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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Letter to the Editor

Published: February 8, 2013
Section: Opinions

I would like to applaud The Brandeis Hoot for its coverage of campus sexual assault in last week’s articles, “Brandeis Greek life urges members not to discuss alleged sexual assault” and “With serious allegations, silence not the answer” (Feb. 1, 2013). I would also like to commend The Hoot writers and editors for their continued and consistent coverage of this issue during the past two years.

Sexual violence on college campuses is a serious problem. Research shows that one in five college women will be sexually assaulted in the course of her college career. And yet, campus sexual assault is massively under-reported. Victims remain silent because of shame, stigma, fear of retaliation and fear of being vilified and disbelieved. So we have silence from survivors, silence from perpetrators and silence from the community.

We saw a terrible example of silence when the Greek Awareness Council admonished its members to “stand by ZBT through this, and that means not discussing” an alleged sexual assault at the fraternity house. I know many on campus might disagree with the decision to report on the GAC email, but The Hoot was right to reveal that the GAC’s “top priority” was its own reputation, not justice for the alleged victim or accountability for the alleged perpetrator.

Silence about sexual violence hurts victims, protects perpetrators, perpetuates stigma and damages our community. But that’s why we have journalists—to break the silence on the most troubling and difficult issues facing our campus.

Alison Channon ’10
The writer is a former editor-in-chief of The Brandeis Hoot