Edit Desk: Being a woman


Simona Shur, Investigative Section Editor

I know I probably sound like a broken record, what with my previous edit desk being about campus safety and all — but, to put it in plain terms, being a woman in college is scary.

For many, unfortunately, sexual assault is a part of their college experience. You get drunk at a party and find yourself feeling dirty and confused the next morning, trying to piece together the previous night but knowing deep down, something went wrong. 

This shouldn’t be normal. It shouldn’t be something people have to fear when moving to campus. Yet it is.

If I tried to count how many women I know who have been assaulted in college, I would lose track. I have woken up multiple times to distressed phone calls, a fearful voice on the other end trying to speak between shaky breaths. 

“I got raped last night.”

Now what?

The healing process is arduous on a college campus. Between balancing academic workload, extracurriculars, social obligations, internships and jobs, there is little time left for yourself. 

How is someone ever supposed to heal when their mind and body don’t have time to rest?

And then there is the issue of telling other people. Do you want to report this? That is an entire process in itself. 

Will your friends believe you? Are you going to seem burdensome? What if you feel like crying in public? Who are you supposed to turn to then? Do you even have access to the right resources to help you through this?

It’s sad that my last edit desk of my senior year doesn’t have a more cheerful tone, as overall I did enjoy my time here at Lehigh. But over the course of the past four years, I have been made to realize time and time again how frequently women are sexually assaulted on this campus. 

Your life comes to a screeching halt as you are forced to pick up the pieces and reconcile with being violated in such an intimate, invasive manner. 

You would think my generation would have learned how to combat this phenomenon by now. Between the resurgence of the Women’s March and a call for more female representation across the board, you would think this would have become less of an issue.

But you don’t have to dig too deep to see that the attack on women is far from over. Just last week, the governor of Oklahoma signed a bill into law criminalizing performing abortions, without even making an exception for rape. Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning most abortions after 15 weeks. For context, women typically only start showing signs of pregnancy at around 16 weeks.

Frankly, if I lived in Oklahoma, I would be scared. Why is my autonomy and anatomy up for debate in so many U.S. states? Why is a woman’s ability to decide constantly being put into question? 

The older I become, the scarier it gets. Almost every single woman I know has been sexually harassed on her college campus, which ignites this primal fear that something worse will follow. Whenever I go out, I check my friends’ locations, making sure that I am within reach of a trusted friend if something goes wrong. After all, safety comes in numbers.

Unfortunately, I don’t really have a happy ending to this article. I am thankful that I have made such good friends during my time here and that I know I can turn to someone when I’m out and about. But it’s also disheartening to know that I am leaving college the same way I came in — slightly and perpetually scared of being a woman.

I hope that one day there is tougher legislation and more protections established for students on campuses everywhere. Rapists and abusers alike get off too easy, often without real punishment. They walk among us, unbeknownst to many. While I know it will be a long time before anything passes through Congress, I hope we can work together to start holding individuals accountable for their abusive crimes.

Here’s to being a woman.

Comment policy

Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.

Leave A Reply