Editorial: You don’t have to march alone


Cristian Orellana

Students gather in front of Marquette Hall for Take Back the Night on October 24. Students and community members gather to advocate for sexual assault victims. Photo credit: Cristian Orellana

Sexual violence can be a hard topic to talk about. Amy Jackson, head of the New Orleans branch of the Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response organization, has said that “sexual assault is an abnormal event. As such, there is no such thing as a normal reaction to it.” With a news cycle that has made the conversation topic almost inescapable, it’s important to remember that if you’ve dealt with this before, you are going to have your own path to recovery. And even if you’re not ready to seek help, we want you to know that if you need it, we at Loyola are here for you.

Loyola offers many different avenues of support for survivors of sexual assault, but there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. The best one is going to be the one that you’re comfortable with. It’s easy to say that when this happens, the proper course of action is to report it and let the police deal with it. But we know it’s not that easy. If you feel ready to come forward, we have a great Title XI coordinator who help you through the process. Dr. Diana Ward is stationed on the second floor of the Dana Center, and she will do her best to make the reporting process as easy as possible.

But whether or not you decide to report, it’s important to take care of yourself day to day as well. And once again, this is going to look different for everyone. Of course it’s important to practice self-care during times of acute stress: getting enough sleep, eating well, etc.. But for some, self-care can be just turning off the TV. Jackson recommended that if hearing about sexual assault on the news is going to be triggering, then sometimes it’s best to just take a break from the hearing about it. According to Jackson, it’s not worth your mental state.

No matter what self-care looks like to you, sometimes it just makes it easier to know that you’re not alone. That’s what makes events such as the Take Back the Night march so important. Watching the news cycle can be discouraging. For every two steps we take forward, it can seem like we take a step back. That’s why it’s nice to know that no one has to face this issue by themselves. We may not win every battle, but even the losses we don’t have to face alone.