“In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.”

~Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery

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Standing up.

10 thoughts on “Standing up.

  1. I once confronted two universities and a city mayor for the same atrocity… It was all about their image. So I stood alongside the victims and when they couldn’t reach validation and left I did as well. We couldn’t form the critical mass to deal with it so we learned… That you are already a part of a dysfunctional system if you continue stay within knowing the atrocities and carrying only a small voice; so we left but only after the truth was out in the open. This cause is valid!

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  2. As an alum, I’m so proud of you all. This is not easy and I’m so sorry you even have to do this. Best of luck to you…if you need help, reach out to alumni! We are more than willing to support current students. Much love.

    Kari ’13

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  3. I appreciate what you all are doing, and am proud of you all for doing it, not just for the legal support through process, but for the lasting effects that sexual assault can create. Sexual assault and trauma is a major impact on a person’s mental health, and although there aren’t specifically trained trauma counselors at St. Olaf, the training on trauma and the generalist type approach that most college counselors have, is more than adequate to work through these types of concerns. Now that being said, there aren’t enough counselors. The wait time at college counseling centers throughout the country are unacceptable. The centers themselves are ridiculously understaffed and underfunded, with the counselors and interns who practice there overextending themselves to try to see clients as regularly as they can. Boe house is a great resource and should be used as such, but it could be doing so much more, and that’s not the fault of Boe house or the psychologists that work there. Institutions are the reason why counseling centers are understaffed, underfunded, and overworked. Give these victims of sexual assault, students who are socially anxious, students with severe depression and suicidal thoughts, the support they need by staffing enough people to meet the needs of the students. Sorry to soapbox here, but this is a compounding issue regarding something that needs to be highlighted during these times. Standing up for you and for your mental health.

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  4. Hi,

    I spoke on a panel last year and some of my experiences were eerily similar to what has been described here. Contradictory policies (clearly meeting preponderance of evidence, since the perpetrator was found guilty of sexual harassment, AND witnesses in the case were intentionally harassing me, but he never received any punishment). A res life staff member once apologized to a room of RAs for having to talk about sexual assault because it was a “bummer,” and different staff members (NOT faculty, let’s be clear) openly discussed my case with one another (another thing that was clearly against policy). I’ve tried to discuss this post-grad, but seem to get nowhere concrete with any complaints, as usual. I would love to submit a full anonymous story about this but this is a lot to take in, so for now, just let me say this:

    I am moved by what you are doing. I only wish I could be there to help (class of ’15), but I’m glad I’ve graduated. I have gone through this system and worn it to bits with questions, only to face apathy and the unspoken expectation that I be a “good girl” and not start anything with the multiple bullies who threatened and harassed me during my case and got away with slander completely unscathed. I know firsthand how hard it is, and how much institutionalized sexism and victim blaming you have had to face, and will have to face. And it’s not fair, and it still makes me angry. I’m sure it does the same to you. It was not your fault. Your emotions are valid. And it is time for justice.

    Let me know if there is anything that I and other alumni activists can do.

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  5. Any St. Olaf alumni reading this and interested in discussing how best to support the current students fighting for their right to a safe, harassment free campus supported by the administration please join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1725675367647472/ or search “St. Olaf College Alumni For Sexual Assault Policy Change” on facebook. Let’s figure out our next steps and be part of the dialogue on campus because we are Oles and sexual assault has no place in our community.

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  6. St. Olaf

    Unfortunately higher education is big business that is allowed to set up their own private criminal and judicial systems. Because crime and safety statistics impact a college’s rankings and ratings which impact enrollment and donors, they have a clear conflict of interest. It is in their best business interest that crimes go under reported and complaints are ruled as unsubstantiated. All criminal and judicial matters need to rest solely with our publicly accountable municipal, county and state systems. If higher ed was not big business there is no way we would tolerate this nor burying a generation in overwhelming, nonproductive debt. TAGG

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  7. I am an alumnus of St. Olaf 1968. I was sexually harassed and abused by a faculty member during my years in school. I have spent years since that time feeling anger–mainly at myself–for never reporting these incidents. I am interested in hearing from others who have experienced similar abuse from a faculty member. It would be nice to not feel alone.

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