Editorial | Remember sexual assault survivors for achievements

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

In the midst of the #MeToo movement and the recent increase in reports of sexual assault, it is more important than ever to recognize the survivors of such atrocities as more than their sexual assault stories. Their assaults are not their only chapters; their assaults do not define them.
We need to remember them by their accomplishments, not only by the horrible things that happened to them. In an effort to start this trend, The Daily Illini editorial board has compiled a list of survivors and their impressive achievements.

Emily Doe (Chanel Miller)

  • She is an older sister.
  • She is a novelist and artist.
  • She earned a bachelor’s degree in Literature from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • She has taken part in a 60 Minutes interview
  • Her memoir is being published later this month

Terry Crews: 

  • He is a retired professional football player.
  • He is an actor appearing in both movies and T.V. shows such as the popular NBC show “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and the film “Blended” with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler.
  • He was the host of the game show“Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”

Tarana Burke

  • She is the founder of the #MeToo movement.
  • She is an African-American activist.
  • She is the senior director at Girls for Gender Equity in Brooklyn.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford: 

  • She received her bachelor’s degree  from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
  • She studied higher education at Pepperdine University, University of Southern California and Stanford. 
  • She has worked as a professor at Palo Alto University. 
  • She has also trained graduate students at Stanford.

Lewis Howes: 

  • He is a retired professional football player.
  • He is a New York Times best selling author.
  • He is a founder of a multi-million dollar brand.
  • He is a host of a top-100 podcast.

Members of USA Gymnastics Team (Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman):

  • They won eight Olympic medals between the four of them.
  • They won the team event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Kesha: 

  • She has accumulated an extensive list of awards, including two Grammy nominations and three American Music Awards.
  • She won the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award.
  • She has released three studio albums.

Anonymous assaulted: 

  • They are a daughter, a son.
  • They are a brother, a sister.
  • They are a student, a teacher, an entrepreneur, an actor, a model, a senator, an engineer, a reporter, an author and an athlete.
  • They are an award winner.
  • They are a pinnacle of strength.

To be clear, the sexual assault these people suffered through should not be swept under the rug or erased from history.

It is crucial we see these humans as complex, messy and real people ,and we can’t reduce them to mere victims.

Sexual assault is a horrible, prominent issue. Here are some resources on campus if you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted

Local sexual assault center, RACES: 217-384-4444.

Emergency Dean: 217-333-0050.

Women’s Resources Center: 217-333-3137.

University of Illinois Counseling Center: 217-333-3704.