Over the past few years, both students and administrators at the University of Michigan have addressed on-campus sexual assault through new policies and ongoing activism. More recently, the news cycle and broader times, however, the personal stories of individuals who have survived an assault can be lost in the bigger discussion.

With that in mind, the Opinion section has created a space in The Michigan Daily for first-person accounts of sexual assault and its corresponding personal, academic and legal implications. Submissions will be published as a series of personal accounts that show essential perspectives: those of the survivor.

Submissions will be due by Oct. 26 at 11:59 p.m. Please submit pieces to Editorial Page Editors Ashley Zhang (ashleyzh@umich.edu) and Anu Roy-Chaudhury (anuroy@umich.edu)  to be considered for publication. If it is past the deadline, you are welcome to still submit your piece to be considered as an op-ed.

Guidelines for submissions:

This series is open to University students who have experienced sexual assault and would like to share their statements as part of a first-person series. If you have experienced assault and would like to participate in the University’s and the nation’s conversation surrounding the issue, we are here to include your perspective.

This series centers on the implications of sexual assault — what happens in the days and weeks afterward and what it means to be a survivor of sexual assault as a student and as a member of the University’s campus community. You may want to include specific details about the assault in your piece if they are relevant to your narrative, but keep in mind that the focus of this series is the effects of assault. We will accept submissions from survivors regardless of whether you have reported the assault, and the series is open to all students and recently graduated alumni — undergraduates and graduates — of all gender identities. Pieces do not need to be about an experience that began on the University’s campus.

This series also takes on the understanding that sexual assault cases are not all black and white, and is open to submissions regardless of the outcome of a University or court case. We will read your piece without judgment or assumptions about guilt. If your case has gone through the University or police system, and you reference details from that experience in your piece, we will ask you to provide documentation as part of the Daily’s fact-checking protocol.

Overall, we are seeking to provide a space for students who may or may not have previously had an outlet to share their stories and to provide a nuanced statement on campus sexual assault to the Daily’s audience, U-M students and fellow survivors.

Format requirements:

  1. We aim to give survivors a space to freely express themselves and therefore will accept submissions that follow a range of writing styles and formats.

  2. Submissions should not exceed 1,000 words in length, and may be submitted as an op-ed, personal essay, letter or poem.

  3. Though we encourage you to include your name in your submission’s byline if possible, we can publish your submission anonymously due to the sensitive nature of the subject. If you choose to publish anonymously or with a pseudonym, your name would be confidentially disclosed only to the relevant Daily editors (Opinion Managing Editors, Managing Editor and Editor in Chief) and will not be given for any other reason than legal obligation. If you have concerns or questions, feel free to reach out for more details.  

  4. Everything published in the Opinion section must follow the Daily’s style rules and standards for factual accuracy, and we reserve the right to alter wording when necessary to uphold those standards. If your piece is selected for publication, you will be involved in our editing process.

  5. We do not guarantee publication of each piece we receive.

*If you would like to submit a piece about sexual assault but are not a survivor yourself, we highly encourage you to submit it as an op-ed to the Opinion section by emailing it to tothedaily@michigandaily.com to participate in the conversation. For op-ed guidelines please see the guidelines on the Daily’s website that are linked here.

Resources for survivors:

We understand that writing and recounting your experience can be emotionally challenging. We want to remind you that the following organizations and campus groups are available for support:

Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC), Spectrum Center, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), CAPS After Hours, MiTalk, CampusMindWorks, UM Psychological Clinic

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