Class of 2019 Responds to Sequoyah Sexual Assault Allegations

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On Saturday, July 18th, an Instagram account named @wewillnotbesilenceed, a platform for survivors of sexual assault, posted a message from a Sequoyah student speaking out about her assault. In the message, the student stated she was raped. She recounted her experience, detailing the prior interactions that led up to her assault. She revealed that the perpetrator attended Sequoyah School when the incident occurred and had since graduated. The survivor explained that at least five of their peers were aware of the incident yet none offered help, and in the end she felt her concerns were “dismissed.” 

In response to this post, Sequoyah’s Class of 2019 wrote a letter to the Sequoyah administration demanding that the high school administration advocate for “systematic changes that protect students and provide education about consent, rape culture, and sexual misconduct.” They published the petition to change.org, for the community to engage with. At the time of writing there are currently 56 signatures.  

The letter and petition ask that Sequoyah prioritize community conversations about consent and sexual assault during all-school meetings and instate a “more comprehensive sexual education program.” Additionally, they demanded the creation of “a safe and confidential reporting procedure for all harassment- and assault-related incidents,” as well as “meaningful counseling for students affected by sexual harassment,” including a full-time student-selected school counselor on staff. These demands were formed with the goal of “[ensuring] unbiased and consistent review” for sexual misconduct cases. 

In addition to the petition, an Instagram account named @sequoyahstrengthening has begun to post anonymous messages from current students and alums on their experiences involving sexual assault. On the account, one community member says, “To the survivors of sexual assault in the Sequoyah community: you deserved better and you always will.” Others expressed a direct concern about administration, saying that they “compared my sexual assault incident to the f*cken [sic] weather.” Another community member spoke out saying “I didn’t speak up about 3 Sequoyah related sexual assaults I knew about. None of my friends did either.”

Sequoyah students, through this account, have also expressed concerns about classism at Sequoyah and the lack of attention administrators give to student mental health.

Correction: July 22, 2020

An earlier version of this article stated that five of the survivor’s peers knew about the incident. At least five peers knew about the incident.

Correction: July 27, 2020

An earlier version of this article stated that the student was a rape survivor.