We all know that sound, the monotone "bing" that signals a new message's arrival into one of
your many inboxes. You could leave the message unread but your curiosity is too
strong. You minimize your Twitter feed, then your Facebook
news feed, then your Spotify account, and finally
arrive at the message titled, "Timely Warning."
Intrigued, you proceed to read about a sexual assault
happening in one of your on-campus residence halls. You read in amazement at
the obscurity of such an issue, especially on your campus. You gasp, continue
re-scrolling through the email for the next 45 seconds, then hear that same "bing" once again — a mental cue it's time to
return to your significantly more important social media and entertainment Web
As a college student, I too am guilty of this repetitive
routine. However, as a survivor of sexual assault this "Timely Warning"
message met me in a much different mood. My emotions ranged from utter anger to
absolute pride. Thankful that someone besides myself had the
courage to step forward and speak out against their injustice. But then
I thought that simply sending out an email to "break" this heart
wrenching news was not enough. An issue as large and controversial as sexual
assault ought to be dealt with in the same care as the finest china. The report
of sexual assault in the manner that was presented in this "Timely Warning"
email resonated with me similar to the sound of multiple fine china plates
crashing to a newly polished Italian marble floor. Ouch.
In search of answers, I quizzed a fellow collegiate survivor
of sexual assault on their personal opinion of this issue. The name of this
person will remain anonymous, as so will mine. Pseudonyms are wonderful things
aren't they? Cheers. The interview went as such:
Q: What do you feel is the best way to approach sexual
assault cases on a college campus?
A: I think the best way to approach sexual assault cases on a
college campus is to never blame the victim. Just because they were drinking
doesn't mean they deserved it happen any more than if they were sober. I think that sexual assault isn't
something that should be made fun of. People think it won't happen to them, so
they make light of the issue. I think everyone just needs to watch out for each
other and stay with each other. And nobody should ever feel like they're going
to lose friends from reporting the assault. Nobody should feel embarrassed or
that nobody will believe them. College campuses need
to promote this more. And student peers need to promote that more. Nobody
simply cries rape. We need to work harder at abolishing rape culture.
Q: How should colleges and Universities respond to sexual
A: I think universities should handle sexual assault cases
alongside with the city police. University police, while they may believe you,
most of the time try to shove it under the rug to
avoid publicity. At least, that's what I think. This needs to change. No
university's reputation is worth the violation of another human being. It's a
crime and should be handled as such.
Q: The term Victim or Survivor? Why?
A: SURVIVOR. Those who have endured sexual assault are not
victims, but survivors. We have come out the other side, and we will not let it
destroy us. It is an everyday battle to get back the part of ourselves we had
lost, but it is not the end of who we are. Victim implies that one is weak and
has been defeated. A survivor is STRONG. A survivor is BRAVE.
A survivor will not let the abuser win. A survivor wins because they will not
let it define who they are.
Q: What does justice look like to you?
A: Justice would be putting those pieces of trash in jail.
But the truth is, less than 5 percent of rapists ever see a jail cell. Justice
would be trying your hardest, even if you don't succeed, to make sure that the
perpetrator sees the inside of a jail cell. But in order to get justice, you
have to report it. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks. The survivor
needs to do what they need to do in order to find peace within themselves.
Perhaps colleges and
universities need to spend more time caring for their precious china rather
than sweeping the broken pieces underneath the rug covering their unpolished
marble flooring. In the end, justice will prevail, someone will step on one of
the broken pieces of china and you will be punished for poor integrity (for
lack of a better word). But for now, we continue to click, and gasp, and click
again. When will we not "close?" That is the simple question that I