Sunrise Swarthmore Letter of Support for Organizing for Survivors (O4S)
Sunrise Swarthmore stands in support of Organizing for Survivors and their work to protect survivors of sexual violence. For far too long, Swarthmore’s administration has left the voices of students unheard, sacrificing our health, safety, and mental wellbeing. The incredible groundswell of student attention that we have seen over the past week sends a clear message that it is time for a change.
We are acutely aware of the way that natural disasters, climate fuelled conflicts, and changing agricultural patterns disproportionately affect women and fuel sexual assault, particularly in the Global South. This leads to an alarming increase in rates of sexual violence as women are forced to walk further to find clean sources of water and climate catastrophes displace families and have continued to leave women without a safe home. Climate fuelled armed conflicts lead to increased rates of rape, and refugees fleeing arid land are also particularly vulnerable to sexual assault.
Swarthmore, as an institution, speaks proudly of its values of social justice. Yet the administration has chosen to ignore the voices of the Swarthmore community as they call for change time and again. Members of O4S used the institutional channels over the course of several years to express their concerns to administrators about the cruelly inefficient and retraumatizing nature of our Title IX Process, yet the administration has consistently failed to address their needs. This has left the survivors and allies who formed O4S with no choice but to take direct action to demand in that our administration take the steps necessary to make sure that all students feel safe on Swarthmore’s campus.
We call on the administration to respond to the student demands outlined by O4S and protect the safety of all members of the Swarthmore community.