Sexual Safety and Support Alliance, commonly known as S3A, is the Kalamazoo College peer-to-peer support alliance that offers resources for those affected by sexual assault. This winter, in an effort to be able to reach more people, they reinstated Cavern Hours where an S3A member is available to discuss experiences and questions surrounding sexual assault.
“We’ve done it in the past but now we’ve gone back to it because we found it to be great for creating a space on this campus for healing around these issues and it fosters a place where dialogue can occur about this issue in whatever way, and also provides a space for S3A members to center themselves in why we’re doing what we’re doing,’’ Isabelle Ciaramitaro K’16, a member of S3A, said.
S3A took other step to try to make themselves more approachable. Signs are posted throughout campus listing each member’s phone number and e-mail address so students can contact them for support 24 hours a day. On February 26, S3A will be hosting the Community Reflection to discuss acquaintance sexual assault and harassment at K.
“I think one of the priorities of S3A right now is to brainstorm and develop ideas of how we can reach all members of the community — men, women, gender non-conforming people, people from all different racial backgrounds and ethnicities in a conversation,” Ciaramitaro said. “It makes me excited to be a part of a team that’s thinking that way and not thinking about this issue as being just a white woman’s issue but something much greater than that.”
According to Ciaramitaro, sexual assault is connected to power structures such as white supremacy, patriarchy and heteronormative society.
“I realized throughout my first year of college that rape and sexual assault was not this event that rarely happened, that it’s not just a stranger jumping out from a bush, that it’s something much bigger than that,” Ciaramitaro said. “It made me so uncomfortable to not be actively fighting it and actively trying to foster community so I applied for the position.”
Ciaramitaro took action to fight sexual assault and values her experiences from S3A.
“It’s made me a better listener and [allowed me to] understand the value of being quiet and listening to another person,” Ciaramitaro said. “I’ve learned that tragedy can unite people and trauma is something that everyone experiences in a variety of ways and when we listen to each other we’re able to allow it to unite us versus isolating us.”