ASMC presents international activist and sexual assault survivor Brittany Piper

Image+of+Brittany+Piper.+Courtesy+of+Brittany+Piper.

Image of Brittany Piper. Courtesy of Brittany Piper.

By Valeri Roussak

The Associated Students of Moorpark College hosted a webinar through Zoom with Brittany Piper, a sexual assault survivor and international activist on Thursday, March 25. Not only is Piper a survivor, but she is also a healing and wellness coach, alongside being a social justice photographer for women’s organizations.

With Women’s History Month being celebrated in March, this was an excellent event to recognize a strong woman who had to go through one of the most horrific events; rape.

Nicole Bicakci, ASMC Director of Campus Events, explained why she chose to host this webinar.

“I decided to host this event because there is still a perceived stigma around sexual assault. It is a prevalent issue in our communities, especially on college campuses,” Bicakci stated. “Although I could have delved into different sectors involving women empowerment that portray Women’s History Month, I decided to plan an event about sexual assault.”

Piper was brutally raped at 22 years old and is courageously sharing her story; informing people all around the world about sexual assault and how to feel empathy for survivors.

Brittany Piper shows a series of images about rape survivor, Chanel Miller, and protests fighting for justice. Photos provided by ASMC.
Brittany Piper shows a series of images about rape survivor, Chanel Miller, and protests fighting for justice. Photos provided by ASMC.

Piper explained that if a person knows that someone has been sexually assaulted, they should not feel sorry for them, but instead should be helping them get through their emotions and pain.

“Instead of just saying ‘I’m sorry,’ we should really be saying ‘I’m sorry that happened to you, how can I make sure that doesn’t happen to someone I know, or someone that I don’t know?’” Piper explained. “We need to get to a place that instead of feeling sorry for people, we should be walking with people in that pain; we should be normalizing empathy, not sympathy.”

Piper informed the attendees of subjects like rape culture and the #metoo movement, in addition to how the media desensitizes rape and makes many people think it’s okay to sexually assault anyone in any way. She also described the different ways consent can be given, and ways that consent isn’t given.

“We’ve gotten to a place where we have become desensitized and normalized to sexual assault,” Piper mentioned. “How do we re-sensitize ourselves to those issues?”

Piper also spoke to the millions of survivors out in the world, letting them know it’s okay to feel like not everything’s coming into place right away.

“Survivorship doesn’t always have to be picture perfect. You don’t have to be strong. You don’t have to have it all together. It’s messy and it’s hard and that’s entirely normal,” Piper expressed.

Resources provided at Moorpark College if anyone is ever going through something and are in need to talk to someone. Photos provided by ASMC.
Resources provided at Moorpark College if anyone is ever going through something and are in need to talk to someone. Photos provided by ASMC.

Piper shared a clip of a news video that talked about a woman who hit a pothole while driving and had to stop to fix her tire. A man helped her fix it and then asked for a ride home. She reluctantly agreed to drive him home. The man took her to an unknown place, beat and raped her. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison, and she was known as a courageous young woman who stayed calm and collected throughout her whole journey.

Piper revealed that the young woman that was assaulted was in fact, herself. She explained her story and how the incident made her go through some challenging and unhealthy times that were not talked about in the media. Although it wasn’t easy for her, Piper finally managed to get back up on her feet and help other women who went through the same experience.

She has spoken at many events all around the world, from rape crisis centers in Africa to villages in India. She empowers women everyday to not be ashamed of their experiences, or feel guilty for what has happened to them.

The webinar consisted of an hour long presentation and an anonymous Q&A at the end for any attendees to ask their questions.

ASMC Director of Finance, Marina Bayless, shared her thoughts and feelings after hearing the presentation.

“I felt empowered by Brittany’s story because she used her struggle to impact those around her positively,” shared Bayless. “It inspired me to really take to heart the fact that sexual violence is so prevalent, but also that no matter what you go through, you can still come out of it a strong woman and help those around you.”

Piper is happily married with a 9 month old son and a Siberian Husky named Harmony. She is continuously speaking at many locations, sharing her story and informing others about sexual assault.

For more information on Brittany Piper, visit http://brittanypiper.com.