Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 28, 2012 18:10
Trigger Warning: The following contains references to sexual assault.
The editorial board of the Sophian would like to express our utmost support for the recent article in the Amherst Student, written by former Amherst student Angie Epiano regarding her harrowing first hand experience with sexual assault, which took place during her time at Amherst College. On Oct. 17, the Amherst Student published Epifano’s account of her rape and the ways in which Amherst College neglected to attend to her needs as a survivor. It is also clear from Epifano’s article that rape culture is something that needs to be acknowledged by the administrations and the student bodies of both Amherst College and other institutions of higher learning.
We would like to strongly applaud the Amherst Student’s editorial board for publishing Epifano’s portrayal of her rape and would like to personally thank her for her incredible bravery in speaking out about a topic as critical as sexual assault, which is one that undoubtedly affects all students in the Five College Consortium and across the nation. Sexual assaults on college campuses are too often swept under the rug and the Sophian strongly believes that Epifano’s piece will play an essential role in spurring more frequent discussions of these issues now and in the future. We also believe that Epifano has given a voice to men and women who are victims of sexual assault and who have not yet told their stories. We hope that her account will help to establish a space in which other victims are given the opportunity and support to come out and seek the help and recognition they deserve.
The Sophian would like to further stress the journalistic responsibility that all publications have in regard to publishing pieces such as Epifano’s. It is every student newspaper’s moral responsibility to publish first hand accounts of violence and assault – especially those that have gone particularly undetected and represent a larger cultural issue within the environment.
Below is a list of sexual assault resources provided by the state of Massachusetts via mass.gov, as well as resources available on campus:
Everywoman’s Center (Amherst): (888) 337-0800
New England Learning Center for Women in Transition Rape Crisis Center (N.E.L.C.W.I.T.) (Greenfield): (413) 772-0806
YWCA of Northampton (Northampton): (413) 586-6807
YWCA of Western MA Abuse & Rape Crisis Hotline (Springfield): (413) 733-7100, (800) 796-8711, ywcaofwestma.com
Smith College Sexual Assault Resources: smith.edu/sao/sexualassaultresources/
Students Against Sexual Assault: sophia.smith.edu/sasa/
We must do everything in our power to stop a culture of silence. One voice can represent many. Thank you, Ms. Epifano, for telling your story.