Once again, the university that I have called home for four years is caught up in headlines and social media turmoil, even facing an HR nightmare as the repercussions of their past actions have once again turned up to bite them in the ass. And as far as I can see, still nothing is being done to rectify the issue or to deliver appropriate consequences where they are, without a doubt, warranted.
Let us not forget the online headlines that looked like this…
Oh yeah, and like this…!
(I believe this is when us kids like to say... GOT 'EM!)
So, to all of the women who walk JMU's campus, to all the women who walk on... well, ANY college campus. To all of the intelligent, brave, strong, powerful women who have to take ridiculous extra measures to protect themselves just so they can go out at night. To all the individuals who feel hollow and alone, who reside in dark corners because they have been to hell and back... and no one will listen. I want to say this to you right now: I am sorry.
As a straight, white, privileged man, I want to tell you from the bottom of my heart that I am so sorry that men like myself have violated you for so long. I am sorry for stepping in at the wrong times and not stepping in at the right times. I am sorry that I still don't always know when it's okay to give my voice and when to lift up another's. I am as sure as hell sorry if I myself have ever made any of you feel uncomfortable or violated in any way in the past and failed to realize it. I'm sorry that I can't make it all better with the snap of my fingers. I am sorry that I feel like I can't do more.
And...I am sorry that I am writing this. I shouldn't have to. Why? Because this kind of thing SHOULD NOT HAPPEN!
I know that many of you may have heard this kind of thing before from a man. Even as I type this out and aim to have it peer reviewed by a female friend of mine, I am still not entirely sure what to say. Maybe because I don't know if it will matter much in the grand scheme of things. I'm just not sure. But I had to write something! This evil has gone on for far too long, and I will no longer settle for anything less than 100% dedication and fighting to end this injustice.
I just had to say it... I'm sorry. I'm so very sorry.
I hope this means something. I hope this helps someone. Even just one person will be worth it.
And, for all of the men who will read this, just as I am taking a vow to fight against rape and sexual assault against women, I invite all of you to do the same. Be an advocate and a warrior on your campus.
Stay safe JMU, and let's spread the love around. Let us all be the light inside the darkness.
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