Our overall goal for this project is to imagine a campus community where we are all accountable to and for each other. We want to support, primarily, those who had harm done to them, but also supporting those who caused the harm on their journey towards accountability. These demands are Davidson-specific and build upon work previously done by survivors and members of the Rape Awareness Committee. This list is in no way a comprehensive list of demands, but rather a starting point for student activists and organizations to use. We encourage students to use the work we have here to demand more from this institution and from our peers.
1. Create a sexual violence resource center
Proposed deadline: Have a Sexual Violence Resource Center by Spring 2023
What we are imagining: A Sexual Violence Resource Center would be responsible for the following:
- coordinating consent education and sexual violence prevention programs
- producing resources for survivors
- doing research on the impact of implemented programs and on attitudes towards sexual violence on campus [see demand #5]
- facilitating healing processes for survivors
- handling incidences of sexual violence between students and coordinating restorative justice processes if requested
- providing space for support groups (with proper, trained counselors/Mental Health Professionals) for survivors, with an emphasis on supports for survivors of color, NB/GNC/Trans survivors, queer survivors, disabled survivors, and other survivors from marginalized communities)
- research on the history of sexual violence and power as it pertains to sexual violence on campus
- counseling services and healing practices specifically for survivors
- trauma-informed practices of mindfulness and sexual healing
- provide consultation on different trauma-informed therapy options [EMDR, DBT, CBT, etc.]
- provide transportation to and from hospital for rape kits/medical services
- on-call counselors to provide assistance to survivors following an attack and/or to act in times of crisis for survivors [survivor advocates]
- have at least one full-time, fully paid restorative justice practitioner.
Why we think this matters: The Health Education Office at Davidson College “provides services and resources related to sexual and gender identity, sexual health and misconduct, alcohol and drug use and abuse, healthy relationships, and mental health and self-care.” For an issue as rampant and nuanced as sexual violence, there needs to be a specific center tasked with just supporting survivors of sexual violence and preventing it from happening in the first place.
Currently, Davidson College’s Health Education and Title IX Offices offer a more reactive, rather than a proactive, approach to sexual violence. The Health Education Office tries, through various programs and services, to do prevention education, but because of the load they have to take on and the number of employees they have, their work and scope is extremely limited. In other words, they are spread too thin. The Title IX Office can work with the Sexual Violence Resource Center to coordinate data collection and provide an institutionalized route to reporting, as it historically has. Conversely, the Title IX coordinator can refer cases and reports to the Sexual Violence Resource Center (and the Restorative Justice Practitioner) if they (and the survivor) feel that a non-punitive approach would best serve the survivor. The Title IX office would still be responsible for handling official complaints, that potentially end in punitive action (specifically through the Sexual Misconduct Policy).
We understand survivors’ desire to punish the people who caused them harm and do not want to take away that avenue for them. However, we believe that, to an extent, punitive approaches have the potential to perpetuate harm in our communities. The Sexual Misconduct Board (and/or the police) processes tend to retraumatize survivors and have rarely impacted the actual behavior of the accused. Additionally, there are explicit biases in both of those processes. Who feels comfortable talking to the police? Who feels comfortable talking to the administration? Who do the police target? The police (both town and college) are known to target and harass men of color, especially black men, especially if the person reporting is a white woman. Who can afford counsel when accused and when accusing someone? It would be naive to assume that the SVRC and its employees will be free of these implicit biases. It is our hope that they will best be able to address the intersection of sexual violence with class, race, gender, and sexuality through intentional, well-researched efforts and education. The formal reporting methods, as they stand currently, do not address these issues in the slightest. We have no idea about the racial breakdown of who reports/who gets charged/who is held responsible and there is nothing in place to provide adequate representation for both the survivor and the accused.
- Paid opportunities for students to conduct data collection and/or become trained survivor advocates (helpful for those who want to go into counseling/public health fields) (class credit can be given as well)
- A one-stop for students to get information they need, request trainings, talk about their own issues of sexual violence, etc.
- A safe-space on campus designated for survivors of sexual violence
- Opportunity for archival work and research (paid and/or class credit)
“Aside from the fact that it’s almost always poor and minority race men who are actually convicted, it’s to the advantage of the patriarchal State to encourage its citizens to see rape as a perverted form of sexual pleasure because that helps to contaminate the whole concept of sexuality as nasty, thus reinforcing the idea of the body as something that has to be controlled and legislated against by that State. When the State calls rape a crime it distracts people from realizing that implicitly through advertising, frustration inducement, and the concept of the righteousness of power of the stronger over the weaker, this society in fact promotes rape.” —“Anarcha-feminism” by Kytha Kurin, 4.
