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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Letter to the Editor: A student’s reaction to “rapist” chalking

D Group That Wrote The Rape Slogans Across Campus, Imagine that you have a secret in your past, something that only the very closest of your friends know. Something so dark, so personal, that you can’t even bring yourself to tell your family. Something that makes you so uneasy, that every time you think about it you become violently ill. Now imagine that you’re walking across campus, and in big, bold, bubble letters someone is forcing you to cope with that secret again. You stand still, shocked, and begin to shake. You feel like everyone is looking at you, wondering what’s wrong. It’s your greatest fear being realized. You run into the bathroom because you feel like you’re going to vomit. That secret is my secret. That terrible memory is my memory. It’s the memory of when I was sexually assaulted. And I have been coping with these terrors for the good majority of my time at Carleton. I can’t even describe the alienation or degradation I’ve suffered. But I believe I speak for almost all victims of rape when I say that the chalk messages around campus put up on Thursday are inappropriate, humiliating, and incredibly cruel. Take for instance the one in front of Sayles. “Carleton Coddles Rapists. Get Angrry! [sic]” It sounds like a pep-rally slogan. The misspelling doesn’t help either. But most of all, it sounds like the group that drew that thinks that Carleton is responsible for what happened to me. Guess what? No one is responsible for what happened to me except for the person who raped me. It took me years to learn not to blame myself or anyone other than the person who committed the act. Don’t take that away from me. Don’t tell me it’s Carleton’s fault. Carleton helped me deal with everything that happened. The Wellness Center helped me regain my strength and sanity. Don’t tell me Carleton coddles rapists. And the last part of the phrase? “Get Angrry!”? Rape, remember, is not sex. It’s violence. It’s an extreme act of ruthless brutality. “Get angry?” Did you ever stop to think that anger is the root of rape? There is one final slogan I want to look at. In front of the townhouses it says, “Do YOU Feel Safe at Carleton?” You know what? For years I didn’t. I would spend time alone in my room after the incident, afraid, terrified, feeling very marginalized. But with Carleton’s help I began to feel better. And safer. Don’t take that away from me. You want to raise awareness of sexual misconduct and assault? I agree. We should raise campus awareness. But don’t sensationalize it. Don’t write it in big colorful bubble letters in front of Sayles. Most of all don’t do it at the expense of the sanity and comfort I’ve worked so hard to get back. You alienated me, and I’m sure you alienated other victims with your unfair and merciless attention-seeking. We don’t want to be forced into the limelight. We don’t want our problems to be your problems. They are not up for campus discussion. Leave us alone. If we want to talk about it, we will. As for you, whoever you are, you embarrassed me, and for that I will not forgive you.

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