This past year, I have been hearing about significant changes being needed at the AUC. I didn’t understand it. As someone who doesn’t go to a HBCU, the AUC seemed like a haven for black young adults to learn, grow, work and play. I was given the impression that going to such an institution was better than attending a PWI. But I guess the AUC is only a glass house. A glass house with a very thick, unbreakable glass.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve witnessed on social media students talking about rape victims whose allegations get swept under the rug at the AUC. I followed tweets as students accused a candidate running for SGA as a perpetrator of sexual assault. I’ve observed wondering how it could be “that bad” given its context within a larger problem that plagues our entire society.
I have watched and I hate to think that as black bodies are fighting to be seen, heard and protected in the whole of society, we are forced to do the same thing in our own black community.
Recently, an anonymous Twitter page was created by a Spelman student who said she was raped by some of her Morehouse brothers. She said she was forced to create the page in anonymity because of the victim blaming that pervades the AUC campus.
I reached out to someone I knew wanting to know more. Before today, I had sworn I didn’t personally know anyone who had been sexually assaulted. However, it was in our conversation that my friend revealed to me that she was a survivor. I was shocked.
How many victims don’t speak out?
I know it’s a very, very personal matter. People don’t go around sharing that they have been assaulted or raped, like it’s nothing. It’s a big deal. Which is why I think it needs to be talked about much more frequently.
I have heard brief mentions of incidents, like the time freshman year I was told a rather well-known girl was raped by a Georgia State basketball player. I also have known girls who were hazy on the details on how the consummation occurred, but was sure they didn’t initiate or exactly say yes to it.
I know for me, I have been in situations where I would have said “no” because I really didn’t want to have sex, but went along with it anyway.
I remember once at a party ending up in the bathroom with a boy. I was drunk. We were making out. He asked if we could have sex. I said no but he pleaded with me, unbuckling his pants. He put it in, but I pushed him away and that was that.
How many of us can say we have been in similar situations?
Often times, because of the rape culture in society, blame is placed heavily on the female (or male) victim’s shoulders. People often look at if they were drunk, what they wore, what they said, and what messages they were allegedly sending. Let’s be really clear here, rape (and assault) is a crime. The person that violates another is the perpetrator. This includes if the person said no, if the person was too drunk to give consent, and if the person was in an unconscious state.
If you have raped or sexually assaulted another person, then you took advantage of them. You took something from them that was not yours to take. You are not entitled to anything or anyone.
These are very important things to consider. I think a conversation needs to be had here more frequently. I think we need to be more proactive than reactive with this huge issue. I hate what’s happening to my sisters at the AUC. I am concerned that an institution in the city of Atlanta with such a profound legacy would not lead the pack in progressive actions and policies to help end this rape culture, but instead add to the cycle of it. A conversation needs to be had here. A change needs to come.