Monday, September 29, 2008

Running out of digits

By Chloe Angyal
Looking back on a conversation with a very dear friend this weekend, I came to a jarring realization: I can no longer count on one hand the number of people in my life who are survivors of sexual assault.

The oft-reported 1-in-4 statistic for college campuses has caused a good deal of controversy, and I can’t say with any certainty how accurate it is. But I am certain that the number of people in my life who have been sexually assaulted is unacceptable to me, as it should be to everyone.

A realization like the one I had this weekend might have been easier to dismiss if I were surveying a large network of friends and friends-of-friends, but I’m not.

These aren’t acquaintances; they’re close friends, roommates, family members and confidantes. These aren’t promiscuous people; they’re smart, sensible, responsible and respectable people who are survivors of the ultimate violation, and my own personal worst fear. They certainly aren’t all women; sexual assault happens to men, too.

And they aren’t unusual in any way; except for their remarkable strength of character, they are ordinary people. They are people you know, and they are everywhere.
Sexual assault isn’t a one-off occurrence and it isn’t “something that happens, but not here.” It happens here, it happens often and it happens to people who you – yes, you - know and love.
It’s time to do something about sexual assault before we all run out of fingers to count on.

If you or someone you know are a survivor of sexual assault, the following resources are available on campus:
SHARE
Counselling and Psychological Services (3rd floor of McCosh)

And off campus:
Womanspace
RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)

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