Today in Rape Culture

[Content Note: Description of sexual violence at link; victim-blaming.]

My friend Jessica Luther (@scATX) has written a very difficult but very important piece about Molly Morris, a former student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, who was raped by a wrestler at the school and went through a harrowing experience with the university's system for addressing sexual assault on campus. It is one woman's story, but it is also emblematic of many of the problems, from rank victim-blaming to male campus institutions closing ranks to possible Title IX violations, faced by women who try to report their sexual assaults.

I urge you to read the whole thing, if you can.

Also: Because, as we have seen lately (and always), that articles about survivors of rape on college campuses (and everywhere) often become about the reporting process itself, I want to say something, with Jess' permission but not at her request, about what I saw of the process in writing this story.

Jess worked on this piece for almost three months. We talked about it a lot while she was working on it, and she was incredibly thoughtful about her approach and about gathering information. Most importantly: She never forgot that she was telling Molly's story. And she felt a huge responsibility to do that well, to be sensitive and considerate of what Molly needs first and foremost, to not reduce Molly to a symbol.

Before she ever spoke to Molly, she called me and asked me how she should interview a survivor, to avoid triggering her or coercing her or making her feel unsafe.

That is how you write about sexual assault. You center survivors; you do everything you can to make sure that the cost of telling their stories is not being harmed again.

I believe Molly Morris.

I trust Jessica Luther.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus