Commentary  Solidarity with survivors


Dear Daily,

The Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Students’ Society (SACOMSS) would like to express its solidarity with Landen Gambill. Gambill is a student at the University of North Carolina (UNC) facing an Honor Code violation, filed against her in response to her complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, alleging that UNC “has routinely violated the rights of sexual assault survivors and failed to assist them in recovery after the reported abuse.”

Earlier this year, Gambill made the very brave decision to file a formal complaint with her university against her rapist. For her decision to be met with possible expulsion and challenges brought to her by the university is atrocious. A survivor’s decision to talk about their experiences of sexual assault is that, a decision, and it is never necessary to do so. Once one chooses to share their experiences, however, it is crucial that they be met with support and belief, two sentiments absent from UNC’s reaction to Gambill. Part of a university’s responsibility is to ensure the safety of members of the university community; this includes supporting survivors of sexual assault. Instead, it seems that UNC has chosen tactics of alienation and intimidation.

As a student-run sexual assault centre committed to offering support to survivors and their allies, we feel it is important to express our concern over the handling of Gambill’s experiences by her university and community. We wish to extend our support and solidarity with Gambill through this ordeal, and acknowledge her courage throughout this process. Gambill deserves to be respected and believed, as well as to see this process end equitably.

Sexual Assault Centre of McGill Students’ Society