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
Emily Doe’s* Story
*Not her real name
What was your experience of sexual violence in Ateneo?
Someone who I trusted and loved a lot raped me.
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 had always felt uncomfortable about that experience, but I didn’t have a name for it until months later. I never properly reported him to the school because I never felt supported, most especially by my peers. I can count on one hand the number of people who believed me from the beginning. The rest met my “confession” with disbelief, derision, and lukewarm excuses (“I don’t think he’s capable of that”). Turns out my “friends” were not really people I could rely on. That hurt just as much as the rape itself.
What does the movement against sexual violence in Ateneo mean to you?
Before the rally and before seeing a more “formal” movement against sexual violence in Ateneo, I had always tried to swallow my anger. I told myself that there was no point in holding on to those negative emotions, since nothing would happen even if I did show them to the world.
Seeing the rally and the movement helped me remember that I was angry. I was angry at the institutions that formed my rapist and continued to condone and even celebrate his disgusting behavior; at those who knew what happened, but decided to step aside and stay quiet because it was “none of their business” or because they “didn’t want to take sides”; at the people who told me to move on because I could not rely on justice, or even on my rapist to realize that he was wrong; and at my so-called “friends” and “mentors” who disbelieved me, discouraged me from reporting because I would “ruin his life,” who minimized what he did, and who even threatened me in case I did decide to file a formal case. And I am FURIOUS at all of these people, and most of all, at my rapist, for pretending to be progressive, for pretending to be feminist, when they know exactly what they did.
The rally and the movement against sexual violence reminded me that they do not get to dictate how I feel and what the proper way to react is when I was the one who was hurt by their actions.
What would justice and healing for survivors and the Ateneo community look like? What would it mean to you?
More than the policy, what needs to happen is culture change. There is no room for enabling or apologist behavior in Ateneo. You do not get to look the other way and ignore it the next time a rumor comes up that someone sexually harassed someone else — you should be checking on the person who was sexually harassed, even if it’s just a rumor. You don’t get to mock or bully someone who is so clearly hurting. You don’t get to say “I am a feminist and I am against sexual violence” and also turn around and say “But my friend would never do that; I don’t believe you.” If someone has ever approached you and confided in you, and you did what my “friends” and “mentors” did to me, the simple reality is that you are NOT a feminist, and you are NOT against sexual harassment. Swallow that today, and do better tomorrow: Listen to survivors, apologize to those who your enabling or apologist behavior hurt, and actively advocate for safer schools and survivor-centric care. Too many people have been hurt for this to go on.
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.