A teary-eyed sociology major opened up the Denim Day evening lecture on misogyny and rape in the Great Hall on Wednesday, April 24 by sharing some experiences of her own.
Unashamed and her head held up high, Shelly Ann Jagroop revealed that she was sexually violated by several family members and that she is still trying to overcome not just the physical but the psychological damage because of it.
“I became addicted to alcohol, addicted to cocaine, and addicted to pornography,” Jagroop said. “I used to sleep with a bottle of rum under my bed, and every night I slept on the floor because I was so drunk that I couldn’t make it to my bed.”
Jagroop says she was molested from the ages of 8 to 15 by her grandfather, cousin, and by a female babysitter.
“I think there are a lot of kids that this happens to,” said Jagroop. “We need to be aware that some of these kids have a hand over their mouth that says ‘shut up or I will kill you.’”
Denim Day organizer Holly Hagan, who is also leader of the Campus Violence and Response Team, has been conducting the event at Pierce since 2007.
“This is for an extremely important cause. I coordinate this event even if I am not feeling good,” said Hagan, who was sporting a boot on her sprained left foot.
The president of the Feminist Club, Michelle Borsco, chose to major in sociology to help raise awareness, specifically among young adults, about the destructiveness and issues behind rape.
“So many rape victims believe that [being raped] was their fault, blaming it on their location and clothes,” said Borsco. “It’s never ever their fault, it’s the rapist’s.”
The Great Hall was overflowed with students who sighed in disbelief as assistant professor of sociology and philosophy Dr. James McKeever displayed various company billboard and television ads that promoted gang rape or drugging women to market merchandise.
McKeever took a moment to address the men in the room when he preached about the importance of respecting women and their right to say “no” to sex regardless of what they are wearing or how aroused one might get.
“Believe it or not, women dress a certain way for themselves, sometimes even for their female friends,” said McKeever. “Then there are some who do dress for men, but that doesn’t mean that man is you.”
McKeever explained that the only solution to resolve sexual assault, whether it’s verbal or physical, is to make it personal to one’s heart.
“Imagine if you were walking down the street with your mom and someone whistled at her while slapping her butt,” said McKeever. “You would be upset, so why would you do it to someone else’s mom, sister or daughter?”