Are You There, Byron? It’s Me, Maia.

Content warnings: sexual assault, victim blaming, alcohol

Maia Holloway

I’m a survivor of sexual assault and I hate Hampshire College. After venting and ranting at my therapist about my resentment towards my school, I decided to go to a Restorative Justice meeting because I wanted to know if there were things being done that I could support. The Restorative Justice meeting only left me with more questions. But before I continue to rant, here are some things to think about:

  • The Area Coordinator who protected the RA who assaulted a fellow RA was present at the meeting
  • The College had a chance to fund a position for someone who could facilitate services for sexual assault survivors, Restorative Justice conferences, and work on making preventative measures; this position would pay $50,000 a year through the grant. Hampshire College rejected the funding.
  • Those who do work with Title IX have other jobs, as in, they can’t give all their energy to sexual assault prevention and supporting victims. Also, in my opinion, they do not have the training to support sexual assault victims.

 

The hearing I had my first year was traumatizing. I told my story so many times in a span of a few months so many times that it almost became a mantra, a chant. Each time I felt more and more deligitimized, more and more like I was “asking for it”, more and more that it was MY fault. My assault turned into a dream until it became a reality once again. And at the end I wasn’t fulfilled. I was still the girl that drank too much and didn’t say “no” enough. Byron called me in the middle of my summer, as I stopped eating and couldn’t sleep, that my abuser appealed the ruling of being suspended for a fucking semester, only one, and ended up leaving Hampshire all together. Aren’t you happy? Isn’t this what you wanted? No Byron, I wanted results. I wanted my abuser to be held accountable for what he did. Do you want to talk in the beginning of the fall semester to voice your concerns? No Byron, you twist people’s words and spend too much time on your craft beer blog to make me think you have the capabilities to understand compassion and trauma. But I get it, my abuser was a rich, white cis man who paid his tuition in full, was part of the “Social Entrepreneurship” program, and was down to not only give but make the big bucks. I, on the other hand, am a lower middle class black woman, who takes out a bunch of loans, studies in a department that hardly gets funding from our college, and will most likely never make big bucks that I would donate to Hampshire to make another over-priced building.

This college gives zero shits about sexual assault survivors. Zero. They could have accepted that grant for a position that could possibly help prevent sexual assault on campus and support the victims of sexual assault. They could hire people to work with Title IX so it doesn’t fall on the shoulders of staff and faculty that don’t have the time or experience to handle these situations. Although I know, at the end of the day I give this college $64,000+ so I would love to know where all that money is going since there are about 1,400 of us and, in total, that means the college makes roughly $90 million a year. I like to imagine that if there was a student on campus, quietly but efficiently, cutting people with a sword, what the administration would do. Would they hold a hearing? Would they ask the students who were cut to show their cuts for proof and describe in detail the pain that they were in? Would they tell the assaulter that they could stay on campus, possibly still cutting people, while there was a hearing to determine and analyze the cuts of the abused? Would they tell those who were cut to just put a band-aid on it, stop complaining, and pretend that they were never cut in the first place? No, they would kick that mother fucker out because cutting others with swords is a safety hazard; in fact, during fire drills they take people’s swords, swords that are usually around just for decorations and not to cut people. Yet our rapists on campus will continue to live on our campus and graduate. Sometimes this college makes me think that the cigarettes I smoke and the spliffs I roll are more dangerous than the men I lay in bed with, consensually and non-consensually.

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