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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | FEBRUARY 20, 2014 5:00 AM

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End sexual terrorism

Over the past few months, I have received several emails from the University Department of Public Safety concerning campus sexual assaults. It is understandable how and why the victims referred to in the University Department of Public Safety wish to remain anonymous. I am not criticizing their decisions. However, I am calling for the rest of us to cry out. This sexual terrorism needs to end.

I am writing this letter as nothing other than pointed activism. I hope that my voice can serve those who have been silenced and those of us living in fear.

As a woman, I have been taught to always be aware of my surroundings, to stay away from men I don’t know, to suspect the ones I do know, to keep my drink covered with my hand, and to walk in groups. I have been conditioned to be suspicious of all men. However, this suspicion — this fear, really — has become hyper-vigilant because of the frequency and commonplace nature of the sexual attacks on our campus. Not only is it unsafe for me to take a cab home after a couple glasses of wine at Brix, it is unsafe for me to simply walk anywhere at night. Like every person with a feminine body on campus, I feel terrorized. I feel frightened in a place I call home and endangered within my community. 

When I receive such emails, I ask myself, “Who are these people? Who are these victims? Who are these assailants? Are they my peers? Are they my students?” The hardest question of all is, “What can be done?”

By writing this letter to The Daily Iowan, I am doing the only thing I can think of to be done from my position as a graduate student and TA: to say something, to say it as loud as I can and to invite others to speak out with me. I write this letter in solidarity with all of those who identify as women on campus and all of those who feel sexually terrorized.

These attacks on our bodies need to end. This sexual terrorism needs to end. I hope my voice, here, serves as protest and that we can find other ways to combat this violence.

If anyone would like to organize further activism with me, please find my email below: corey-hickner-johnson@uiowa.edu.

Corey Hickner-Johnson, M.A.
Ph.D. student in English and Gender, Women’s, & Sexuality Studies
Graduate Instructor in Rhetoric
University of Iowa


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