May 1, 2014
As the clock struck noon on Friday, April 25, over 50 student-athletes, coaches, administrators and other members of the community gathered outside of Commons Dining Hall for the second annual sexual assault reading.
In the past year, Athletic Director Jon Hind ’80 has worked to create a great partnership between SAVES and the athletic department. This partnership has born the sexual assault readings, which have proven very successful both years.
This year, there were 17 stories read by over 25 male student-athletes from a wide range of teams. The stories were written by survivors of sexual assault and remained anonymous. For 45 minutes, student-athletes read each story to the crowd, which increased as more members of the Hamilton community stopped to listen. Each story brought its own powerful message against sexual assault.
As a student reader, I have rarely been in a more powerful setting. The stories were frighteningly honest and were treated with reverence by each reader and listener. It was impossible to be at this event without gaining a new understanding of how sexual assault victims feel both during and after an attack. While we can never fully understand what survivors go through, this reading shed light on an often overlooked topic.
Each reading was written in first-person, often leaving the readers speechless as they read through horrifying stories for the first time. The clear message that came through from this event was that sexual assault has no place at Hamilton or anywhere else.
Hind has made sexual assault awareness one of the cornerstones of the athletics department and has striven to ensure that, not only every student-athlete, but every student understands the consequences of sexual assault.
Events like the reading are only one step that the Hamilton community is taking to eliminate sexual assault and violence. SAVES has trained many peer advocates as well as sponsored various events for survivors while raising awareness.
SAVES’ partnership with athletics is crucial as a study done by the National Coalition against Violent Athletes notes that although male athletes make up only 3.3 percent of the population, they are responsible for 19 percent of sexual assaults and one in three college sexual assaults. Hamilton athletics is making a positive step forward and will continue to impress upon both its athletes and the student body that sexual assault is not welcome anywhere.
As one story ended, “True love should not come with bruises.”