Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sexual Assault Capstone: Finding Voice

(originally posted 07/08 at wordpress)

by Kristyn Stolze

I didn’t think enough about acquaintance rape until it happened to someone close to me. Then one of the women I love was raped by her housemate and the light bulb went on.

I grew up learning that sexual violence happened too much and needed to stop, but never went further than knowing, wishing it were different but feeling totally helpless. It took an act of violence against a friend to light a fire under my ass, and I only regret that it took this long for me to really freak out and get busy. I see the fierce, brilliant pack of people answering back to interpersonal violence with action and wish I had joined sooner. I thought I needed to be someone different to do something about sexual violence, someone more educated, more trained, more informed. But I see now that as long as individuals feel powerless, we give our real power as a group away. Fortunately, a lot of people figured this out a lot faster than I did…and they have been busy. For decades. As I learn more about the realities of sexual violence I find some grim statistics, and I used to make the mistake of only seeing the darkness and missing the hope. After my friend’s rape, I felt crazy and powerless, but driven like never before to find out how to get involved somewhere, with something. I decided to take the Sexual Assault Capstone at PSU to connect with the PSU Women’s Resource Center and get more information, and that connection brought me to the shesheet.

I would like to know who is out there reading and what your thoughts, experiences and reactions are to the topic/issue/reality of sexual violence. Because it’s so pervasive in our culture we all live with it in some way every day; this means we all have a story to tell. I want to know what other people are doing to create change. If you aren’t usually comfortable posting responses and comments to blogs, please consider responding to the things you read on the shesheet and to this blog you are reading now. It’s a great space to interact with people who are shaking things up to make much-needed change.

I personally have never blogged until today, but I think it’s an amazing way to connect to a huge community of incredible folks. I want to take part in a bigger conversation about sexual violence with the readers on the shesheet…please join me with some of your thoughts so we can learn from each other!

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