Speaker shares story of sexual assault

Anne Walkup, Opinions Editor

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“Spoiler alert—we’re not going to be talking about puppies tonight,” said author and speaker Bonny Shade to open her presentation about sexual assault Tuesday evening in Ice Auditorium.

Though the theme of her speech was heavy, Shade lightened the tone at times by cracking jokes, asking questions of the audience members and using Chipotle as a euphemism for sex.

Shade tackled the heavier parts of the presentation by telling stories about her own experiences, including how during her sophomore year of college she was raped in her sleep by her so-called best friend.

Audience members felt that Shade effectively connected with them. “I loved how relatable she was,” said Genevieve O’Brien ’21. “It wasn’t just a lectures with a bunch of statistics, and I liked how she made it age appropriate as well as the fact that she was able to connect to us on a women to woman level.”

The Linfield Panhellenic Council (LPC) was in charge of organizing the presentation and booking Shade.

The presentation, which Shade gave twice—one at 6 p.m. open to women only and one at 9 p.m. open to both men and women—was a required event for all members of Linfield’s fraternities and sororities to attend.

All fraternity and sorority members have to attend a bystander intervention training each year.

“For so long, our bystander intervention training has simply been a slideshow with the same information given each year,” said LPC president Tanis Campbell, ’19. “LPC had talked about changing our bystander training for a long time, but we weren’t exactly sure how to do so.”

Prior to this year, the training had been a presentation given separately to each sorority and fraternity individually during their chapter meetings.

Campbell said that LPC decided to host a larger group after their advisor Mikenna Whatley attended one of Shade’s speeches during the annual Fraternity and Sorority Life Leadership Conference.

“We saw the importance of educating the whole community, as sexual assault is a universal issue that affects all kinds of people,” Campbell said.

Indeed, Shade drew attention to the fact that the Linfield community is directly impacted by sexual assault. She told the audience that there have been two reported cases of sexual assault among the Linfield community this year. She continued that there are probably over 200 more who have experienced sexual assault, due to the fact that so many cases go unreported.

“I appreciated her use of Linfield specific statistics and bringing men into the conversation instead of pushing them out, as well as her analogies that made a difficult topic approachable and appropriate,” said Campbell.

Shade agrees that her speech dealt with “a messy subject.” However, she communicated to the audience how strongly she feels about having conversations about it. “I’ve made it my life’s goal to end college sexual assault. I need you on board with me.”