An open letter to the Harvard 19: Do Better

From Kamilah Willingham (the whole letter is here):

The message you’re sending is clear: don’t bother reporting unless you have a written confession, a witness, and — oh, wait, we had those things! This raises a great question, actually: what would it take for you to believe a sexual assault survivor?

. . . If you believe that people should not refrain from undressing and probing the bodies of unconscious peers, you have no business teaching law. The notion is insulting to the man you defend, as well as anyone who prefers not to be fingered while they’re asleep.

. . . I am tired of being treated as if I don’t matter. I am hurt by how much more easily you believe a man when he says “she’s lying” than a woman when she says “he sexually assaulted me, and I deserve better.” I am angry with you for forcing me, as my assailant did, to assert my value. But, most importantly, I am not alone. I am only one of the increasing number of survivors who reject the silence that you have endorsed in this situation and are trying to impose. You will not succeed in silencing my story — I’m just one of many survivors in our community whose very real pain you will have to reckon with.

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