Amherst’s Angie Epifano responds to SVU

Amherst’s Angie Epifano responds to SVU

I do realize that SVU should be commended for putting college sexual assaults into the cable TV spotlight, but, honestly, at what cost was it done? They will capitalize off of the episode, go on their merry ways and never have to think or worry about us Survivors again. Id nothing else, the ending should have more accurately reflected the continuous battle against colleges that Survivors face. Instead of ending the episode with such finality, it should have been left open, reminding people that the fight against corrupt colleges is never ending.


Know Your IX

Know Your IX is a campaign that aims to educate every college student in the U.S. about his or her rights under Title IX by the start of the Fall 2013 academic term. Armed with information, survivors will be able to advocate for themselves during their schools’ grievance proceedings and, if Title IX guarantees are not respected, to file a complaint against their colleges with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. When colleges are confronted with their students’ knowledge and thirst for justice, they will be forced to take proactive steps to end sexual violence, ensuring every student a safe educational environment.


Harvard Reaction to Amherst Story

Harvard Univ. also felt the impact of Epifano’s story, overwhelmingly passing a historic referendum to create an affirmative definition of consent, clarify policy-related issues and provide more funding for education and sexual assault prevention programs with 85 percent of the vote. While the referendum was not binding, Assistant Dean of Student Life Emelyn dela Pena is working with student leaders to carry out the goals of the referendum. Kate Sim, a junior who helped lead the effort for the referendum said that Epifano’s op-ed helped energize the campaign.

“We were organizing before Angie’s article, but it definitely triggered response from the student body. Her story was so compelling and really brought a sense of urgency. It’s difficult not to see rape culture at play when reading Angie’s story,” said Sim.

Read more: Harvard Reaction to Amherst Story

[Crimson] Sexual Assault Referendum Makes UC Ballot

By Michelle Denise L. Ferreol, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

When students vote for Undergraduate Council president this fall, they can also cast a vote calling on Harvard to revise its policies for handling sexual assault.

Thanks to an online petition that garnered the 670 signatures required by the Council to create a ballot question, voters may indicate their approval of a long list of changes to Harvard’s practices.

The referendum calls for Harvard to endorse the concept of “affirmative consent” to sex, more clearly define “mental incapacitation” that renders a person unable to consent, adopt BGLTQ-inclusive language in its assault policies, and increase the transparency of the case review process.

Kate Sim ’14, who created the successful petition along with Pearl Bhatnagar ’14, described the referendum as “a signal of our agency as students in claiming our mental and physical safety on campus.”

Launched early Thursday morning, the petition garnered more than 300 undergraduate signatures in its first 12 hours online and achieved the 670-signature target Friday evening.

Bhatnagar said that the response indicates broad student interest in changing sexual assault policies, and UC Student Initiatives Committee Chair Nicholas W. Galat ’13 added that the upcoming vote will reinforce that.

“Taking this issue to a referendum will give the UC a more credible stance on what the students want and will allow us to directly say that we do speak for the students,” Galat said.

The last time the University made substantial changes to its sexual assault policies was in 2003. After two stranger rapes—the first in 12 years—were reported at Harvard over the summer, and a former Amherst College student made waves nationwide by publishing an essay on the school’s insensitive response to her rape, Bhatnagar said Harvard should be reconsidering those policies now.

“In light of the recent reviews that our peer institutions have pursued, this is a chance for Harvard to improve upon the safety mechanisms that it already has in place for its students,” she said.

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[Crimson] Justice for Sexual Assault Victims

“If victims of sexual assault do not have faith in the integrity of the system charged with handling the incident, it is likely that the rates of reportage will fall below their already low level. The ensuing sense of isolation will likely cause victims   to feel disempowered and abandoned.

College administrators should be held to a much higher standard than they currently are. The administrators at Amherst need to fundamentally change the way they deal with students so as to provide respectful support to victims in this already difficult process, rather than adding yet another series of obstacles to the situation. We hope to see Amherst drastically revise its policies to reflect the absolute importance of treating sexual assault victims respectfully, and that any college dealing with similar issues to revise their policies drastically as well. In the end, there’s so much stacked against victims of sexual assault, their school should never worsen the problem.”

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An Account of Sexual Assault at Amherst College

By Angie Epifano, Epifano is a former student of the class of 2014

TRIGGER WARNING: This content deals with an account of sexual assault and may be triggering to some people.

When you’re being raped time does not stop. Time does not speed up and jump ahead like it does when you are with friends. Instead, time becomes your nemesis; it slows to such an excruciating pace that every second becomes an hour, every minute a year, and the rape becomes a lifetime.

read more here