Listen to those around you

Listen to those around you

Trigger warning: sexual assault.

Everyone deserves the right to use their voice in times of distress and hardship. People, especially those without privilege, deserve to be heard. Now is not the time, nor was it ever the time, to ignore, disbelieve, or shame the voices that are brave and vulnerable enough to speak up. When those who are disrespectful and ignorant towards people’s feelings are rewarded with a position in the highest court of the federal judiciary, it is silencing those very voices.

Brett Kavanaugh was recently sworn into the Supreme Court and during his trial, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who was sexually assaulted by him, came forward about her experience. The situation was handled immaturely and implied that sexual assault is not real or not important.

As we continue to hear about the controversial issues regarding Brett Kavanaugh, my heart aches for the other women who spoke up. They were strong enough to come forward and recount their traumatic experiences only to see their abuser gain support and a massive amount of power. His position allows him to make changes for the people of the United States for an unlimited number of years.

This terrifies me, knowing that he has publically silenced women’s voices and now his position could allow him to do that again. As young adults, we are learning and working towards being competent, intelligent, and mature individuals through the education and guidance of others. How are we supposed to feel comforted during times when those who do not display such maturity are compensated for making the decisions of utmost importance for the country?

This situation has brought to light one out of millions of cases of sexual assault. It is important to not only educate ourselves on how we can prevent sexual assault but understand that it is real and that it does happen. This is one of the main reasons why I am a part of the PIN (Prevention, Intervention Network) club on campus.

For me, PIN is a place where everyone’s voices are heard and feelings are validated during the most vulnerable and difficult situations. It is also a place where we grieve and extend our compassion to those we may not even know personally, but understand the importance of support from others. We must have compassion for each human and their experiences. During our weekly meetings for PIN, we are able to come together and talk about current issues and how we as young adults, students, staff, faculty, and humans are affected. These issues can range from myths regarding sexual assault to incidents that occur in our personal lives.

One of our main goals is to decrease the amount of sexual assault that can occur on a college campus and, in turn, increase the number of equipped and educated bystanders. We also strive to make all of our conversations survivor-centered. We educate ourselves each week on how we can become better and more knowledgeable bystanders. We also review the information we have regarding statistics, common reactions, or scenarios that play into how sexual assault has unfortunately become part of our society, that we must address. We revise and improve our bystander model to reach out to an audience that will change each time we present the information. We want to connect to those we do not know.

This is not an article to target those who have different political views, but rather this is an article to all humans. And because we are all humans, I have begun to crave even more truth, acceptance, and compassion. My hope is that we as a campus can become aware of the strife surrounding sexual violence; strife that has continued in the Kavanaugh case and in those who do not believe in sexual assault. Listen to those around you and let their voices be heard.

Sharada Weaver
Sharada Weaver
Written by Sharada Weaver

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