The Daily Tar Heel
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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

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The Daily Tar Heel

I am disappointed and angry. My anger and disappointment hit me for many reasons and in different ways. The most shocking reason being that the sexual assault claim issued by Delaney Robinson was grossly mishandled. I live on campus. I love everything about UNC – from my professors and classes to Sup Dogs and all-nighters in the Undergraduate Library. What’s terrifying is that my roommates, my friends and I could easily find ourselves in Delaney’s shoes.

Since Tuesday, I have been in awe of how ignorant, indifferent and dismissive people can be when the topic of sexual assault arises.

Sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere. Between the blaming and pointing fingers, there is something to learn from some members of the UNC community’s actions in this case.

To begin, let’s define consent. Consent is “permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.” Note the “agreement” aspect of that definition. In most situations, an agreement requires more than one party. In sexual situations, you most definitely need an agreement between two people.

To be clear:

“Yes” means yes.

“No” means no.

“I don’t know” means no.

Not being coherent enough to speak means no.

If a person is “blackout drunk,” that means no.

What a person ate or with whom they have a relationship does not impact a single instance of consent.

What a person is wearing does not impede their ability to communicate. Therefore, it should not be brought up in a conversation when discussing sexual assault.

In asking those questions, you are not only delegitimizing their experience, but you may contribute to the person blaming themselves for what happened.

If Robinson’s lawyer is correct, one would think that the UNC Department of Public Safety would have been respectful and considerate when interacting with Robinson.

Honestly, I was sure that “The Hunting Ground” would have impacted the psyche of every viewer to the point where most people on campus would at least be familiar with the film. I cannot change what happened, nor force any administrator’s hand, but what I can do is use this column as a tool of reflection.

This keeps happening. And it keeps hitting closer and closer to home. How long will you let it continue before the house collapses?

A badge, or a title indicating civil authority, implies that you protect and serve. Naturally, one thinks of protecting people physically, but you should also protect their dignity. You can be friendly and respectful without delegitimizing the claim or emotions of the other party involved.

It takes strength and bravery to report an assault. It takes even more strength to endure months of waiting around while those you entrusted to protect and support you neglect to do so.

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