By Leslie Sachs ‘14Contributing Writer
Pomona Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault participating in Take Back the Night were heckled as they processed through Claremont McKenna College last week.
Beginning with a moment of silence and a candlelight vigil, the event was a peaceful demonstration to raise awareness about sexual assault and to remember victims. The demonstrators marched through all 5Cs, chanting a simple message “NO means NO and YES means YES.”
The march passed through North Quad and was about to clear the area, when a couple of individuals stepped out of the Boswell dorms and shouted, “That’s right, go back to Scripps where you belong.” One of the advocates later informed me that this was one of several negative comments made by individuals on CMC’s campus.
While this is not the first derisive comment I’ve heard directed at Scripps women, in this context it seems especially out of step with the values of the 5C community. Regardless of whether the intent of individuals making the comments was merely a mindless taunt or expressed their opposition to our position on sexual assault, it raises a question about the campus cultures.
I do not think that the actions by these individuals are representative of CMC students or students at any of the other colleges. I suspect the vast majority of 5C students and faculty find jokes about sexual assault an affront to human rights. I think most also agree that when one of our own perpetuates negative stereotypes about ANY of the 5Cs, it tarnishes us all.
Despite this, we must recognize that hateful statements of this sort on our campuses are too commonplace for comfort. It is time to stop treating such behavior as an ignorable nonevent. I believe we can promote the values of our academic community by taking the initiative to let those who express such contemptuous attitudes know that enmity for members of our community is not acceptable.
Sexual assault is a 5C issue, not that of one campus. There are students at each of the 5Cs that are working hard to change the culture around sexual assault and to make our environment safer for everyone. Sexual assault is not an easy issue to address. If we want to create a safer campus with more cohesive policies we need more communication between our student leaders and input from the study body. Regardless of what institution we each attend, we are all classmates, teammates and friends—let’s unite on this important issue.
Check out It Ends Here, Scripps’s sexual assault awareness club, or contact them at email@example.com to get involved. There will also be a Scripps chapter of Advocates starting in the fall—if you are interested in getting trained as a first responder contact Theresa Iker at TIker4240@Scrippscollege.edu.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted you can contact the Pomona Advocates at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pomona Advocates also has a great list of resources on their website: pomonacollegeadvocates.wordpress.com/contact-us/.