A letter to Kelsey Santmyer

Dear Kelsey,

We cannot begin to count the number of ways our University has failed you. You were failed two years ago when you were raped. You were failed when you were shut out by your peers and slipped through the cracks of University policy. You were failed by all of us when you published your column and we were silent.

Last week we watched you so courageously take the podium and look out into a sea of people who weren’t there to support you. Those of us there to stand by you were overshadowed by student organizations and administrators who were there to save their own skin. Your message was eloquent and strong: that you believed in the survivors sitting in the audience. You should have been met with sweeping support and compassion, but instead you were met with self-victimization from individuals who felt it necessary to refute your experience.

You deserve more than this, so we are here to write you the response you deserve. We are sorry. You are believed. It was never your fault. We support you, and we are on your side. You are not alone.

Words cannot express our sorrow, but we hope our direct actions to fight sexual violence culture on campus can honor you. We speak these words on behalf of those who have been silenced or don’t feel safe for fear of retaliation.

In Solidarity,

The 1 in 5 Collective