Saturday Night: Untold Stories of Sexual Assault at
Duke is a
publication designed to share survivor accounts and
community viewpoints of the Duke community. It
publishes narratives, essays, poems and artwork.
Through its publication, we hope the magazine will
be tool to raise awareness and ultimately aid in
sexual assault prevention. At the same time, it is
our hope that survivors of sexual assault can find
some measure of healing through sharing their
Sat Night In The News:
Duke's Student Newspaper: The Chronicle
Other News Stories:
"What Is Sexual Assault?"
Click here to post your responses
Why We Did It:
On October 9th, 2003, one of our friends was
attacked and sexual assaulted by an unknown
perpetrator in her own bathroom. Our own shock and
feelings of helplessness soon hardened into resolve
to fight back; however, we were unsure of where to
begin. Through discussions with Duke’s Women’s
Center, we soon learned that this type of random
attack and sexual assault is the minority of cases
concerning sexual assault. The majority of cases are
unreported, committed by fellow students, and
frequently the survivor knows the perpetrator.
Preventing this type of sexual assault would not
mean locks on bathrooms and increased security
patrols. Rather, it would require a change in
community culture and a difficult, person-by-person
reckoning of personal ethics and responsibility.
We decided that the intimate
voices and perspectives of sexual assault survivors
from our own student body could be the key to
starting this community self reflection and change.
With amazing strength and resilience, the survivor
of the October 9th attack penned an anonymous guest
commentary in the student newspaper inviting the
Duke community to share their voices. (Click
to read this letter)
The responses were numerous and diverse. Survivors
wrote, sharing their personal tragedies, their
anger, and their demand for an end to the violence.
Concerned students wrote encouraging more campus
dialogue. Others wrote confused and questioning
definitions of sexual assault. These responses were
compiled into the first edition of Saturday Night:
Untold Stories of Sexual Assault at Duke.
Despite our initial momentum, the real challenge
would be using this powerful community dialogue in a
manner to encourage real change. We started with the
premise that awareness is not enough. Sexual assault
is not stopped by awareness. It is stopped by
individual actions. How could we publish this
magazine and actually create change and not just
awareness? People are shocked when they first read
survivors’ narratives, but how would we transform
that shock into an impetus for change?
We find ourselves still searching for good answers
to this question. We’ve had tremendous support and
affirmation that the publication is reaching many on
campus. However, we’re working to reach all on
campus. Current uses of the publication include:
campus dialogues facilitated by Women’s Center
volunteers, faculty member in-class use in relevant
courses, and campus distribution in prominent areas.
We hope to soon begin targeting groups for
facilitated dialogues about sexual assault and the
publication (Greek organizations, clubs, and dorms).