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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Sexual violence survivors recount experiences


#MeToo at SJU wall displays student accounts

#MeToo at SJU, a collection of accounts from students who survived sexual violence, is on display in the lobby of the Francis A. Drexel Library until the end of the semester.

Fourteen first-person narratives, shared with organizer Johanna Neece ’19 via an online form, are currently posted to a wall in the library’s main corridor on colorful pieces of paper.

Some of the stories detail students’ experiences during their freshman and sophomore years at St. Joe’s. The longest story on the wall is about a professor, no longer employed by the university according to the student, who continuously harassed the student throughout a semester. Another story begins, “just a few weeks ago,” and tells the story of a post-date encounter in which a student was forced to give another student oral sex in a St. Joe’s residence hall.

“I think that people will read them because these people who shared them were brave enough to share this terrible thing that happened to them with all of us,” Neece said.

Submissions were kept anonymous in order to ensure that survivors felt comfortable coming forward with their experiences, Neece said.

“When someone harasses or sexually violates or rapes or sexually assaults someone, that takes away their humanity,” Neece said.

The online form, accessed via a QR code on the wall, will stay open throughout the semester in an effort to encourage more people to respond, said Neece, who came up with the project after the Campus Climate Study results were released in October.

“That’s kind of how #MeToo works,” Neece said. “When some women come forward, more women come forward.”

Library Director Anne Krakow worked with Neece to get approval to post the narratives in the lobby.

“We have a unique opportunity in this atrium here,” Krakow said. “A lot of people pass through even if they do not come into the Learning Commons of the library, and it is a unique place to have people see something like that, to make something very visible.”

Samantha Ambrose ’21 stopped at the #MeToo at SJU wall as she was leaving the library on Nov. 11. She paused to read the stories after receiving a message from her sorority about the display.

Ambrose said the wall is important because it gives survivors a platform to speak up regardless of whether or not they choose to report their assault to authorities.

“I want to hear people’s stories and make them be heard,” Ambrose said.

Ankur Bhattacharya ’19 also stopped to read the stories in the library. He said he was surprised at how many of the accounts were from freshmen and sophomore students.

“I knew there was definitely going to be a couple of instances,” Bhattacharya said. “I didn’t know there would be quite this many. People should know. It shouldn’t be hidden.”

Students who have been affected by sexual assault or who know survivors of assault may contact the following resources:

R.E.P.P. Helpline: 610-733-9650

St. Joe’s Counseling Center: 610-660-1090

Montgomery County Victim Services Center: 888-521-0983

Women’s Center of Montgomery County: 800-773-2424

RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673

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