In spite of the aura of perfection that surrounds Boston College, the truth about our imperfections still shines through: just like other universities around the world, we are faced with issues of sexual violence everyday. No one is immune to thinking that “it doesn’t happen here,” and “we aren’t that kind of school,” though it is a common sentiment to want to separate yourself from this kind of crime, to pretend it doesn’t affect you. But the statistics beg to differ. One in five college women will be sexually assaulted during their time at school, a statistic that is one of the most controversial in the rape culture debate today.
We aren’t immune to sexual violence on our campus, nor are we prevented from talking about it, as C.A.R.E. week aims to enforce. The week, dedicated to rape education, seeks to inform the Boston College community about sexual assault, healthy relationships, and what to do in the event that you or someone you know has an issue of this sort. The programs during the week, from Sunday, March 22nd to Friday, March 27th, range from informative speakers to emotional painting sessions.
The week’s main event is Take Back the Night, to be held on Wednesday, March 25th at 6 pm. An evening filled with heart-wrenching stories of hope, as survivors tell their stories of sexual violence, the campus comes together to celebrate the progress and resilience of this community and show support for those who need it the most.
In my opinion, C.A.R.E. Week is about more than outsiders looking in on a problem that has yet to affect them. It is not about pity or charity, or feeling sympathy for someone but not truly understanding where their feelings lie. I have realized that we all have a story to tell that correlates with the mission that this week hopes to accomplish.
As a female at Boston College, and in my high school experience as well, I have often been put in uncomfortable situations that could have been prevented, though my stories pale in comparison to those profiled this week. The issues of sexual violence are always in the back of my mind, as I’m sure they are apparent to all women – and men – on this campus and beyond. Especially as someone who likes to be in total control at all times, the idea that someone could take that away from me is frightening.
The mission of C.A.R.E. Week is universal and no one is exempt from caring about an issue that affects us all. From preventing sexual violence to endorsing healthy relationships on campus and beyond, this week aims to make Boston College a healthier, happier campus, and that goal is something we can all take part in.