Shea Streeter | Monday, March 7, 2011
After watching the performance of Loyal Daughters and Sons on Thursday, I was stunned. Not by what I had seen — I know the horrors of sexual assault at Notre Dame only too well — but by the fact that afterwards no one was talking. After it ended everyone was either silent or started talking about more light-hearted subjects like their plans for the evening. If one in four college women are subjected to sexual assault, this means that over 1,000 women currently at Notre Dame have experienced it. How are we not talking about this?
There’s been a lot of focus on Saint Mary’s recently and I can only imagine what kind of victimization our sisters across the lake experience when they are openly demeaned and labeled as “dumb and easy” by Notre Dame guys. We have events like Loyal Daughters and Sons and Sexual Assault Awareness Week to promote dialogue about this issue, but nobody is talking. I think what we need is to start a conversation.
I’ll volunteer to speak first: I am one of the thousand women at Notre Dame who has suffered sexual assault. Twice. On Notre Dame’s campus.
There, I’ve started the conversation; now I expect some sort of response in the form of both conversations and Viewpoints. To those of you who know me, please don’t awkwardly say nothing and pretend that you didn’t read The Observer — when you see me, let’s talk about this. To Notre Dame guys, I not only expect you to listen carefully to women’s complaints about this issue, to listen and respect when they say “no,” but to join in the conversation and start discussing why this is happening.
If a thousand women at Notre Dame suffer sexual assault, how many guys are perpetrators? Ladies, why aren’t we talking more about this subject that affects us so profoundly even with each other? Sexual assault is often blamed on binge drinking or the hookup culture, but that still doesn’t explain why we engage in those behaviors to begin with. Let’s speak up and speak loud. Let’s start talking.