a student-run publication that seeks to provide space for voices that are not being heard on our campus. we are grounded by politics that are radical, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, anti-homophobic, anti-ableist, and anti-transphobic (against all forms of oppression) and that reject the structural neo-liberal paradigm that characterizes middlebury college and its official publications
I am angry. But I am also exhausted.
Last night as I stood outside of a party, I overheard an older student singing a triumphant “drink, party, rape, repeat” mantra with his cup of beer in hand. Over and over again he yelled the sadistic chant that his friends soon joined in on. Whether he was joking or not, it was terrifying. I lit a cigarette to try and calm myself down. I quickly rejoined my friends and started walking away towards another party. On our way, we ran into three of my girlfriends who were surrounded by five or six boys they didn’t know blocking the sidewalk in front of them. I quickly pushed through but kept looking back, hoping they were safe. I tried to reassure myself that they’d be fine, that sexual assault doesn’t happen that easily and not at Middlebury.
The thing is, though, that it does happen here. I am furious when I think about just how many of my friends, both men and women, have been sexually assaulted and live with that secret. How my best friend at Middlebury lives on the same hall as our former friend who assaulted her one night. How this girl “owes it” to my friend to hook up with him because he’s been really nice to her. I am angry.
But I am also exhausted. Trying to step in to shut down every rape joke I hear without presenting myself as a survivor is so tiring. I am beaten down and on edge living in this culture that accepts rape, especially when I feel like someone else is constantly breathing down my neck. I didn’t even know him. We met at my friend’s college one night and the next day I was weeping as I bought PlanB from the drug store. All I have is a name and the outline of his figure in the dark. Somehow this stranger has managed to infect my whole life. He is in my room when I cry myself to sleep, he’s walking behind me when I run out of dark parties, and he’s hovering over my shoulder when I think about kissing someone else.
1 in 5 women will experience attempted or completed sexual assault in college (CDC.gov). It’s a difficult topic to broach because the people most affected are often those who want to talk the least about it. Thank you to this college for providing reactive services like MiddSafe and free counseling. But tell me, when is Middlebury going to start acting proactively to change rape culture and stop forcing survivors to live on the front lines? Let’s talk about consent and healthy masculinity and empowering silenced voices, and let’s maintain the conversation throughout the Middlebury experience.
I am angry. But I am exhausted.