To the Editor:
I want to thank Jess [Torres ’12] for her candid op-ed and willingness to address issues that are facing our campus but are often left unspoken. As a woman who likes to go out and dance in Goodrich for First Fridays, as a female who brings my experiences and opinions to class and as the co-coordinator of the Rape and Sexual Assault Network (RASAN), I spend a lot of time thinking about what to say and how to say it. From this particular perspective, I find myself wondering what the rest of campus thinks about the situations Jess described so well, about the instances we often shrug off as no big deal in light of not wanting to hurt feelings or raise unnecessary alarm. No matter how great someone looks or how much they’re rocking that pair of jeans or little dress, they’re off-limits to me and everyone else until they give their consent, but I’m sadly aware that that message isn’t getting through. I acknowledge that everyone is at different levels of understanding how to discuss this in a substantial way, but we can get things started by bringing these conversations into daylight. When we make issues of sexual assault and harassment something that women, men and our entire community care about, we begin to make progress. Creating a healthy environment here at Williams isn’t going to happen overnight, and I’m certainly not advocating for an unrealistic stance on how quickly change can occur. Instead, I’m asking for more people like Jess to act as awesome allies and speakers for these issues that ultimately affect all of us here at the place we love so much. Thanks, Jess!