Amplify

In November of 2016, senior Emma Hyndman wrote an op-ed for The Santa Clara, SCU’s newspaper, calling for submissions for her new project, the Amplify Project. It was then launched in January of 2017.

Throughout her years here at Santa Clara, Emma has been very proactive in the area of sexual violence, from working with the Violence Protection Program – VPP for short – on campus to working in the sexual assault unit of the District Attorney’s office over the summer. It was at her internship there that she came up with the idea for her project.

“Similar to the Brock Turner case, there’s a time during the hearing where the victim or the survivor of sexual assault has the opportunity to speak publicly and say whatever s/he wants without being interrupted,” Emma said. “My goal for this project was to create a space to better support survivors of sexual assault.”

Emma created a blog (you can view it here) named the Amplify Project and began working with The Santa Clara to ask for stories written and submitted anonymously by survivors of abuse. She stressed the importance of maintaining anonymity of the survivors and described her role as “a facilitator between the blog and the newspaper” in order to maintain their anonymity. The name Amplify was chosen to give all those who have experienced sexual violence a space to share their stories. Emma added, “I’m not speaking for them, I want to help amplify their voices by giving them a platform to speak.”

The purpose of working with The Santa Clara is to provide editing feedback and to gain more awareness about the project by having a column dedicated to The Amplify Project stories. Emma said that her hope for the Amplify Project is for it to expand to incorporate stories about unhealthy relations, intimate partner violence that incorporates anything from physical to emotional abuse, stalking, submissions from friends, poetry and so much more.

As of right now, Emma is the only person that works on the blog and the only person who communicates with the survivors. Editors for the newspaper send her their comments and feedback that Emma then passes along to the survivors. She said, “Writing is very therapeutic and it’s all about finding the balance of putting the story out there in the public without exploiting it.”

It’s important to realize that everyone’s experience is different. Not everyone identifies as a survivor. For some, the aftermath is overwhelming. For others, they believe their experience is not the end. “I’ve learned that there’s a f*cked up narrative of a perfect victim and a perfect perpetrator,” Emma said. “My hope is that the survivors, or people who have experienced this, read a story and they realize that this sounds like what happened to them. But now they can name their experience and decide what they want to do about it.”

Sexual violence is becoming normalized and by starting this project, Emma is amplifying the conversation on campus. It’s important to maintain the momentum and continue talking about sexual violence.

 If you or you know someone who has experienced sexual assault, here are some resources:

  • The Amplify Project
  • Violence Prevention Program, or any other VPP member
  • Gillian Cutshaw- the assistant director of the Wellness Center and the advisor of VPP. She is a confidential resource. You can call her, but never have to start a report with her.
  • Off campus resource at the YWCA- address: 375 S 3rd St, San Jose, CA 95112; 24 rape crisis hotline: (800) 572-2782
  • Report to the Office of Student Life or to the Wellness Center, Title 9 Office - these are all non-anonymous reports
  • Ethicspoint.com, this is an anonymous service