Letter from the Editors: Sexual Assault Awareness Week

Dear readers,

When we got the idea for this theme week, we were sitting in a breakout room at the Tech with our Executive Board for our weekly team meeting. We were discussing the recent U.S.A. Gymnastics case with Larry Nassar, and what that means for female athletes. We related it to the myriad other stories that are all too similar: Aziz Ansari, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, etc. Each of us were grappling with what to do with all of the information floating around.

We decided that we were going to take a week to devote our content, which is geared specifically toward college-aged women and written by them, to continue this conversation. Sexual assault, consent, relationship abuse, and sexual harassment are controversial topics to write about.

This issue is deeply important to both of us and hits closer to home than we’d like to admit. Through conversations and research, we’ve found that we aren’t alone. A majority of females at Temple can say #MeToo and not be lying about it. And that’s not even accounting for the male and non-gender conforming students.

So we used our gifts of writing, researching, listening, and relationship-building to focus on the survivors, not the perpetrators. These brave women submitted stories willingly to us because they wanted their voices to be heard. Writing about difficult life experiences is a coping mechanism and can ultimately lead to profound, excellent journalism, and we’re thankful for each of the writers that shared their insights with us this week.

Journalists get criticized every day for continuing to shed light on this international crisis. Maybe you’re tired of hearing about sexual assault. Maybe you think the media pays too much attention to it. Maybe you think we should be doing something more “worthwhile” for the cause. We’re sorry to hear that. But the fact of the matter is, as long as there are people that want to talk about it, we’re going to give them a safe and encouraging platform to do so.

We know that there is no “gray area” when it comes to consent. Frankly, it’s pretty clear cut. But through research and surveys, we found that not all Temple students agree. And it’s time to change that. So we used our platform, privilege, and gifts to continue the conversation of sexual assault and consent. Maybe, just maybe, the people that don’t understand will stumble upon one of our pieces and finally realize that sexual assault is no longer being tolerated.

HCXO,

Sarah Madaus and Colleen Byrne

President and Vice President of Her Campus Temple