We Believe You

We Believe You

Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out

Annie Clark and Andrea Pino

We Believe You

We Believe You

Excerpt

What is this book about, and why is it so important?

We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out, is a powerful collection of 36 stories of survival, healing, and everyday activism. For the first time, readers will have the opportunity to hear student stories that are too often silenced, exploring the ignored intersections of race, economic and family backgrounds, gender identities, and immigration statuses – told by survivors, for survivors, and full of their political journeys in between.

Why are you focusing on campus survivors?

Sexual assault happens in every area of our society, and happens way before students even apply to college, as some of our contributors themselves talk about. This being said, we are focusing on colleges to illustrate a microcosm of how violence goes unaddressed across our entire society. Much like on campuses, there are institutional hierarchies of racial, gender, and financial privileges that protect perpetrators and silence survivors in the criminal justice system, high schools, churches, and the athletic and entertainment industries. We hope that by delving into the stories of campus violence that we can help pave a path for societal accountability to end all sexual violence, on and off campuses.

Where do the proceeds from the book go?

We Believe You was published as a paperback to keep the price down, and keep the book as accessible as possible. The ”author" portion of profits will be donated to the non-profit organization End Rape on Campus (EROC), which works to end campus sexual violence through direct support for survivors and their communities, among other kinds of activism. Specifically, EROC wants to create a fund for survivors--to ensure a safe place to stay for a night or two, or psychological counseling, a plane ticket to see family, or other supports.

What kinds of stories are in this book?

We Believe You is woven together by the stories of 36 survivors of campus violence, including survivors of many different identities. We share the stories of male survivors, of trans and non-binary survivors, of survivors of different national origins and racial communities, and survivors of many facets of the queer community with the intention of encompassing the full picture of who is impacted by campus violence. The book is told for survivors , free from the filters of the 'perfect victim,' or from the harmful framing of 'alleged assaults.' unfiltered, not-white washed, or straight-washed, or sensationalized by the media.

I’m concerned about triggers, what should I be aware of?

Every survivor has different triggers, but we formatted We Believe You in a way that readers could pause in between the stories. The chapters are divided in to five different sections of survivors lives: ‘Before,’ ‘How it Happened,’ ‘Trauma & Betrayal,’ ‘Everyday Activism,’ and ‘Declaration of Independence.’ If you are concerned about triggers, each section introduction will give a brief preface of what lies in the following pages. We encourage all readers to practice self-care if they feel that a section is too triggering to read at this time. The power of We Believe You is that these stories will always be with you when you need them.

I am not a survivor...should I read this book?

Yes! Absolutely. This book is for survivors, but it's also for their support systems - parents, friends, family members, partners and their communities. We need more allies, and this book allows folks who are unfamiliar with this topic to read first hand accounts and to understand the complexities of sexual violence and its aftermath. We Believe You is a great educational tool, and will be taught everywhere from women studies classes, law schools to student affairs masters programs. This book is for educators, students, lawmakers, politicians, and those who work in the criminal justice system. Anyone could read it and gain something from these strong, inspiring testimonies of surviving, healing, and everyday activism.

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A portion of the proceeds benefit EROC to sustain direct support services for survivors.

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