***This post contains several mentions of sexual assault and a story of sexual assault***
If you walk through the library, your eye will probably be caught by the large “#MeToo at SJU” sign hung upon the wall near the entrance. This project, organized by Johanna Neece ‘19, has collected submissions from SJU students of their personal experiences with sexual misconduct. Narratives are still being collected via a QR code also displayed. Since the first fourteen were posted, even more have been added. All of the submissions are anonymous to protect the survivors and to ensure that students feel comfortable sharing their experiences.
I was familiar with a student who told me she submitted her experience of sexual assault and she was kind enough to talk to me about her experience and how she came to know about the project.
“I found out about it on Instagram when I saw it on someone’s story and that they were still taking submissions. What happened to me took place only a few days before I knew about the project. At first I didn’t know if I wanted to submit my story because I was really scared. But eventually I felt like I had to share what had happened to me not only because I wanted to help people who may have had a similar experience, but also because I just wanted to get it off of my chest. It had happened so recently that I just needed to get it out.”
I asked her what she thought of the project and how she felt seeing her own submission on the wall.
“I think it’s a really awesome thing that’s happening. More stories are up almost every time I go through the library which is so empowering but so, so terrifying at the same time. These people shouldn’t have gone through these things in the first place. It’s horrible that this is something that so many people have experience with on this campus. But the fact that we’ve all come forward and shared our experiences, it’s really powerful.
“When I first saw mine up there it didn’t feel like it was me saying it. I felt like I was reading someone else’s experience, not my own. It feels a little scary knowing that the story of my assault is up there for everyone to read about, but that’s kind of the point. To let people know that it’s ok to share what happened and to tell anyone who went through something similar that you aren’t alone.”
The Google form collecting submissions can be found here and will continue to accept stories through the rest of the semester. The stories will remain in the library atrium until the end of the fall 2018 semester.
Students who have been affected by sexual violence can contact resources found here.