2. have a paid and trained restorative justice practitioner to facilitate healing processes
“Moving from the understanding that the retributive system we now possess inflicts harm as it seeks revenge or retribution, restorative justice instead seeks wholeness. It does this by focusing on relationships, community, and wholeness and also by focusing on harm and creating a community where people are free from harm….restorative justice allows us to examine relationships between systems–critique our understanding of crime, as well as systems such as gender. If our society is not whole, what are the causes of its brokenness? Could our gender system be part of the problem?” — “Transgender Women, Sexual Violence, and the Rule of Law: An Argument in Favor of Restorative and Transformative Justice” in Razor Wire Women, by Linda Heidenreich
Proposed deadline: Bring in a trained practitioner as early as Spring 2021; begin research on restorative & transformative justice on campuses as soon as possible (Spring 2020)
What we are imagining: Using the work of Sujatha Baliga (Director of the Restorative Justice Project), David Karp (author of The Little Book of Restorative Justice for Colleges and Universities: Repairing Harm and Rebuilding Trust in Response to Student Misconduct), Judah Oudshoorn, Michelle Jackett, and Lorraine S. Amstutz (authors of The little book of restorative justice for sexual abuse: hope through trauma), and other scholars and/or practitioners of restorative justice [listed in resources page], Davidson College should aim to model University of San Diego’s Center for Restorative Justice (https://www.sandiego.edu/soles/restorative-justice/). The Restorative Justice Project also provides a starting toolkit and trainings for interested participants (https://rjdtoolkit.impactjustice.org/). Ideally, the Sexual Violence Resource Center would have a Restorative Justice component larger than just one facilitator.
Restorative justice practices would not be possible without the work that has been and is being done by indigenous communities across the world. Rupert Ross’ book “Returning to the Teachings” outlines aboriginal practices of “peacemaker justice” (http://www.livingjusticepress.org/index.asp?Type=PRODLIST&SEC=%7B3D6035C9-904A-4BEC-8A15-FBEB4C65069D%7D&DE=%7BF92D356B-E9ED-4116-A7F1-9368D7F9ADC6%7D). We demand that Davidson College center indigenous voices and scholarship when researching, building, and developing a Restorative Justice program through the Sexual Violence Resource Center. This includes paying Indigenous persons for their work and their time.
We encourage that restorative justice practices be used outside of the context of sexual violence, including but not limited to, using it in cases of honor code violations and general student misconduct. We can all benefit from believing in our ability to change.
We are calling for restorative justice instead of transformative justice in this moment because our community is ever-changing (or at least changing every four years). For transformative justice processes to work, our community needs to work hard together and have members of it whom we trust to practice accountability processes. Because transformative justice is a radical model, it is outside of the political economy and thus cannot be compensated in the same way a restorative justice facilitator can be. We believe it is unfair to ask students to do this labour uncompensated, as students, particularly black women, already do so much unpaid emotional labour on this campus. Four years is not enough time to enact these accountability processes, but we do believe that our restorative justice approach and emphasis on transforming systems of harm (as transformative justice advocates for) will get the Davidson community to where it needs to be someday. This is just the beginning of an imagining otherwise.
Why we think this matters: We firmly believe that “sexual violence is not a story of individual monsters” and that treating the system of sexual violence as such does nothing to actually end sexual violence. Sexual violence is a collective moral failing of our society and community. We are all responsible, in varying degrees, for upholding rape culture, patriarchy, and allowing sexual violence in our circles. Rape culture permeates every aspect of our lives. Sexual violence is a consequence of rape culture and placing the blame on the individual does nothing to address the societal, cultural, and systemic aspects of sexual violence. Helping individuals who caused harm to change their behavior, learn from their actions, and make an ongoing commitment to dismantling patriarchal norms will help us all in transforming these detrimental systems of patriarchal violence and harm. Restorative justice processes, facilitated through the Sexual Violence Resource Center, help the survivor have their needs met and help the person(s) responsible for causing harm on their journey towards accountability. This accountability can look like a public acknowledgment of the harm they have caused, a disclosure of the harm to friends, family members, etc., and a social consequence (no F parties for a year, no attending Patterson Court Council, etc.). Advocating for the use of non-punitive measures is not us saying that we do not want people to have consequences for their actions. We are not trivializing harm or “taking the side” of those who caused it. We believe in the capacity of people to become and do better.
For more information on restorative justice practices and its benefits, please see our resources page. We also have critiques of restorative justice and why people choose transformative justice instead.
3. End the IFC Fraternities' Monopoly on first floor F (Armfield) and reallocate IFC fraternity houses on campus to students who have been historically marginalized by the institution
Proposed deadline: No more IFC fraternities’ on first floor F by Spring 2023 and reallocation of houses by Spring 2024.
What we are imagining: No more than two members of the same fraternity can live in the same apartment on the first floor of F.
Google Form: How would you reimagine Davidson’s social scene?
Why we think this matters: Currently, IFC fraternities dominate the social scene at Armfield. These all-male spaces typically consist of upperclassmen (juniors and seniors) serving alcohol to typically underage women (first-years and sophomores). Their living spaces are at the center of the parties, making it easier to bring incapacitated people into their rooms. Because they dominate the social scene and control a large part of alcohol distribution, these men have a disproportionate amount of power. By removing this space for IFC fraternities, we remove (and can possibly reallocate) some of their power.
For more on violence perpetuated in elite male peer groups, please read “Male Peer Support and Violence Against Women: The History and Verification of a Theory” by Walter S. DeKeseredy, and Martin D. Schwartz.
