A few months ago I wrote about two tactics of solidarity with a survivor of sexual assault.
I’m looking at some recent press and it turns out that neither was all that effective and may not be very survivor-centered.
Survivor-centered means that the focus of analysis and decision-making reflects the desires of the survivor. It is an ethical lens that is valuable in fighting against rape culture.
In the case of the fraternity rape of a Vanderbilt student who reported the incident. I had previously appreciated that the editor of the newspaper had held accountable the fraternity message board which encouraged retaliation against the survivor, calling her the “girl who ratted.”
Well that hasn’t stopped the survivor from experiencing a lot of harassment. Here in an interview she makes evident the retaliation she has received.
S: I’ve been approached by people I’ve never met before a number of times and verbally harassed. People have threatened to testify against me and say that I am crazy. I’ve also been approached a number of times in social settings and been yelled at and even booed by multiple people. Things that people have said to me were: ‘you suck,’ ‘we had so many parties planned that we can’t have now because of you,’ ‘do you really think that’s a reason to fuck over a whole fraternity,’ ‘you’re ruining all of their senior years.’ I’ve been called ugly, a slut, and a liar by people I’ve never met. They claimed to make sure every fraternity ‘blacklisted me and all of my friends.’ I was asked to leave a different fraternity and I’ve been labeled as a risk by some others.
I’d like to immediately clarify that these are the actions of individuals and I do not believe they reflect the fraternity or Greek Life as a whole. This is just my response to those who claim that I have not been retaliated against. These individual actions together comprise a larger, unacceptable culture that needs to change.I am also incredibly impressed by the kindness of others who haven’t been afraid to stand behind me.
Also, many are trying to discredit the incident because I had consumed alcohol. But if girls can’t walk into a fraternity after drinking without the fear of being sexually assaulted, that’s an issue. Alcohol does not excuse sexual assault, which is stated in Vanderbilt’s sexual misconduct policy.