Book Review: We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out


We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out
may discuss a difficult topic for readers, but an important topic that everyone
– both male and female - needs to be aware of in today’s #MeToo movement.

The authors, Annie E. Clark and Andrea
L Pino
, both victims of sexual assault during their college years and
founder of EROC – End Rape On Campus (
interview and collect the stories of 34 victims of sexual assault and rape while
attending college and hare their stories in their book.

The book is devised into sections.  Each section has a purpose.  There are sections that share each survivor’s
life before the assault/rape, each survivors assault/rape experience, their
experience when they reported their assault to campus authorities and/or law
enforcement, how each survivor’s life has been impacted by the assault, and
what each survivor is doing to help reclaim their life afterwards,

At first, I feared that dividing the book into sections
would make it difficult to follow each survivors
story from start to finish.  Although I
would have found it easier to read if the book would have been 34 chapters with
each chapter focusing in on one survivors’ full story, the book did flow

Both the authors and some of the survivors in the book claim
that 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted on college campuses.  I use the word “claim” as I did not notice a
source for that statistic in the book.  That
statisic is sobering enough to illuminate the seriousness of the problem on
college campuses, yet the book went further. 
It also claims that 1in 6 men will be victims of sexual assault on
college campuses. 

As the stories demonstrate, sexual assault does not
discriminate.  Survivors are both male
and female, they come in all races, ethnicities and sexual orientations.  There are stores from minorities in this book
along with gay/lesbians and transgender survivors of sexual assault.

I will agree that depending on the college you attend;
survivors of sexual assaults and rape will experience a wide range of response
and empathy from the college when reporting the assault.  I felt the authors had an “Agenda” to criticize
colleges who need to improve their response to sexual assaults by naming the
colleges who have fallen short. 

Every survivors story was both disturbing and inspiring to
me.  The sexual assaults and rape the
survivors endured along with the lifelong trauma many live with are troubling, but
how these survivors are reclaiming their lives and moving forward (many
becoming advocates and activists to change the world and end rapes on campus)
is inspiring.

The book also contains valuable information on where to find
resources to hep survivors of sexual assault, including how to file a complaint
with the college and law enforcement, a survivor’s rights, support resources
and more.

This book is a better resource for survivors of sexual
assault or rape than empowering college student on how to avoid being sexually
assaulted or raped. I fear, if not believe, it might cause some current and
incoming college students and parents fear about sending their child off to

Be warned.  The book
is intended for high school seniors and older. 
The book does contain some profanity (not for shock value) and
description of violence and sex.