Several bathrooms on Pitzer College's campus were found marked with the names of people considered to be “perpetrators of rape culture” last week. These names were removed by Saturday, Oct. 22.
Pitzer Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault, a survivor-centric organization that sustains a dialogue about sexual assault and rape culture on campus, acknowledged the ability of the forum as potentially triggering, and offered themselves as a source of support in an Oct. 26 email to students.
“The danger of being confronted with the name of a past assaulter in this manner has the potential to be extremely re-traumatizing and we want to encourage cognizance of this reality,” they wrote in the email.
Pitzer Title IX Coordinator Corinne Vorenkamp wrote in an email to students that the secret naming of alleged perpetrators was unfair to students and contrary to Pitzer's core values.
“The voices of victims and survivors of sexual assault are important, and we need to work together to ensure there is a safe space for them to be heard,” she wrote.
The names of two Advocates, both male-identifying, were included on the walls. According to the email from Advocates, both have stepped down from the group. This action temporarily leaves the group without male-identifying advocates.
It is “unacceptable for Advocates to perpetuate unsafe power dynamics on campus and we want to validate all of the concerns expressed,” Advocates wrote in the email to students.
On Wed., Oct. 26, PZ Advocates held a community meeting to respond to this event, providing a space for people affected by the list to create a safe a productive conversation. On Nov. 2, Advocates will also hold a forum-style event, where they will “invite and encourage the community to engage in a broader conversation about rape culture.”
Advocates stated in their email that the purpose of these events was to create space for survivors to speak, but acknowledged that “sexual assault and rape culture affect all people, regardless of gender or sexuality.”