Silencing Survivors Results in Violence

Anonymous, College junior

Dear Professor Copeland:

Do you think there are not survivors on this campus? Survivors who were offended and hurt by the words and actions of Christina Hoff Sommers? You said that nothing Sommers said could have offended a survivor … Are you a survivor? Do you speak on behalf of all survivors? Have you listened to the survivors who have been bravely saying, “As a survivor, Sommers’ words and actions hurt me?”

Dear Professor Copeland, do you know what sexualized violence is? Have you ever considered that violence may be more nuanced than you believe? That everyone experiences violence differently? Have you ever considered that reliving trauma, being told that your experience didn’t happen or doesn’t matter, being told to shut up and just accept a culture of shame, denial and victim-blaming that normalizes violence is violent?

I am horrified that you have a position of power at Oberlin. I am horrified that theater majors have to take two semesters with you. Free speech may be constitutionally protected, but you are paid by the College to educate students, and you’ve just chosen to invalidate the words, actions and healing of so many survivors on this campus. You were appalled by our love letter to ourselves. But we will not be silent; we will not stop speaking our truth, re-claiming our stories, bodies and spirits and challenging rape culture because our healing is radical and beautiful. Never speak for us again.


College junior