The day that Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice was particularly hard and frustrating. It is difficult to see the way the country has responded to survivors telling their stories, claiming that men are under attack and should be careful in order to ensure they aren’t accused. The narrative should be focused on men carefully considering their actions to ensure they aren’t raping anyone or violating their consent. At times it has made me feel hopeless and as if my activism doesn’t have a point to it if nothing is ever going to change and attitudes will always remain oppressive. But no one ever said fighting for what is right would be easy. I have been told, however, that it will always be worth it.
I will continue to use my voice. I will continue to educate others about rape culture and ways to combat it. I will continue to reject the idea that “boys will be boys” because not only does this fail to hold men accountable, it suggests that they have no agency over themselves and also invalidates men who have been sexually assaulted. Sexual assault is not a women’s issue. It is a human rights issue. The rates of sexual assault in this country, especially on college campuses, are far too high. The confirmation of Kavanaugh feels like a setback, but it is not the end of the war. We must continue on because we have no other choice.
This is also a point in time where it is necessary to recognize my own privilege. The hopelessness and injustice that I feel because a system meant to protect me has failed me and every other survivor of sexual assault is not a new feeling for people of color. I am a white woman who has struggled with sexual violence and that is absolutely a valid struggle. However, moving forward, myself and other white women recognizing our privilege within this movement is vital to creating change.
I encourage you all to continue to raise your voices. On Oct. 23 at 7:00 p.m. in the Quad, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance will Take Back the Night. Take Back the Night is an annual event at Slippery Rock University that gives survivors a place to tell their stories, students the ability to march through campus to protest rape culture, and a chance for everyone to honor survivors and victims of interpersonal violence with a candlelit vigil. This event is extremely powerful and can help combat the hopelessness that a lot of people have been feeling lately. We can make a difference and it has to start small. Making our campus a safe and supportive environment for all students is the first of many steps to take.
Another aspect that is extremely important is voting in the upcoming midterm elections. Your vote is your voice, and yes, it truly does matter. These are your direct representatives who should have your issues and concerns in mind when making laws in Congress. Please make sure to be informed and vote on Nov. 6 (or by absentee ballot)! There are many online resources that are available to you to help with the process including vote.gov and vote411.org.