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
Advocate from ASHS Safe Spaces
When did you begin to become aware about the issue of sexual violence in Ateneo/your community?
Even before I got into Ateneo, I already heard about sexual harassment cases and issues experienced by the first batch of girls in the Senior High. A few of the testimonies made their rounds on Twitter which I was able to read through. When I got to Ateneo, I’d hear stories from my batchmates, schoolmates, friends, and other members of the community.
What can you say about how Ateneo (or institutions in general) has handled the sexual violence issue so far?
I think there’s been significant progress ever since the start of the Senior High, but there is still work to be done. Updates from the school are appreciated, but we still have to be vigilant and forward our advocacy.
What does the movement against sexual violence mean to you?
It’s deeply important to me — the movement is for the women and gender minorities of the past and the present who will be changed forever by their experiences. I fight with my fellow community members for a safer Senior High and Ateneo community. We aren’t truly safe until all of us are safe, and that means diagnosing the problem for what it is.
What would justice and healing for survivors and the community look like? What would it mean to you?
Healing and justice come with a true acknowledgement of the pain the institution caused and a commitment to be inclusive in the fight to address this issue. The school acknowledging that there was — or is — a problem should be the first step. Next, all members of the community should be represented in forming the policies because we all have a part in ending rape culture.
Is there anything else you want to say?
We are not safe until all of us are safe. The fight to end sexual harassment and violence is a fight we can only win together as a community. Senior high, stronger together!
Hear more from Kara and 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.