Free-wall: From love to hate

On Saturday afternoon, Pitzer’s Office of Student Affairs, PAS Hall Council, and Pitzer Advocates hosted a painting of the free-wall dedicated to the anonymous Pitzer student who wrote the letter describing her sexual assault at CMC. Late Saturday night, the wall was “vandalized” with hateful remarks as you can see in the photos below. Although a “free-wall” can’t be vandalized, we see it as vandalism because it was an extremely disrespectful and hateful addition to what was already on the wall.

Below are reactions to the “vandalism” by two Pitzer students. If you would like to add your reaction please email The Peel at thepitzerpeel@gmail.com.

 

Shivani Kavuluru:

Dear vandalizer,
YOU FAILED.

You failed because you thought a couple of spray cans can erase the immense support we already received. You failed because you thought a couple spray cans can take away the love and the words people wrote for us. You failed as a decent human being because although I do recognize your right to free speech, I hope you also recognize that there is some unspoken etiquette in preserving this wall for at least more than a couple hours because of the purpose it stands for. This was was a literal rock for survivors and it validates us and told us that we are not alone. So yeah, try to wash us, paint over us, because the one thing you’ll never be able to touch is the support that this community has shown us, that’s ours. AND NO PAINT CAN WASH US AWAY.
I encourage the entire Pitzer and 5C Community to come together and show that our support and love is stronger than any simple minded horrible humans beings hate.
I’m tempted to finish your sentence of “We are always” to “We are always loved”. I’m tempted to change your sentence “No you pho sure are” to “no you pho sure are always loved”. Because for me, I won’t retaliate and bring my character down to your level.
And frankly, with the awesome love and support we’ve gotten, I feel sorry for you. I really really do. Can’t imagine what would make you want to hurt this group of people, but let’s hope that you learn to be a better person. I encourage you to come talk to an advocate, if you have any issues that may have made you think this act was necessary. 

Sincerely a survivor that’s just sorry that you didn’t grow up to be a bigger person than this.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Emily Wolfram:

A note on the free wall:
I woke up feeling truly crushed by this. Obviously it is painful to see something so many people worked on yesterday so quickly covered up. But I am also trying to figure out what this means. This mural was meant to be a symbol of support and solidarity, so many survivors came out and bravely added to it. I’m sorry to each of them that their words were so quickly covered up.
However, I interpret this addition in one of two ways:

1. A person thought it would be funny to add to it and ruin the message that was being shown. Which as awful as that is does honestly reflect the rape culture that we live in and perhaps can start some conversations about that bigger problem. If this is the case I hope that this person is open to hearing about the way in which their actions have perpetuated rape culture and silenced the words of survivors. A wall made for healing and supporting survivors is not the place for nihilist musings.
2. This is the response of someone still in pain. Perhaps this is a survivor who feels despite all of the good intention that this mural was a lie and at the end of the day still feels alone. Honestly the hopelessness and the struggle that come from being a victim of sexual violence is just as valid as the empowerment we so often see validated in our culture.
So if this addition is number 1, I am so sorry to all the people who spent hours of their time yesterday working on this. Remember we are still many people fighting for good despite those who try and stop us. Your time meant a lot and I’m thankful for you.
If this addition is number 2, let me know if you feel comfortable reaching out. There will be no anger from me and you will be heard. I am here for you even if you feel like you are alone.

I don’t know which one of these situations would make me feel better. But it’s not about me and it never was. It is about all of us as a community. We need to do better. We need to demand better. And we need to prove not just through words but also through actions that no one is alone in this.
Love to everyone who may have been hurt walking past this today. You are loved, you are strong, you are worthy of healing and hope. You truly are not alone. There are many of us here who have lived pain similar to yours and who believe you and support you. 
I hope everyone has a lovely Sunday and takes care of themselves.

 

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The free-wall on the afternoon of Saturday, May 7th.
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The free-wall on the morning of Sunday, May 8th.

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