When Betsey Devos was invited to speak at University of Baltimore’s graduation, FORCE organized a series of action to show our resistance. As 45’s administration’s continues to attack survivors – at home, abroad and on campus. 45 revoked the visas of nearly 60,000 Haitian immigrants. Roy Moore nearly won a Senate seat in Alabama – a man who dreams of an America where Black people were enslaved – and has had nine women allege assault against him. DeVos has raised the burden of proof for survivors on campus – making it harder for college students who experience sexual violence to seek justice. The lesson we as survivors learn again and again, is that rape is an American institution – and that speaking out harms us, and makes us more vulnerable within a toxic culture that seeks to punish survivors for asking to be believed. While belief is a luxury for any survivor, we know that for survivors of color, queer and trans folks, folks with disabilities, immigrants and/or undocumented people, youth and Muslim communities, belief in our histories — the things that have happened to our bodies — becomes nearly impossible. We believe it doesn’t have to be this way. In response, FORCE hosted a google hangout conversation on what it would mean to create a new tradition of belief in America.
FORCE joined with awQward, GLSEN Maryland, JHU Sexual Assault Resource Unit, End Rape On Campus, and the Marsha P Johnson Institute to host this conversation. The online action followed a protest that FORCE participated in with GLSEN Maryland and University of Baltimore faculty and students outside of the graduation ceremony.
The infograph series was designed by Shanti Flagg and Saida Agostini.