Dear members of the Kalamazoo College community,
As we come to the end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we hope that you will join us on May 7 at 7pm in Dewing 103 for “The Hunting Ground,” a new documentary on campus sexual assault. S3A, Sister Circle, POWER, and the YWCA will provide information on resources both on and off campus, and Deb Rose and Kenlana Ferguson from the counseling center and Cathy Brown, Director of Victim Services at the YWCA, will facilitate an informal discussion after the film.
Recent studies suggest that one in five women and one in sixteen men will be sexually assaulted during college; college-age women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than women in any other age group. As disturbing as they are, these statistics are widely considered to be low estimates, because many students — and perhaps most students — never report sexual assault to campus authorities or law enforcement. At a minimum, then, these figures suggest that 160 women and 37 men of K’s current student body will be targets of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. Even more shockingly, two-thirds of perpetrators of sexual assault are repeat offenders, and the average perpetrator on our campus will commit not one, but six assaults. Furthermore, since the percentage of college students affected by sexual assault has not diminished over time, we daily work side-by-side with faculty and staff members who are also survivors of campus rape. To believe that Kalamazoo College is somehow exempt from these nationwide patterns is not just naïve, but dangerous.
Sexual violence is systemic and structural, and we need sustained critical reflection on the relationship between intimate, historical, and institutional violence. Any attempt at prevention must consider this continuum of violence, as well as a spectrum of preventative actions. As a community we are responsible to each other for this, at the least. The heart of this process requires us to envision the space we want to share — and create — together. To begin this process we must learn how to identify violence, to take responsibility, and to make a choice (to act or to ignore). Please join us on May 7 as an initial step in this process.
The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Affinity Group