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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Normally, Fridays are reserved for Darts & Laurels. But today, the Alligator would like to dedicate this editorial to the survivors of sexual assault, the victim advocates, nurses and detectives who work to heal survivors. 

This week we ran a five-part series on student survivors of sexual assault. 

Monday, we gave you statistics, Tuesday we gave you survivors and their stories, Wednesday we profiled professionals who help survivors, Thursday we informed you on the legal options survivors have and today we showed you how these immensely brave survivors are recovering.

This series would not have been made possible without these survivors who came forward and trusted us to share their stories. They didn’t only expose the horrors of sexual assault in our society, but they also shared some of their worst nightmares as a reminder for other survivors: You aren’t alone, it’s not your fault, you are loved and you control your own life. 

For those survivors to retell the pain of their assault in hopes of helping other survivors come forward is one of the bravest acts we at the Alligator will see in our lives. 

This is why we’ve dedicated this series to these survivors and responders — because nothing could be more human and moving than their stories. And it’s one we all need to hear.

This series has been a story of loss — a loss of power, self-worth, safety and trust. It’s been a story of the unspeakable, the unforgettable. But it’s also been a story of strength, recovery and reclaiming that lost power. It’s been a story of holding one another up and sharing the pain. It’s been a story of moving forward against all odds.

As difficult as it is to talk about, and as much as our society tries to ignore its prevalence and severity — as we said before — sexual assault is real. It happens on our campus to our fellow Gators. It’s devastating, and it’s hurt so many innocent lives. 

This is why we need to start engaging the conversation about the fact that sexual assault does happen, and it’s OK to talk about it. As was the case with the brave survivors who came forward, our society’s recovery process will be slow and difficult. But it can be done if we are united.

Through their eyes, we can press forward together.

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