said @emy3shiner.
Belleville senior Rachel Dybicki posted a tweet saying she is glad to see the signs and the campaign going.
“Walking to class and seeing the #renamethetrail campaign – definitely powerful. Rape is not something to make fun of #rename #chippewatrail.”
Some students did not know about the trail, saying it’s a nickname given by the students that reside in that area. Other students say it’s a joke name that doesn’t mean anything.
“You can’t really rename a trail that doesn’t have an official name,”said Sagniaw senior Dan Ahrens in a Facebook comment. “I wasn’t aware of the name until other students who live in that subdivision told me.”
Students are suggesting lights, paving the path and other solutions to make the wooded trail user-friendly and a lot less of a threat visually.
Grand Rapids senior Cassie Graverson posted a Facebook comment saying lights would be the best option.
“I think some lights would be more helpful than a sign that says ‘friendship trail’ to help keep us safer,” she said.
Campus Police have a system of Blue Light Emergency Phones set up across campus. The closest blue light phone is located across West Campus Drive, close to the exit of the trail. Because the trail is not technically a part of campus, it is unlikely a blue light would be placed on or closer to the trail.