Holding Our Own stands with the young women of color from UAlbany who reported an assault on a bus on January 30th, and who are now being prosecuted for false reporting and assault. It is our unwavering position in all instances of gender-based violence, sexual assault, and racist violence to support those who are systematically violated by structures built specifically to protect patriarchy and white supremacy.
We trust and believe the experiences of survivors of oppressive violence because we understand the bravery it takes in coming forward when we live in a world dominated by those who immediately cast doubt on such experiences, particularly when vocalized by women of color.
We trust and believe the experiences of survivors because we know the risk that is taken when coming forward to a criminal justice system that is too punitive, misogynistic, racist, and violent to actually keep us safe from gender-based or racial violence, and that is frequently yet another source of abuse.
We trust and believe the experiences of survivors because we know, from our own lives, the trauma of enduring both micro and macro aggressions that the dominant power structures will never recognize as violence.
And we trust and believe the experiences of survivors because we know that to do otherwise is to gag all future survivors from speaking out, thereby perpetuating the very systems of oppression that we wish to dismantle.
We are disgusted by the media’s handling of this situation which has all too often assumed the guilt of Alexis, Ariel, and Asha, has accepted the narrative of the police and public officials without question, and has allowed platforms for misogynistic and racist commentary. Those of us committed to anti-racist feminist social justice must not let this stand. Now is not the time for distance or silence. It is times like these when we must reaffirm our commitment to trusting survivors and to trusting marginalized voices, because to do otherwise harms us all.