Community seeks to challenge culture of sexual assault and rape and promote healing – Orange Leader

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Amy Moore closed Denim Day with a simple yet powerful message.

“Thank you for being here,” said the director of student life at Lamar State College Orange. “I know a lot of things were hard to hear. It’s hard to talk about it, but it’s important. Because you have been here, you are going to have an impact in this world. I like you.”

The Denim Day rally was held to a packed house on campus where two survivors of sexual assault spoke. They were accompanied by representatives of organizations operating in Orange and the Golden Triangle that offer the counseling and reporting services that survivors need.

Moore said the sexual assaults had an impact on her family and she encourages sexual assault survivors to recognize the power of sharing their story.

Moore’s daughter, Aubrey, is being assaulted, and “when she got to tell her story, several of my closest friends privately messaged me and said, ‘I never told to anyone, but it happened to me too.’ ”

“Telling your story will change lives,” she said. “It’s going to impact other people. That’s how we change the culture. That’s how we make a difference.”

Many of the Denim Day attendees were college students studying to enter fields where they would deal with the fallout from sexual assault.

“Everyone here has the opportunity to impact someone just by listening to their stories,” Moore said. “How can we, as a community and as a quorum, better work together to help those around us? »

Moore thanked her daughter, who spoke this week, for being her personal hero.

Aubrey Moore, 19, is pursuing a career in forensic nursing.

She takes comfort in knowing that this week’s event brought together people from the community who are willing to reach out, even if it’s for someone who wants to cause an uproar.

“It’s going to help so many people, and people don’t even realize it,” she said after the event. “I have people almost every month who text me and call me and tell me that something like what I went through happened to them. I’m going to ask peers to come see me later and they will say: “It happened to me”.

“So I can say, ‘Have you talked to this group? Have you found out where you can go to get help? If not, I can do it. I get to help people and I’m not I’m still in my job. I’m still 19. The fact that I’m getting into a career where I can do that is something I love.

Visit brittanypiper.com to learn more about Brittany Piper, who was the guest speaker this week at Denim Day at Lamar State College’s Orange campus. (Courtesy picture)

Cultural change

Brittany Piper was the guest speaker, going into untold detail about her own sexual assault, the two-year legal process to bring her case to a court conviction, and how real change will only happen when the ” rape culture” will be approached as a community.

She stressed how important it is to move from sympathy to empathy with rape victims.

“Sympathy says, I’m sorry this happened to you. That’s life,” according to Piper. “Empathy says, I’m sorry this happened to you. What can I do to help with this pain? How can I support you? Empathy takes effort. Empathy requires connection, listening, understanding, and often discomfort. More is needed. »

It is essential to understand and better define consent to sexual relations.

She emphasized that permission is sober, easily given, consciously given, willingly given. It’s continuous. It is revocable, and it is absolutely mandatory.

A breakdown that should be understood by both parties includes:

  • Consent is voluntary, mutual and can be withdrawn at any time. Regardless of past experience with a person, consent must be given every time.
  • There is no consent when there is force, intimidation, coercion and manipulation.
  • A person under the influence cannot consent.
  • Just because they don’t say no doesn’t mean consent has been given.
  • Consent goes beyond physical contact
  • If someone does not and cannot consent to sex, then it is rape.

She said a culture of sexual violence and assault, often linked to pornography, needs to be addressed and discussed from an early age.

According to Piper, 24% of young people between the ages of 5 and 12 receive unwanted pornographic exposure. 93% of boys between the ages of 12 and 17 are exposed to pornography, and it’s 60% for girls.

Too often Piper sees female sexuality based on submission and male sexuality based on dominance.

She said it’s one of the reasons one in five women experience some form of sexual violence on a college campus.

Brittany Piper speaks to an Orange audience about her experience of rape and how she is helping to change the way community members talk about issues around sexual violence. (Courtesy picture)

His history

While in college, a man helped her change a flat tire on Piper’s vehicle.

He didn’t want to take any money but asked to be taken home.

After finding herself on a dimly lit road, she was brutally raped and beaten with a tire iron.

After the attacker was arrested, Piper went through a two-year court process that eventually saw the man sentenced to 60 years in prison.

The experience led her to drug addiction and depression, and 30 days after the conviction, she herself was arrested for assaulting an injured officer, intimidated and resisting arrest when she walked away. is taken to an officer during a DWI stop for her boyfriend.

“The road to recovery doesn’t have to be polished and beautiful and perfect,” Piper said. “Whether or not I was stoic on that scene or in a puddle of tears on the floor, I was still going strong either way.”

She highlighted how her sexual assault was covered by my local media, citing an online story that ended with the line from the police: “She was uncomfortable with the situation from the start and she didn’t want to not really take him. She probably should have trusted her instincts then.

That was the final lesson learned, according to Piper: “I should have made a better choice. I was, in part, to blame and I was, in part, responsible.

She finds this unacceptable today, especially knowing that people in her community took the tone of the article and followed it by commenting negatively below.

“What this article should have said, instead, is: he was probably aware of her violent sexual desires and he should have trusted his better judgment not to rape her.”

“The difference is that the ownership and responsibility and focus is on him and his actions and not on me,” Piper said. “That’s how we got to a place where victim blaming is supreme.”

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