As mentioned, It Happens Here has been one of the most powerful and unforgettable events on our campus in the past, and we expect the same for tonight’s event. Over the last two years, more than 50 Middlebury students have submitted stories, poems, and monologues that detail personal experiences with sexual violence. The IHH board tells us:
It Happens Here is about giving power to the survivor’s voice. Most of us have heard the staggering statistics surrounding the prevalence of sexual violence on college campuses. Most of us have taken health classes that describe the horrors of date rape, acquaintance rape, and other forms of sexual violence. But seldom do we hear the voice of the survivor. Seldom do we hear from the very individuals who, due to lived experience, are best suited to explain the problem. This project is about amplifying that traditionally silenced voice in an effort to start a conversation about a problem that effects so many, but is discussed by so few.
Last year hundreds of students filled McCullough Social Space, flooding into Crossroads, so we suggest showing up early tonight. To hear some 2013 stories, check out the IHH site here. Full support to IHH for accomplishing their goal to “talk about what we don’t talk about.”
Middbeat plans to live blog this event
Date: Tonight, 1/20
Time: 8:30 PM
Place: McCullough Social Space
It Happens Here is, undoubtedly, one of the most powerful events hosted on our campus every year. While we’re all for the fun, light-hearted J-term spirit, we believe it’s worth everyone’s time to dedicate one evening to some serious, jarring story telling/listening/scrutinizing, in hopes of changing the sexual assault culture that does exist on our campus.
Over the last two years, more than 50 Middlebury students have submitted stories, poems, and monologues that detail personal experiences with sexual violence. These stories are then read either by their author or anonymously in front of a (often extremely large) audience. For the first time, this year’s It Happens Here event will take place during J-term.
The success of this event depends on student story submissions, and IHH invites you to add your voice to the conversation by submitting a story for the January event here. Stories can be completely anonymous, and while difficult to expose, this courageous act is the most effective impetus for change. Last year, hundreds of students and staff showed up, check out the live blog here.
Story submission deadline is TOMORROW, though we encourage you to keep sending them if your crunched for time. Our bad for the late exposure!
Tune in to WRMC 91.1 today at 2PM to hear the first installment of The Campus Voice, a weekly radio talk show about current campus issues hosted by Ian Stewart ’14 and Greta Neubauer ’14.5. This week’s episode, “Breaking the Silence: Media in the Conversation about Sexual Assault on College Campuses” features representatives from on-campus media sources (including middbeat!), as well as sexual assault awareness activists from Midd and Swarthmore. If you’re basking in the sunshine off the grid today, no worries; you can always download The Campus Voice podcasts and listen later.
The Addison Independent reported earlier this week that 22-year-old Middlebury College senior Dong Song has been charged with felony sexual assault.
The charges stem from an on-campus encounter that Song had with a female Middlebury student early on the morning of Sunday, May 12th. On Monday, Song pleaded innocent in Addison County Superior Court. If convicted, he faces a jail sentence of three years to life, plus a fine of up to $25,000.
Sexual assault has become a topic of increased conversation on the Middlebury campus and on college campuses across the country. This fall, the well-publicized account of a rape survivor’s experience at Amherst College sparked outrage over the institution’s inadequate response.
At Middlebury, Both institutional and student initiatives have brought to light the issue of sexual assault. Last April, the College revised its Sexual Assault policies, and this year founded a student-run Sexual Assault Advocacy Committee. In addition the first and second annual It Happens Here events have helped to raise awareness about sexual assault on campus.
Students who have experienced sexual assault on campus can file a complaint with the Office of Judicial Affairs, which will then conduct an internal investigation. At the conclusion of the investigation, a panel of Community Judicial Board members review the report and determine a finding and sanction. The College also “encourage[s] students who have been sexually assaulted to seriously consider filing criminal charges,” either with the Middlebury Police/Vermont State Police Department or with the Addison County State’s Attorney’s Office. For more information about the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policies, visit go/saoc.
Grace Brown, creator of Project Unbreakable, photographs survivors of sexual assault holding a poster with a quote from their attacker. In 2012, TIME magazine named her project one of the “30 Must-See Tumblr Blogs” and since then she has appeared on the Melissa Harris-Perry show and been interviewed by the Guardian. Grace will speak about the history of how her project came to be, share stories behind some of her images, and reflect upon creating sexual assault awareness.
If anything, be sure to check out Grace’s photos here!
WHERE: Dana Auditorium
WHEN: Tonight, April 29 @ 7-8:30 pm
UPDATE: Their website is now live with stories both in print and audio. Also there will be an opportunity from to discuss the stories and sexual assault in general from 5:30-7:00PM in Redfield proctor. Here is one of them:
A full McCullough Social Space
‘It Happens Here,’ a sexual assault awareness event organized by a diverse group of students who want to “start conversations about the complexities of sexual assault on our campus,” is going on right now. The group has been collecting anonymous monologues from students about their personal stories of sexual assault. 23 students submitted poems and monologues describing personal experiences with sexual violence. 5 students will be reading their very own stories aloud.
Here are some more details from their about page:
We hope to share anonymous student monologues with the school describing personal experiences with sexual violence, sexual disrespect, or even miscommunication. We want to hear your stories. This project wants the girl who wasn’t sure, the boy who never said no but also never said yes, the person who decided to touch first and ask later, and the one who was violently raped. It needs the guy who intervened when a girl couldn’t stand up, the one who was roofied and the person who dropped in the pill.
Right now these monologues are being read aloud. This is the second annual ‘It Happens Here’ event, and it’s not only filled up McCullough Social Space (nearly 400 capacity), but spilled into Crossroads as well (probably another hundred people, with more coming in now)…
…where it is being projected.
Both rooms are completely silent. The stories have been honest, detailed, and frequently graphic. Familiar names like “Atwater” and “orientation” and “winter ball” and “Tavern” are jarring to hear in conjunction with deeply disturbing stories of everything from verbal assault to rape. Two students have also given spoken word performances about personal experiences with sexual assault.
Here are a very, very few (rough) quotes we’ve heard so far (these by no means do the monologues justice, but hopefully will provide a hint of the sorts of things expressed in the event happening on OUR campus). We will keep updating this:
“To this day i have never felt so worthless as i did in that moment.”
“Why does consent mean not saying no instead of enthusiastically saying yes?”
“I pushed him back saying I was a virgin and I wasn’t okay with it. But I couldn’t say no again…I could only imagine what he shoved into me was two fingers because one couldn’t possibly be that painful.” Continue reading
The student team behind It Happens Here released this video today to promote their second annual event, happening in McCullough on April 22nd.
It Happens Here is a student initiative to raise awareness about the realities of sexual assault on campus. On April 22nd, students will read aloud the stories of sexual assault, violence, disrespect, and miscommunication submitted by their peers.
Do you have a story that you wish to share? The IHH organizers are asking students to submit material- any length, any style, any form- by April 17th. You may do so anonymously on the It Happens Here website.
The prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses has gotten a lot of press recently, as it very well should. If you’re looking for a way to get involved in addressing the issue on Middlebury’s campus, check out this opportunity:
The Sexual Assault Oversight Committee (SAOC) is creating a confidential,
on-campus informational and advocacy program for students with
emergency and non-crisis needs around sexual assault, sexual violence
and stalking. We are currently selecting students to serve as
advocates; applications are open, and are due on March 18. No previous
experience is required.
WHAT: to learn more about becoming an SAOC advocate
WHEN: Tuesday, 3/12 at 4:30 and 7:30 PM
WHERE: Axinn 109