This is one of the stories collected by Time’s Up Ateneo for its online campaign, Stories of Resistance, Stories of Hope: A Series of Online Testimonials about the October 15 Protest and the Anti-Sexual Violence Movement in Ateneo. Through this campaign, Time’s Up Ateneo hopes to generate conversation about how the school can continue toward a gender-responsive, safe, and progressive future, while understanding and addressing its flawed past.
TW: sexual violence
*Not her real name
What was your experience of sexual harassment in Ateneo?
I was sexually assaulted by a close friend back in college. XY and I were out with friends one night. At past 1 AM, after sobering up, one of the people I was with proposed that we all sleep in a unit. I thought I would share rooms with the only other girl there, but that wasn’t the case.
After eating a heavy meal, I would say that I was very sober around this time. XY, on the other hand, was not. He kept insisting we should do “things” because we were “drunk” and we would never have the chance to do these “things” sober. I kept saying no. XY kept trying to go on top of me, and I kept pushing away. I asked for help from the other people in the unit, since it was a two-bedroom unit. But no one stopped it from happening.
He projected his sexual wants on me, and I felt reduced to just a body, stripped away from its personality and dignity.
How was your experience handled by the people and institutions around you? Were there any shortcomings or failures in handling your experience? How did this make you feel?
I learned the hard way that schools tend to be more formative than punitive in cases like this. I felt like XY was let off too easily. It was an insult to the hesitant majority of unreported cases with different offenders. It is an insult to our collective pain.
I wish the admin knew this—let there be justice first so that there will be healing.
What did the October 15, 2019 protest against sexual harassment in Ateneo mean to you?
The mobilization happened after I graduated already. It made me mad in a sense that—I wish we had this mobilization during my time. It also got me thinking—is there more urgency towards sexual harassment than peer-to-peer harassment? Does the power dynamic absent in my story make it any less “mobilizable”‘? Do people only feel compelled to advocate and lobby for changes when a person with authority is involved?
What would justice and healing for survivors and the Ateneo community look like? What would it mean to you?
I would like a public apology and accountability. I want the school to acknowledge that the way they did things before (or currently) was WRONG. I want the school to explain their thought process in deciding resolutions. I want for more dismissals instead of suspensions. In cases of rape and sexual assault similar to mine, dismissal would be the most appropriate sanction given the severity of XY’s actions and the physical, emotional , and psychological damage that he has caused.
Is there anything else you want to say?
I was a victim of circumstance. I trusted the wrong people. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I went through the most part of college depressed and paranoid because he was STILL in campus. The burden took a toll on me then and STILL TAKES A TOLL on me now, nearly 4 years later.
Did you know that the narrative of trauma often presents as a physical malady? It can be chronic pelvic pain or chest discomfort. Survivors carry this physical burden with them for years, sometimes dissociating themselves from the assault associated with it. For many, they can only “move on” and recover from that assault if their chronic pain was addressed.
Join us in this continuing conversation on October 31 at 8pm at Time’s Up Ateneo’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TimesUpAteneo).
If you would like to share your story in this campaign, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.