BY MELODY DEROGATIS
The “These People Are Cancelled” pamphlet released on Monday, April 30 left the Drake student body, faculty and all who encountered it feeling a whole range of emotions. For those who didn’t see it, the “Cancelled” pamphlet, it was a one-page, double-sided pamphlet that named several people (and an organization) who were reported to have sexually assaulted/harassed a person (or person(s)). The rest of the pamphlet consisted of public and confidential resources for victims of sexual assault and/or harassment to reach out to and an email to anonymously report more people to the creators of the pamphlet.
This pamphlet presents a situation that is full of gray area. Whether 100% opposed to the leaflet or 100% supportive, there is no denying that the creation of the pamphlet was a brave decision. Coming forward with a name, be it anonymously or not, is an intimidating choice that can result in quite the consequences. The issue with anonymity, is not knowing whether the source comes from a victim of the alleged assaulters/harassers, the friend of a victim or the friend of a friend of a friend of the victim. When the source of an allegation isn’t known, it’s difficult to trust whether or not to fully believe the story.
Of course, not believing the victims isn’t the answer, either. The fact is, we don’t know who the victims are, and we don’t know the extent of these accusations, or by what standards some of them were judged. These accusations aren’t to be taken lightly … but rather, be taken “with a grain of salt.”
Alas, the ultimate question here isn’t even the whole truth in these accusations … but, rather, the fact that the pamphlet had to exist as a platform to come forward in the first place. Students at Drake don’t feel safe coming forward with names when they’ve been violated in the first place.
Of course, coming forward in general is never easy, and sometimes people never feel comfortable coming forward … which is absolutely okay. However, there is a history of sweeping sexual assault cases under the rug, and not always doing justice to the victims that come to them with such cases. Of course, there are many things Drake officials can’t say on this front … but at the end of the day, there are people that are still left feeling violated after having come forward with their stories.
So … solutions? It’s hard to say for sure. Ultimately, making Drake a safe space–not only for people to come forward with stories of violation, but also so less of these violations take place in the first place. Always asking for consent, maintaining open ears, minding personal space, not taking advantage … are just a few of many ways to help make Drake a safer campus. None of these are guaranteed ways to stop violations from happening. However, by working to make Drake a safer space as a whole, perhaps one day, anonymous pamphlets won’t be necessary for people to feel safe.