I’ve remained relatively silent online about the Brock Turner case. I’ve felt speechless about this subject. What more could I add to this dialogue that hasn’t already been said by other writers and courageous survivors?
A few weeks have passed since the story broke. I was in Washington D.C. attending a summit with fellow incoming and outgoing university Student Body Presidents when Buzzfeed published the heartbreaking article. Disgust. Anger. Sadness. Frustration. These were the emotions so many of us experienced in reaction to the letter by the Stanford survivor that we read over, and over again until the words “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today” played in our heads like a broken record.
I am not a survivor of sexual assault. But, I know one too many people who are. I am saddened to admit my advocacy work on the issue is, quite frankly, sub par. In my time at USC, we launched a campaign in parallel to the White House’s It’s On Us movement. We called it “Trojans Respect Consent.” We had thousands of likes on our Facebook page, I gave press interviews, and wrote passionate statuses. But, did my work have any real impact besides a flashy photo campaign or social media presence? No. Not at all. It wasn’t until I met with survivors and activists that I understood how intricate this issue is and how much learning I had to do.
They taught me awareness is only step one — we aren’t going to solve this unless we change policy.