My University holds a Take Back the Night ceremony every April to talk about sexual awareness in our community. I submitted my story to the Take Back the Night committee on campus to be considered to be a speaker. The committee composed of students and counselors at the Counseling center that was putting the event together. I was told by the committee that because I was raped in the military and because of the high percentage of Active Duty members and veterans on campus that they won’t be able to allow me to speak. They said that what I went through in the military may offend others. They felt MST was too controversial. The students in the committee advocated for me but the permanent staff on campus overruled them.
Many of my friends and classmates came to my side but by then it were too late since Take Back the Night came and went.
The following year when it was time for Take Back the Night my University not wanting to cause the uproar that it did the previous year decided to include Military Sexual Trauma to the event’s agenda. Instead of allowing a veteran or two to share their personal stories, they felt that it was best to bring a non-veteran employee from the VA to share with the University community the little she knows about MST. The presenter even admitted that she does not directly work with veterans with Military Sexual Trauma but she oversees the entire department for women and “some may have MST.” When asked how MST is different than civilian rape she could not answer. If they wanted a professional view on MST instead of a survivor’s story they should at least have brought in the MST program coordinator at the VA or a speaker from MRCC!
Take Back the Night Foundation has been contacted and they did a Public Relation spin on this matter refusing to make the University accountable for misusing and abusing Take Back the Night name and Logo to silence survivors of military sexual trauma.
This was at University of Massachusetts in Boston.
post has been edited since original posting as per the writer’s request