I am not angry because some of the posters that were put up as part of the SOAR campaign triggered me and served as a sore reminder that sometimes we must compromise the comfort of survivors like me in the effort to raise awareness and prevent future sexual assaults.
I am furious that people defaced posters in a un-Haverfordian, ignorant, and threatening way. However, that is not what I am writing this post about.
The topic of this post is non-survivors who cite having a problem with the campaign because it makes them uncomfortable or sad. You SHOULD feel uncomfortable finding out that rapes happened on campus, maybe even in places where you feel at home. You SHOULD feel sad that too many of your classmates had an experience that they wish they could forget. The proper way to react to these feelings is to DO SOMETHING (like sign the petition to the deans to change the archaic sexual assault policies Haverford currently has).
The improper reaction is to blame those who remind you that assault happens. This is a form of victim-blaming. Taking down the posters or whining about the fact that it doesn’t make you feel good to remember that someone was raped where you live at best means that you are not doing your part to turn your emotions into something productive and at worst means that you are silencing those that are only speaking the truth.
This is in no way anger directed at those who are survivors and have a problem with the campaign because it triggers them. This is directed at those who would rather take down posters and forget about a problem than be proactive. This is directed at my friends who I was going to tell I was raped but now I don’t feel that I can because they were indignant that someone would remind them that people are assaulted on campus.
If you feel that the poster campaign was wrong-headed, then start another campaign that works to end rape in a way that you feel is more appropriate. But don’t direct your discomfort and anger toward survivors who reminded you that rape happens—direct it to those who assaulted them and the culture that enables violence and victim-blaming.