Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed and contributed to a conversation emerging within the student body (and engaging the school’s faculty) about sexual disrespect and assault. A lot of the focus of the discourse has been on the clear need for systemic and administrative change. However, I think that this ongoing conversation presents us with an opportunity to modify the way the men of Amherst think about sex and, more broadly, about our own gender.

I’m a Peer Advocate of Sexual Respect.
That title means a lot of different things to different people. Some people will say, “They’re like the SHEs, aren’t they?” Some people will say, “Oh they did a workshop in my dorm once.” Others will say, “They helped me so much,” or, as I hear once in a blue moon: “The what? PAs? We have something like that on campus?” My freshman year it meant an opportunity to make a difference on the campus I’d just stepped onto several weeks prior, to fight against something that truly needed change.

President Carolyn “Biddy” Martin writes in to update the student body.

These past few days have been the moment of student journalism and expression at Amherst. Students published their accounts and expressed their points in various publications and columns. From The Student, The Indicator, AC Voice and student blogs of all kinds, the voice of students rang out for calls to action — and action came to campus in force. After Angie Epifano’s account (“An Account of Sexual Assault at Amherst College”) went viral, President Martin reached out to the Amherst community within less than 24 hours of our publication.

A group of faculty has written the following letter to the students of Amherst College. For the full list of the 14 authors and 128 signatories, see below.

We are deeply saddened and upset by the recent disclosures of sexual misconduct and violence at the College. It is not only that acts of sexual violence have occurred that troubles us. It is the further injuries that students have suffered after these acts that also concern us.

TRIGGER WARNING: This content deals with an account of sexual assault and may be triggering to some people.

When you’re being raped time does not stop. Time does not speed up and jump ahead like it does when you are with friends. Instead, time becomes your nemesis; it slows to such an excruciating pace that every second becomes an hour, every minute a year, and the rape becomes a lifetime.

On May 25, 2011, I was raped by an acquaintance in Crossett Dormitory on Amherst College campus.

In the past, Amherst’s sexual misconduct policy was covered under the broad Statement on Respect for Persons. Over the past few years, the College decided to specify what constituted a violation of the sexual harassment section of the honor code. As of this summer, the Statement on Sexual Misconduct has been added to the Student Handbook.

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