For me, this edition of The Collegian is the most important one we will put out this year.
The topic of sexual assault is something that people hate talking about. Each story is somehow pushed under the rug because people want to avoid the topic. It makes people uncomfortable. But that is the exact reason why we are talking about it. The past two months have made the talk of sexual assault a major issue and I don’t want it to go away. I want the conversation to continue. This isn’t just some trending topic that disappears away in a week. This is a crucial subject that always needs to be talked about, and I hope this edition does exactly that.
I interviewed two women about their experiences with being sexually assaulted. Those interviews and those stories will stay with me forever. When I say that their struggles hit me, I mean it. These two women have gone through so much, and it kills me to hear them recount how someone took advantage of them. It makes me sick to even think about it.
The reason I think I’m connected to the stories is because I personally know these women. I’ve known both of them almost my whole life. I consider them my friends. And to hear what they had to endure, what they had to fight through, it sends my emotions into a whirl.
Hearing them say the details of their trauma sent two main emotions through my body. At first I become heartbroken. My heart hurts for them because I hate that they had to endure that pain. I just want to give them a hug and thank them for letting me have the honor of hearing their story. I am truly and utterly grateful.
But the second emotion that washed through me was pure anger. To the horrible human beings (if they can even be called that) who hurt these girls and put them through hell, I just want to throw a chair at them. It just makes me so mad that these men could be so selfish and horrible that they would hurt these two women without thinking twice. I’m getting so flustered that I can’t even write how angry I am.
These women have gone through so much but are overcoming it everyday. They are focusing on their futures and creating a life that they are proud to live. They seriously inspire me. I’m so proud to know these girls and I’m so happy that they have taken this horrendous situation, and made it their life goal to prove that it won’t stop them.
I hope that all of you readers read the stories and let them register. It’s a lot to take in and sometimes our own brains want to reject the messages, but don’t let it. Actually read and comprehend the stories, and understand their struggles. But then, take those stories and let them inspire you to keep going. Any person’s story that deals with sexual assault is important in every way.
Hear them, see them, feel them. These survivors are inspirations.
Tabitha Barr is a Nickerson freshman studying Media Communications and Production