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Campus sexual assault survivors ask schools for an apology

The #JustSaySorry campaign also wants donors to halt funds until schools admit wrongdoing.


Jaya Saxena


Posted on Aug 8, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 7:32 am CDT

Campus sexual violence has become a hot topic, as many colleges across the country continue to poorly handle issues of sexual assault. Often victims aren’t taken seriously by school officials, while the accused walk away with a slap on the wrist, if they’re punished at all. 

Today, Survivors Eradicating Rape Culture (SERC) started the #JustSaySorry campaign, in hopes that schools will acknowledge where they’re falling short.

“There have been an increased number of proposed laws meant to address campus sexual violence on the state and federal level, but these get caught up in the slow-turning wheels of bureaucracy,” SERC writes on its website. “The #JustSaySorry campaign offers schools a simple and immediate means to begin to cure past harms and to foster a sense of trust and safety with their students. No excuses, no lofty promises—just apologies.”

The campaign not only seeks apologies from schools across the country, but also calls for current students and alumni to post that they will not donate to schools until campus sexual violence is addressed. 

Across the internet, people have been joining the campaign.

Organizer Wagatwe Wanjuki, who was expelled from Tufts after being sexually assaulted by another student, even burned her Tufts gear in protest. In the video, she says, “Tufts didn’t follow the law. They’re the first school in the history of the United States to be found in violation of Title IX when it comes to sexual violence. And they won’t even mention my name.”

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While an apology certainly doesn’t erase rape and sexual assault, or punish those who committed it, SERC says the ongoing silence about sexual violence hurts victims even more. “Many survivors of campus sexual violence feel ignored and sidelined by their schools. This ongoing harm is both invalidating and re-traumatizing,” SERC writes. An apology, it argues, “would not only demonstrate their commitment to their students, but have a potentially tremendous impact on survivors’ healing and their administration’s culture.”

#JustSaySorry organizers have not returned the Daily Dot’s request for comment, but in an interview with Rewire, Wanjuki says, “Schools have so much power over the course of our lives. When they refuse to support the most vulnerable in our society, they are not being the beacons of knowledge and nurturing that they claim to be.”

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*First Published: Aug 8, 2016, 5:58 pm CDT