With June comes the anticipation of the end of the school year for many hard working high school and college students eager to start the next phase of their lives. For many, graduation offers the chance to celebrate achievements but also to reflect on lessons learned both in and out of the classroom. I’ve been impressed by a recent example of a courageous Pomona College student and many of her graduating peers for using their graduation ceremony to highlight the school’s mishandling of her sexual assault.
Recovery from past sexual abuses can be encouraged by the victim taking action against the perpetrator when appropriate and also speaking out to change a system that may facilitate the offender getting away with their crime.
Here is another example of Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz carrying a mattress to graduation to mark the culmination of her year long visual art project raising awareness of sexual assault and her school’s lax response after her rape by a fellow student.