Following the news surrounding Harvey Weinstein, a movement to shed light on the frequency of sexual assault and sexual harassment developed on the internet.  The news was followed by a movement of women who had either been sexually harassed or assaulted posting “#MeToo” in their status.  Alyssa Milano, an actress, started the movement a few years ago by asking women to post the hashtag in their status to show the magnitude of sexual violence.

I saw that many friends posted #MeToo as their status.  In fact, it was so many that it made me seriously concerned for humanity.  The comments on their statuses were filled with loving, supportive comments, which restored my faith in humanity.  I have had a number of #MeToos throughout my life, and one of them was particularly traumatic.  So, for a moment I thought about putting MeToo in my status. I stopped myself just as I was about to hit the “post” button.  I was afraid about what other people would think.  Would they view me differently? Would they wonder what happened? Would they feel sorry for me and view me as a victim?  Worse, would they believe me?

I have told very few friends and family what happened. Partially because it is hard to talk about, but mostly because I do not want anyone to see me differently.  Whenever I tell someone, I am worried they will not believe me, or that they will think I am exaggerating.  I had too much drink the night it happened, I invited him into my apartment, I knew my attacker, I was wearing a provocative outfit- these are all factors that discount a victim’s story.  We can do better as a society.  We need to teach boys not to rape; a girl can wear whatever she wants and drink as much as she likes.  It is not her job to make sure that she is not tempting other men the same way it is not a homeowner’s job to make sure their house is not tempting a burglar.  We need to take victims seriously when they come forward; dozens of women had to come forward about Weinstein before they were taken seriously.  Only one person should have to come forward for the allegation to be taken seriously.

The day that I was brave enough to go to the hospital and complete a rape kit for my experience I was told I would owe thousands of dollars for the four hours I spent being handed medication, swabbed and photographed.  It cost me $382 just to step into the hospital. I am blessed to be on my parents’ insurance, which covered almost all expenses, and they paid for the remaining balance.  It is not like that for everyone though.  Some women are required to spend years paying for the medical bills related to the attack after their assault.  They are faced with a harsh question: do I seek treatment for my assault or do I pray that he did not give me an STD?  The experience is traumatic enough itself, not person should have to spend a cent for care after they have been sexually assaulted.  If your house is broken into and you call the police, they do not bill you their services. If we fix one thing and only one thing, it is that treatment for sexual assault victims should be free.

We have come a long way as a society, but we still have a ton of work to do.  It is up to us to ensure that we raise a generation of men that do not rape, and it is up to us to take care for the people that this happens to.  My hope is that someday I will live in a world where I can easily say #MeToo without worrying about society thinks.

The Baylor You Willfully Ignore

Image courtesy of Baylor University


“I stand with Baylor.”

This phrase was uttered by forty-five Baylor students in a video entitled “The Baylor We Know” by Amy Zukoski.

The video is composed mainly of student testimony regarding how they each see Baylor. Statements such as “Everyone is so welcoming,” “Baylor is a loving community that accepts me for who I am,” and “Everyone has values,” were common throughout the video.

While not directly stated, it can be inferred that this video was made in response to Stephen A. Smith, a popular sports correspondent for ESPN, who encouraged parents to persuade their daughters against going to Baylor, citing recent Title IX violations and sexual assault scandals.

“The Baylor We Know” emphasizes the Christian values, inclusiveness, and what is claimed to be overall happiness experienced by Baylor students.

We all know about the firing of Art Briles and Ken Starr, the 52 alleged rapes by 31 football players over four years, the physical evidence of Art Briles’ and other coaching staffs’ cover up of athlete misconduct, but you may not know that the Big XII Board has officially withheld 25% of Baylor’s future revenue distribution awaiting independent verification of “proper institutional controls” or that Baylor has just received a one year accreditation warning. While it is not likely, we are at risk of losing our accreditation.

Baylor has given me a lot of opportunities. I came to Baylor specifically for the Professional Writing & Rhetoric major, and I think that I am a better writer for it. I have been honored to serve as editor of The Mug, and I have grown through my participation in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC) and the Honors Program. I have learned a great deal at Baylor and have made friends with whom I will be in contact for the rest of my life.

This does not mean that there are two Baylor Universities to understand: a good one and a bad one. There is one Baylor University. Baylor University is the place where I am writing my honors thesis overseen by outstanding faculty and where women were raped and were actively prevented from getting the justice they deserve. Baylor University is the place where at least a fourth of my classes had a stated Christian focus and where Title IX standards were actively ignored. Baylor University is the place where I ran across a football field in a bright yellow jersey alongside the chancellor as the football coach waved from the sidelines and where that same chancellor and football coach protected guilty parties from punishment.

Am I proud to be a Baylor Bear today? No. No I am not. In fact, it is my duty, as a Baylor Bear, to be disappointed in a school that I have placed so much of my faith in, that I have invested so much time in, that I will be paying off for the next twenty years, that, in future job interviews, I will have to defend. I will not say that I stand with Baylor. I will not applaud Baylor for trying to rectify its actions, as these violations of national policy, of human decency, should never have occurred in the first place. No matter how much I have enjoyed my time at Baylor, this “Baylor that I know” is the same Baylor that rape victims know. They are one in the same.

Saying “I stand with the Baylor I know” would be fine if that were all that Baylor is – chapel and sorority functions and small class sizes and coffee. But this is not the case. The joy that you have experienced is not a more legitimate Baylor experience than that of the women who have been assaulted and systematically prevented from achieving justice. There is more to Baylor. Thus, to say you “support the Baylor you know” is indicative of a willing ignorance of the horrors that some Baylor students have experienced and, furthermore, to delegitimize their struggles all for the sake of wearing green and gold, of drinking coffee at Common Grounds, of shouting “Sic ‘em” – without feeling guilty.

I will not be ignorant.

I will stand with Baylor when their standards meet national standards. I will stand with Baylor when all those who were raped or assaulted or threatened and were denied justice under Baylor’s watch receive what is their due. I will stand with Baylor when students who have been assaulted can come to know the joys that Baylor has to offer – as I have. I will stand with Baylor when athletes are held to the same standards as their fellow students. I will stand with Baylor when “no” does not mean “Go Bears,” but “no.”

Until that day and long after, I will support those who have been harassed and assaulted, I will watch and encourage Baylor’s attempts to rectify their mistakes, and I will remain a Baylor Bear. Yet it will be a while before I am proud to say so.


Lee Shaw is a junior majoring in professional writing and rhetoric.