A Letter from the Voices Collective: Believe Survivors

Content Warning: mention of sexual violence, Brett Kavanaugh

This week, the national news cycle has discussed topics of sexual assault almost nonstop, making it difficult for those affected by sexual violence to navigate their daily lives without encountering this potentially triggering content and being reminded of their own experiences. In light of these conversations around sexual assault occurring in politics and the media, the Voices Collective reaffirms the fact that we have and always will stand with, believe, and support survivors and those who don’t identify with this term.

We commend the sheer bravery and heroism of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and others like her, who have publicly come forward with their stories, often at the risk of reliving their own trauma, undergoing intense scrutiny, and enduring emotional and mental abuse from the general public and their own perpetrators. We also commend the strength and courage of those affected by sexual assault who process their pain and experiences privately or with loved ones. We remain loyal and committed to telling the stories and reflecting the narratives of those who have endured sexual violence. We protect survivors, not institutions that hold power and silence them.

We encourage you, the Swarthmore community, survivors and allies alike, to take care of yourselves during this potentially triggering and emotionally exhausting time, in whatever form this may look like to you. Be kind to yourselves and to others. Center the voices and experiences of survivors. Allow yourself time to decompress, process, and breathe.

This is a critical time in which to reflect on the way our community treats survivors—those who come forward and those who do not—and perpetrators. Swarthmore, as an institution, has a  responsibility not to socialize, produce, and allow its students to become the Brett Kavanaughs of this world. Voices remains committed to holding the College accountable for the ways it treats survivors and perpetrators and the ways it addresses and responds to sexual violence on campus.

Survivors, and those who have endured sexual violence but don’t identify as such, please know that Voices is and will remain a safe space for you. Whether you want to process your own pain loudly and unapologetically or privately and intimately, the Voices Collective loves, affirms and respects your choices. You have control over your own narrative. You deserve to be loved, nurtured, cared for, fulfilled, and heard. Your experiences and healing processes are valid. Your very existence is a sign of strength.  Your self love is radical, revolutionary, necessary, and enough.  

In Solidarity,
The Voices Collective

To speak to a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider, call the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or chat with someone online at online.rainn.org.