This is a society where it is incredibly hard for people to speak up. To feel as though they are able to open up to another person and really let them know what is going on. This lack of communication is even more prevalent to survivors of sexual assault.
It is so incredibly difficult for survivors to open up because unfortunately we live in a society where the actual innocent is not so innocent until proven otherwise. There are so many places for survivors to turn, but all of them seem to have a list of pros and cons. We as a society need to eliminate that cons list. We need to make sure that anyone trying to report, seek medical attention, or even just talk feel nothing but the positive outcome from his or her choices.
Unfortunately, when it comes to college campuses, there are more sexual assaults that take place than really anywhere else. This of course means there are more ways for Universities to mishandle the situation at hand.
It is sad to say, but my college campus did a horrendous job of handling one particular report of sexual assault. A woman at my University reported her sexual assault. After much time, she felt as though not much had been done to really help her or to further the safety of other people on campus.
So this very brave woman went to the most heavily populated area for chalking on the campus. (Chalking is using chalk on the sidewalk to promote an event, raise awareness, or even just to tell someone to have a good day).
On those steps she wrote, “MY RAPIST STILL GOES HERE… WILL SOMEONE PLEASE LISTEN TO ME?”
The Vice President of Student Affairs responded with, “ Whatever was up there need to be cleaned… They were asked to freshen up anywhere there was a chalking done, it was starting to look a bit trashy.”
I can tell you right now that hearing something like that come from the mouth of the very person who should be protecting me and my peers would keep most from speaking up at our University again.
They silenced a survivor.
Thankfully, the staff and other administration at my University knew that this would not be the last time we talked about this. There were rallies, petitions, and supporters coming from every angle. We would not be silenced.
My mentor and friend, was quoted at the time saying, “”We know that victimization doesn’t end when the sexual assault or abuse ends”
We as a community had to step up and really look out for one another. We had to help each other. We are so unbelievably blessed to have the staff, community, and students that we do.
But unfortunately this does not just begin and end with my school. This kind of stuff can happen at any college University and it is up to us to stand together and to make sure we are offering that support to survivors. And for survivors, please always speak out! We are listening and we are here for you.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault and you are not entirely sure who you can talk to please feel free to call: 800.656.HOPE (4673)
This is completely confidential and they can help you find specific ways to get help in your area.