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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Sometimes "no", it's not enough

Por sumily

After reading an article about two brave rape survivors in India who maintained their anonymity using social media, it seemed that Snapchat was the best. A modern and innovative platform that the generation of "millenials" knows well. The software of the application that hides the face and the voice allow the user to hide their identity to such an extent that you can feel comfortable while showing your emotions and your strength.

For this reason, Price founded "Rebellion against Sexual Assaults", to denounce the true nature and magnitude of the sexual assaults and harassments lived by current and former university students in the United Kingdom, and to demand policy changes in the way it is addressed this problem.

She was a student, she was sexually assaulted, but she felt unable to report it. Hannah Price discovered shortly after that she was not the only one and that sexual assaults on the university campus are more common than official figures suggest.

He does not remember that he has been taught in what the consent in school consists of, except that in all things he does not, he means no. Remember, however, the warnings that she would not walk alone, otherwise, she would be in danger of being raped in a dark alley. But when it was violated, it did not happen on a street but in my own student dormitory, after I had taken the precaution that a familiar person would accompany me walking home.

It was her first social event of that academic year at the University of Bristol and it had been a fun evening. For everyone, it was the preferred time of the semester. Classes had not started at all and deadlines for assigning homework were far from our minds. Price drank, laughed, danced until it was time to go to sleep. When she was leaving, a man said he lived near her and offered to accompany her. They knew each other only a few weeks, so the conversation was cordial. They talked about the night they had spent and what they expected from that year of studies.

When they reached the steps leading to his house he asked kindly if he could go in for a glass of water, as he felt bad. She blames herself because at that moment she must have noticed the warning signs, but even when she was serving the glass in the kitchen, nothing seemed strange to her. Until he finished drinking the water and that's where the deception ended. The boy demanded to go to her bedroom and there she issued her first no. To this day, every time he remembers the tragic event, he is struck by how a mask of charm can dissolve so quickly and become aggressive.

Despite her rejection and his repeated attempts to leave, he was relentless. The more she told him that she was not interested, the more energetic he became. He grabbed her arm with such force that it was clear to him that his intention was never to see her arrive safely home. It was a strange sensation to be paralyzed with fear in your own home. At that moment, Hannah realized that saying "no" was not going to be enough.

Price never denounced what happened to the authorities, because in her view, she had been drinking, allowed him to enter her house, I did not put up any physical resistance, because fear seized her. No doubt, that was going to mean it was his fault. What happened was not part of any situation I had heard of before: he was not a stranger, and it was not in a dark alley.

Because of his charismatic and popular personality, it seemed easier and less traumatic to repress what had happened instead of facing him. The university was the first time he lived independently. There was no one at the university to whom he could ask for help. For its part, the university's policy said that if what you denounced was a criminal offense, they would not do or could do anything before the police first took charge.

The year before the events, Price had reported another student to the police for attacking her in a nightclub. There were witnesses and tests thanks to CCTV cameras. However, the result was very stressful. Some of his friends distanced themselves. He had to deal with the anguish of meeting the student on a daily basis.

The unfortunate thing about this is that there are many students like Price who are suffering in silence, blaming themselves and damaging their university lives for sexual violence and lack of campus support. The universities themselves register very few cases of harassment and sexual assault. That's why, in partnership with The StudentRoom, an online student community, they launched the first national survey in the last decade on this problem. Now that movements like Me Too and Time's Up have had so much impact, it's time to talk about sexual violence on campus.