Content warnings: sexual assault
To Whom It May Concern (the Administration):
I am a student affected by the events of Tuesday afternoon. I came into a space that I did not know would be incredibly unsafe for me and my fellow survivors of sexual assault. I stayed in solidarity with my friends who were incredibly brave to share their stories, as well as to hear the black students and students of color who spoke to their experiences in this racist institution, but it hurt me deeply to be in that space. I carried a mattress out and stood in front of the library with dozens of my fellow survivors and their supporters as we cried and mourned and (re)experienced trauma and processed what had occurred in that room. YOU did not organize safe spaces for survivors of sexual violence or for students of color. It was the work of Adisa and students, of Jordan and students, of Emily AND students, of Liza AND STUDENTS who jumped into action after that meeting to create safe spaces for students who were unprepared to deal with the trauma that was inflicted upon us today. The administration did NOTHING to support us—further proving our point that the administration is racist, anti-black, and anti-survivor, and will co-opt and exploit work done by students on this campus (especially the work done by students of color).
What are you going to do now? I am hurt. I am experiencing my trauma over and over again. I cannot do my schoolwork, I can do nothing but sit with my fellow survivors and students and go over (again and again) the experience of today and how the administration has failed us yet again. WE NEED TIME TO HEAL. Cancelling classes is not enough—students need to find places of healing, places of education, places where they can unlearn the racism, anti-blackness, colonialism, sexism, and transmisogyny which have been imparted to us throughout our lives and throughout our time at Hampshire. Where are my extensions for my assignments? For my final papers? How am I supposed to move on with my life when this college allowed me to walk into a space which was inherently unsafe for survivors of sexual violence? When I am experiencing flashbacks and reliving experiences that I thought I had escaped?
Your “task-forces” are not enough. WHO WILL BE IN CHARGE? It is clear that the individuals in the positions that would oversee these task forces have failed us. I refuse to work with administrators or staff who have blatantly ignored or silenced survivors, ignored the needs of students of color, respond to blatant acts of racism and anti-Semitism with meetings upon meetings and no action, and who allow rapists and abusers to walk the paths and hallways of our campus without any respect to the trauma experienced by students like me who are forced to relive their abuse EVERY DAY. What are you doing to educate yourselves? Will Byron be taking a class in intersectional feminist theory this fall? Will every administrator be taking critical race theory courses? How the fuck can you support us if you know nothing about us?
EXPEL RAPISTS. How loud do we have to yell? THIS CAMPUS IS UNSAFE. I see rapists and abusers every day, and I CAN’T AVOID THEM. They are among us, and every fucking member of this campus is complicit in allowing rapists to be comfortable in this space unless they are yelling as loud as we are. I am done. I am done with having no safe spaces at this school. I am done with seeing my friends dealing with trauma. I’m tired of watching them go without appropriate support because our counseling services are understaffed, and I’m tired of the few staff members who support us having their jobs threatened because they don’t make spaces safe for rapists. I am tired of survivors being silenced and unable to share their story because their rapist threatens to file retaliation Title IX cases against survivors. I am SO GODDAMN TIRED of being alienated from my community because I don’t want to associate with friends of rapists. I AM TIRED OF SEEING SURVIVORS LEAVING HAMPSHIRE BEFORE THEIR ABUSERS. I AM TIRED OF BEING KILLED BY MY COLLEGE. AM I LOUD ENOUGH YET?