Tag Archives: sexual assault

#YesAllWomen and Making College Campuses a Safe Space

#YesAllWomen is taking off on Twitter right now, and if you haven’t given it a look, you should. It’s heartbreaking to hear people’s stories of feeling unsafe and unsupported even in the face of reporting sexual violence and stalking, and being denied privileges ranging from the ability to use public transit without incidence to being able to go to work and have an uneventful day. All of these stories are important and need to be heard and taken seriously. Far too many of these stories were ones I can relate to. This tweet touched on something that’s been on my mind a lot lately: Sexual violence on college campuses:

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As a researcher, I’ve been a part of a project that starts to look at getting information to survivors, particularly on campuses. As a woman, I’ve experienced assault and stalking on and off college campuses, as have many of my female (and a few of my male) friends. Once I finish my dissertation, this is a research stream I want to dive into again, and Soraya’s tweet helped reinvigorate me, especially after the recent coverage FSU has gotten for its treatment of rape survivors.

So why am I posting about wanting to do this research on my blog? Because I want feedback, and right now seems like a good time to get feedback from the people I ultimately want to help. On a lot of campuses, there doesn’t seem to be much survivor-focused information that’s pushed out where people can access it easily and anonymously (and without prodding to pursue a certain course of action during their healing process). Libraries are an important part of the campus community, and are already a resource people are using (and are potentially less intimidating than other resources might feel). What I’m hoping to do is to construct a shell web resource, available without cost to university libraries, that gives survivors the information they need and can be added to by the library so local resources are also included. This way, it could be included on the library site as a desperately-needed information resource, although it should be emphasized that it will be there to point people to the things they need and provide information that is empowering and nonjudgmental, but it will not be something that turns the library into a counseling resource or anything like that. I eventually want to expand on it more to include resources for other related issues (domestic violence, mental health, etc.) and to offer resources to public libraries as well, but this is such a huge problem on college campuses that it’s important to start there.

So here’s where you come in: What do you want to see in this resource? What do you think would be helpful information to share with survivors at various stages of the healing process? I have plenty of ideas, but I want more! And while we’re at it, what other ways can information professionals (librarians and researchers like myself) be involved in bringing these conversations to light, and what kind of research can we be doing to help (hopefully) make an impact? I’m happy to hear from folks in the comments, but I also don’t want to jeopardize the privacy of any survivors (or non-survivors) who want to share their thoughts, so I’m happy to get emails as well (juliacskinner at gmail dot com). And last but not least, I want to thank everyone who has shared their stories on Twitter–you are strong and courageous for putting yourself out there, and I’m grateful that there are so many people out there inspiring and supporting one another!

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Sexual Assault Survivors and Libraries-Can We Do More?

I have been spending this semester writing research methods papers on how we can study the information seeking behavior/needs of sexual assault survivors and/or the experience of survivors in the library. I am excited that I get to turn one of these (and hopefully more than one) into an actual study this summer, but it’s made me very aware of how little there is out there dealing with this issue. There aren’t any studies that look at survivors’ needs or experiences, and only one that discusses the issue at all. Since I won’t be doing my research until this summer, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a few thoughts I’ve been having about some simple ways we could improve library services now. I’ve taken these from my own experiences of looking for information and interacting with people during the earlier stages of my healing process, and from my understanding of research in social sciences as a whole. I would really love to hear from practitioners too–what are you doing at your library? What do you want to do? What barriers do you see to implementing changes (if any)? So here are my ideas, add your thoughts in the comments!

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>Speak Loudly

>For my regular blog readers, I apologize in advance as this post is a bit off topic in that it isn’t directly related to LIS education or to my own (current) research. However, it is related to my previous life as a researcher in loss and trauma, and my work at a rape crisis team. It is also, of course, related to my dislike of censorship. I encourage constructive comments at the end, and I also encourage you to check out the other blogs below as many folks are saying a lot of very powerful stuff in response to this week’s book challenge.

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