At USC My Body is a Battlefield
The recent news of the latest USC sexual assault scandal has left students, faculty, and people across the country furious. As a student at USC this tragedy feels familiar. My eyes begin to water. My hands shake. My heart starts racing so fast from anger and disappointment and heart break I feel like I might pass out some times. Headlines detailing sexual harassment, sexual assault, discrimination based on gender, race, sexuality are nothing new at USC. And having the administration time and time again ignore the violence committed on our bodies, our souls is a feeling I carry around with me. From my own experiences and from the constant influx of instances where I hear the stories of other woman being degraded on this campus.
Being a woman at USC makes me cry some days.
In a bathroom at school. In the parking lot of a fraternity. In class. In the Title IX office.
People like to think this story line is nothing but a myth. But thats only because they don’t see it. Or they choose to ignore it. Most of all its because they have been lucky enough not to experience what its like to have a random boy put his hand so far up your dress and grab your thigh so violently as he WALKS by you at a frat party that its hard to push his hand away. When you’re dancing with your friends on a Friday night, just trying to have a good time, and out of no where somebody comes up from behind you and you feel his erected penis rubbing against your back. When somebody pulls out $100 dollars from his wallet and offers it to you if you’ll make-out with him. My stories of being groped non consensually can go on and on.
These are just some of my experiences as a student here at USC. They have shaped me. They have made me scared. Scared to go to clubs because of the amount of people there. Scared to go out anywhere too far from my school apartment. Flinching by any brush of a shoulder I get at parties. They have made me defensive and aggressive at times.
They have made me realize that my body is a battle field.
But my story is just one out of the hundreds of thousands of women at USC that have experienced incidents similar to mine and far worse. And USC does little to nothing to protect us.
As a result of the disgusting amount of sexual assault that takes place at our school I and my fellow classmates became involved in Ainsley Carry’s sexual assault task force. After two years on this task force working endlessly to restructure sexual misconduct policy and diligently for six months to create a 5 year plan for a new sexual assault education curriculum, at the request of Ainsley Carry, I realized this task force wasn’t for the students. None of our ideas were being implemented. Not for lack of quality. But because the task force was the adminstrations way of saying “Hey! Looking we technically are addressing the issue”. It was never about us. It was about them and their image.
When we ask for help from the administration we are faced with empty promises of “progress to come”. Our Title Ix cases have been ignored or tampered with. Our administration sympathizes with any perpetrator who isn’t found guilty in the LA Times. It isn’t until the press gets involved that USC actually does.
Our stories aren’t worth anything to the administration until they are worth everything to news outlets across the country. Until we file lawsuits and refuse to turn our tragedies into another “Im sorry” letter Nikias, Ainsley Carry, and Michael Quick can send out to the entire school as a pathetic display of sympathy.
C.L. Max Nikias, Ainsley Carry, Michael Quick, and Gretchen Means.
We wont stand for it anymore. We never did. And we never will.