I will preface this post with a few undeniable facts as reminders to this campus regarding sexual violence. First, rape culture does exist throughout campus, thus sexual assault occurs throughout campus—and it is not limited to any part of campus. Second, addressing sexual violence is everyone’s responsibility—as a member of the Wesleyan community, this issue is your issue.
Recently, Mari Jarris ’14 and Chloe Murtagh ’15 have made bold moves in addressing sexual assault. In a fantastic post here on Wesleying, entitled “Don’t Assume ‘She’s Lying'”, they remind us:
We need to show that we take this issue seriously by combating rape culture on campus. We need to speak up when we hear responses such as “it seems like she’s creating a problem out of nothing” or “but she went home with him.” These reactions reveal three dangerous misconceptions. First, that there is a likelihood of false reporting (in reality, there is the opposite problem of significant underreporting). Second, and closely related to the first, is the tendency to blame the survivor. Third is the misconception that sexual assault is always perpetrated by strangers in unfamiliar places and accompanied by other physical violence (in fact, 90% of sexual violence on college campuses is perpetrated by someone the survivor knows).
This past week, the two launched a website, silence-is-violence.org, which serves as one online community for survivors to anonymously speak out about their experiences. The site also features quotes, submitted by any member of the Wesleyan community, that demonstrate how rape culture is perpetuated on campus through language. I highly recommend you check the site out—but this recommendation also comes with a strong trigger warning, as the site archives survivor testimonials and direct quotes.