To the Editor:
The past week has been a whirlwind for survivors. “Surviving R. Kelly” debuted as a six-part documentary and detailed the decades of sexual assault and abuse that the singer has perpetuated against black women and girls. The series exposed a network of people who cared little for the welfare of black women and girls. And news of Cyntoia Brown’s commutation has rightfully shifted our attention as a community and a nation to a larger discussion of what happens in the wake of sexual assault and life as a survivor. Ms. Brown was facing a life sentence for killing a man who bought her for sex when she was sixteen years old. Ms. Brown, a sex trafficking survivor, was granted clemency by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
We at the YWCA Princeton believe survivors. There remain countless other victims of sexual assault and gender-based violence that are silenced, oppressed, and unacknowledged. We are now one year after the #MeToo movement began, but for so many, justice does not exist.
The YWCA Princeton is focused on building a safe, economically secure future for women and girls. Our mission, which is to eliminate racism and empower women, can only be accomplished when we secure a future that is free from social inequities. Every action counts and now is the time that we need you to step up.
On Saturday, Jan. 19, the YWCA Princeton will participate in Women’s March on New Jersey. We will march for survivors, Black women, women of color, queer communities, and other marginalized people. We march for you. On Thursday, Jan. 24, we will host a community forum on sexual assault and gender-based violence at our building at 59 Paul Robeson Place in Princeton. We will be joined by Womanspace, #NotOnMyWatch, and Princeton University’s sexual harassment and assault advising unit. Both events are free and open to the public. More information can be found on our website, www.ywcaprinceton.org.
Join us in this fight, march with us, and believe survivors.
Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Princeton