4. Trauma-informed and survivor-centric education programs for PCC organizations, student groups, and sports teams
Proposed deadline: Begin research on successful programs as soon as possible. Implementation of this program will happen through the Sexual Assault Resource Center.
What we are imagining: Comprehensive, compulsory, and continuous educational program(s) for all groups registered through the Activities Tax Council, Center for Civic Engagement, Patterson Court Council, Division 1 sports teams, and any other student organizations. These programs must include modules on racial discrimination, the intersections of sexual violence and marginalized identities, restorative justice training, and community accountability. We also demand specific programs for all-male peer support groups to deal with their shit (https://toleratedindividuality.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/dealing-with-our-shit-six-years-of-mens-group-and-accountability-work.pdf). We hope that these are modeled after “Dealing With Our Shit” (linked above) and “One in Four” (Ireland, UK, UVA, etc.).
Why we think this matters: According to CNN, “rarely does a college discuss sexual assault with its students for more than 60 minutes in an entire college career, if they do at all.” (https://www.cnn.com/2013/10/09/opinion/foubert-fraternities-rape/)
We believe that in order to eradicate rape culture, we need to have challenging, constant, and consistent conversations about sexual violence and how we are all responsible for contributing to this violence. One education session at the beginning of our first year here is not enough.
5. Data collection focusing on the impact of consent education programs and sexual violence trainings
Proposed deadline: Begin research on data collection processes (similar to the work of Foubert, Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling, and others in our resource section) as soon as possible. Implementation of this program will happen through the Sexual Assault Resource Center.
What we are imagining: Surveys similar to the research done in the papers mentioned above. Walter S. DeKeseredy, and Martin D. Schwartz have a comprehensive section on this in Chapter 5 of “Male Peer Support and Violence Against Women: The History and Verification of a Theory”. We also demand more studies on “undetected rapists”(Foubert).
Why we think this matters: Longitudinal studies are necessary for figuring out if we’re doing things right and what measures we must take to fix any issues. The “ rapists” surveys will help get a better feel of how many assaults take place on campus that are not reported by survivors.
6. Forbid IFC Fraternities from having overnight formals
Proposed deadline: Fall 2021
What we are imagining: No overnight formals for IFC fraternities. Fraternities can have their formals at the Quarry or another nearby location.
Why we think this matters: IFC fraternity brothers paying a large amount of money (between $60 and $200) to travel over three hours to a hotel with their dates (whom some of them don’t know very well) contributes directly to rape culture within fraternities and on campus. There are certain expectations for women when being “chosen” to go to a formal with a fraternity member–sharing a bed, making a cooler, traveling with their date, drinking a lot, and being an overall “fun” time. A Davidson College fraternity member said to a first-year woman who was attending a formal with him: “if you think you’re not having sex this weekend, you’re lying to yourself.” This attitude, while maybe not always as explicit as the quote above, is an underlying assumption and confusion about most frat formals. The power is, again, disproportionately placed in the hands of the fraternity member: they probably paid for your ticket, you most likely have to share a bed with them, and there is a certain ~expectation~ on how you will behave as a date. There is no way to redistribute this power imbalance other than getting rid of the practice itself.
7. Prioritize community and accountability over liability
“I am sick of accountability and its lack of transparency. I am sick of triangulating. I am sick of hiding power exchange. I am sick of hope. I have been raped. I have been an unfair manipulator of power in some of my intimate relationships. I have had sexual exchanges that were a learning curve for better consent. I have the potential in me to be both survivor and perp — abused and abuser — as we all do.”
— “Safety is An Illusion: Reflections on Accountability” by Angustia Celeste (http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/anonymous-the-broken-teapot#toc1)
Proposed deadline: NOW!!
What we are imagining: A Davidson community that lives up to the standards it claims to uphold. In other words, stop coddling yourself and your friends. If your friend does something shitty, call them out and help them figure out how to make amends/ensure they don’t do it ever again. If you do something shitty, tell someone and go to counseling. Help the people you care about in their journey to accountability. This could look like taking your friend who assaulted someone to counseling, making sure they understand the harm they’ve caused, and making sure they don’t do it again. Treating someone as a liability looks like shunning them socially, kicking them out of your organization, and never addressing the harm they’ve caused or what they could do to repair it. People are not their worst days and we encourage friends to help others do the hard work of repairing harm, especially if these friends were not directly impacted by the harm. This includes transforming spaces (all male peer support spaces in particular) into places that do not encourage harm. It is not just men who uphold these systems and contribute to this violence, but all members of our campus community.
Why we think this matters: There is a practice of “canceling” your friends/acquaintances/strangers who commit sexual violence. We understand not wanting to be in contact with someone who harmed you. This is not what we are talking about. We are talking about people (typically cismen) who regularly distance themselves from their friends (who are also typically cismen) who do shitty things (make racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic jokes, commit sexual violence) without actually addressing and trying to stop their behavior or prevent them from doing these things again. What we are saying is that we owe it to each other to be better and to do better.