Confronting sexual assault as a community
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Last Friday, Sept. 28, ASSP and faculty members sponsored a gathering for all members of Seattle Pacific University’s community to support victims of sexual assault, and support one another in what has become a trying time for our country.
The event, officially titled “Solidarity Speakout,” provided an opportunity for faculty to open up about past trauma, and a space for victims and allies alike to come together.
The powerful event perfectly contrasted with ugly narratives that have been arising due to the nation’s renewed focus on sexual assault as a result of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
In all causes, forms and stages of life, sexual assault is a powerfully traumatic event in one’s life, and should not be experienced by any individual. No exceptions.
The fact that SPU’s leadership took something ugly, tragic and fractious and used it as an opportunity to create love, community and support gives us great hope in our university.
As a Christian university, we are called to see brokenness and bring grace and love into that situation. For students to see their professors and student leaders live out this practice is something of intangible value.
Now, we have a responsibility to ensure that this is not a one-time occurrence.
At SPU, we have to be vigilant in guaranteeing that our community is always a place of safety for people of all colors, identities and backgrounds.
Assault of any kind, no matter how small it may seem to others, cannot be tolerated on our campus, in our student body, and anywhere we have influence.
To go further, we ought to also create a community that is not only a space of safety, but a place of healing as well. Students at SPU should be encountered with an environment that is ready and willing to lift them up, offer support and encourage them through whatever situation they are going through.
If we accomplish these goals, not only will we become a community of true inclusivity, but we will also become an example.
We should rely on our faculty and leadership to ensure that these goals are met, but also on ourselves as students. We are in charge of the culture and environment we create.
How we act has powerful consequences, for better or for worse. Our nation’s crisis over the significance of sexual assault should serve as a calling to step into brokenness, courageously standing up for injustice.
As students of SPU, how our campus responds to the challenges our society poses is entirely up to us, and what we do can leave lasting legacies. Let’s leave a legacy we can be proud of, and stand up for others when they need it most.