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Courage: Response to Sexual Assault at Amherst

It takes courage to speak, to share opinions and experiences. Some of us are born with a tough outer shell, and for others it takes time to build and grow. Some people just develop callouses over time to help them make it through. We live in a dangerous world full of challenges, adventures, and struggle, but that is the human experience. However, some struggle more than others. Angie Epifano has been dealt a heavy hand.  If you have not yet read her opinion piece in The Amherst Student, you should. There is no excuse not to experience what could be one of the most important pieces of writing for our generation.

Angie Epifano was raped. She was more than raped: she was raped, ignored, emotionally battered and strained. Her opinion article entitled, “An Account of Sexual Assault at Amherst College,” not only described her rape, but the process and procedures she had to go through after. What makes her writing stand out above other similar stories is she did everything right, what we are told as college students to do, incase something like this ever happens. She did everything right and still got beaten down and abused.

Angie was an Amherst student at the time of her assault. She was at first, in denial about the situation. She escaped to California and it was not until she had to head back east that the reality of May 25, 2011, the day she got raped, finally hit her. She decided to dive into her work, however she still could not forget, could not fathom what this person had done to her. Angie did what most college students are told to do in this situation: see a counselor. In fact, over her time in recovery, she saw many counselors and members of the Amherst administration. But, those people did nothing but demean her. They tortured her with questions, almost did not let her back in to the school after they made her go to a rehabilitation center and tried to push the entire situation under the rug. Everything about this chain of events makes my stomach hurt and body shake.

Sexual assault is not jut an Amherst incident; it happens everywhere, even our “safe” little campus at Skidmore. There was an incident two years ago that still have students unnerved. But that is just one situation, one challenge. The two victims, like Ms. Epifano were brave and courageous, but not everyone can be. Sexual assault is sadly common on campuses. It is hidden and kept secret, the underbelly of our beautiful college, some would say.

Rape and sexual assault should not be present on this campus. There is no reason for it and it should not be tolerated. If something happens to you, to anyone, be brave. Be brave no matter what. It can only help.

If something has happened to you or someone you know, do not be afraid to reach out to the Skidmore administration. There are several options for those who need to talk: Counseling and Health Services, The Center for Sex and Gender Relations, Campus Safety, Administrative On-Call System, Saratoga Domestic Violence Services, Saratoga Rape Crisis Hotline, and Residence Hall Staff.

My name is Elizabeth Reisen and I am a freshman at Skidmore College! I grew up in Summit, New Jersey, love anything related to chocolate and can buggy down with the best of them!!!
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