Sexual assault can NOT be washed away
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In regards to Bradley University’s response to Monday night’s “Chalk it Out” event, I am deeply dissatisfied with the way that the situation was handled. Bradley University chose to power wash the chalk away rather than leave it and let students see some of the powerful messages. The main reason that Bradley gave for removing the chalking in front of six buildings was that the chalk was being tracked inside. Having put down the chalk myself, I can reassure you that after walking through a ton of chalk, I did not track it with me. Nor was I able to observe any chalk on the floors inside the buildings the next morning. The chalk mixture that was used was simply chalk, water, and flour. This mixture was chosen because it is both extremely washable and easier to apply. It should be noted that grounds approved the chalking and was additionally sent a reminder as a courtesy Monday afternoon. I feel that the University did not do a good job in explaining exactly why they were washing away the chalk. No clear answer was ever given, but rather, Bradley gave a variety of different reasons that changed throughout the day.
The point of the “Chalk it Out” event was to create awareness about sexual assault and the statistics that come along with. The message that was being communicated was that sexual assault is unacceptable and that survivors will always be supported. I am saddened by Bradley University exercising their right to remove the chalk. This was an act that disempowered and silenced survivors of sexual assault. That day, Bradley sent a message that sexual assault awareness was too inconvenient to let the chalk stand for more than 8 hours. Sadly, sexual assault is not only a prevalent issue, but an everyday inconvenience and reality that 1 in 4 Bradley freshmen will experience. While I understand that this may not necessarily be the picture that Bradley was trying to convey, I am angry that this is the response they had thought was appropriate. I hope that Bradley understands that they can wash away the hard work that I and others spent countless hours on but that we will not stop. I will not allow this to take away from the message that was being relayed. I will not allow Bradley to take the spotlight off of sexual assault awareness. I will fight to ensure that survivors are supported on our campus despite these actions.
By signing this statement, I pledge that I will not stop fighting for sexual assault awareness and sexual assault victims. I pledge that I will not stand by and pretend to be okay with how this situation was handled. I pledge to recognize that non-consensual sex is rape. I pledge to identify situations in which sexual assault may occur. I pledge to intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given. I pledge to create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.
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