Allies: Feedback From Within the Oxy Community
October 15, 2012
We recently received this email from a student at Oxy who wishes to remain anonymous. Read on to hear to hear about the problems regarding sexual assault at Oxy from the perspective of a student, RA, and ally.
“I just wanted to say that I’m really really happy that you all (whoever you are) put this together. I think it’s about time that this was addressed. The Oxy administration is often very slow to act. Allowing for people to anonymously express their emotions and stories is not only empowering to survivors but also a huge eye opener to those that need to be more supportive to them- including the Administration. As students, we are educated about this all the time- from the day we set foot on campus during Orientation. But what we don’t realize is that each scary statistic and number represents a person with emotions, feeling, and a body- not some abstract concept. These stories make us understand how this problem isn’t some issue somewhere else in the world. No. It’s taking place right here at Oxy. To real people. To our classmates, neighbors, and friends. This is something that we have to change.
Having been an RA for 2 years, I have experienced first hand working with sexual assault survivors as well as with the school. It’s not that they don’t care. To the contrary, I have met some wonderful Oxy staff members who really care about the well-being of the students. But, unfortunately, that there are many different ways and staff members through which the policy is implemented. It has become inconsistently applied, and, clearly in a scary number of cases, insensitive to the emotional and physical needs of the survivor. Those that choose to get help should have it easily available in a trusting, supportive, and judgement-free environment.ALL the staff that may have anything at all to do with the sexual assault conduct process, including legal advisers- not just the core Conduct Staff- should be trained on how to be sensitive and supportive.
While I cannot sympathize with the traumatizing accounts that many have been brave to tell due my own privilege, I can most certainly empathize with them and recognize that as a male I never have to worry about my safety in the same way that my mother, sister, and female friends are forced to. I only hope that I can be as much of a supportive friend and ally as possible and use my role as a male to stop sexual violence at the source. I would love it if you could add a page for allies so we know how best to be there for our friends who are survivors and how to advocate against violence among our male (and female) peers.
I just wanted to thank you and say that what you’re doing is so so seriously important and needed for the Oxy community.” [Our emphasis added. Posted with permission from the author.]
In related news, look out for an Allies page coming soon!
Want to share your thoughts or suggestions? Email us at OSAcoalition@gmail.com.