by anonymous, ’13
Trigger Warning: Rape, Sexual Assault
I don’t know if I said no
But I didn’t say yes
Hands in fists, belly up
Torn from sleep
Awoken from ignorance
By Joanna Poppyfield, student
Trigger Warning: Contains details of sexual assault
I am a firm believer in the power of open, honest dialogue as a prerequisite to healing. Not just personal healing, but collective healing. At Stanford, we need to improve dialogue around sexual assault and rape if we want to truly beginning to address the fact that we have a real problem with sexual assault and rape on our campus and to heal the wounds that afflict far too many of us.
Just a few facts to put this all in perspective (all obtained from the Stanford Daily):
by Leow Hui Min Annabeth, ’16, Sara Maurer, ’16, Diego Argueta, ’13, Arianna Wassmann, ’13, Monica Alcazar, ’13, + Teresa Caprioglio, ’14
Last month, The Stanford Daily published an article by executive editor Brendan O’Byrne, “Culture of silence surrounds sexual assault.” As victims, survivors, and allies, we find ourselves shocked, upset, and outraged at the article—at the methods used in contacting sources, at the framing of the story, and at the failure to substantially address real issues surrounding sexual violence on campus.
The writing of the article itself was founded on ethically dubious practices. One of the methods which O’Byrne used was to cold-email strangers whom he knew were possibly rape survivors, and to proceed without any warning to ask for their thoughts on the Alternative Review Process. While there may have been no malice in this act, there was certainly a lack of sensitivity which made him ill-suited to write on such a sensitive topic.
A trigger warning, while helpful to many victims and survivors, merely cautions readers that the following subject material can be psychologically distressing and triggering. It does not give the writer licence to proceed from that point onwards with needlessly, egregiously graphic and gory details. Yet that is precisely what happens in this article, which begins in medias res with a painfully and unnecessarily elaborate description of a rape. That description—especially a description framed by an outside party, rather than given first-hand—serves no purpose other than to shock and sensationalise an extremely personal experience of raw and humiliating vulnerability. Continue reading
by Viviana Arcia, ’13
Disclaimer: Women are more likely to be survivors of sexual violence than are men. As such, I will refer to perpetrators by male pronouns and survivors by female pronouns. However, domestic violence and sexual assault affects men, women, transgender, and gender non-conforming people.
The recent article on sexual assault on campus has brought an often taboo subject back into campus dialogue. And, like almost every time the subject is back in public consciousness, two opposing and fiercely vocal sides begin heated and passionate debates, often failing to openly take in what the other says and feels, more often than not failing to reach a comfortable middle ground.
As an advocate for survivors of rape and domestic violence for four years and as someone who is close friends with numerous survivors, I myself have very often been dragged into these debates and, in the meantime, made enemies, gained allies, and learned difficult but ultimately fulfilling lessons in engaging “the other side.” Two very important lessons I’ve learned and would hope that others who engage in these discussions do as well is the idea of empathy and compassion.
One in three women will be raped or abused and one in six men will have been survivors of sexual assault/abuse in their lifetime. As such, you are guaranteed to have met a survivor, although most won’t readily identify as such. However, these statistics have failed to affect much of Stanford’s campus culture regarding rape and domestic violence, and it is this culture which I believe holds the most power in reducing the number of violent acts that we perpetrate against each other. Continue reading