Monthly Archives: September 2018

It Happened to Me Too

by Alyssa Gibson

No one talked about it.

No one said anything. You didn’t tell your friends. You didn’t tell your parents, and if you did there was nothing they could do. They told you to hide it, asked the circumstances and made you feel like it was probably your fault. Judges didn’t care, police didn’t want to help.

Then the whispers start.

“That’s awful, truly, but wasn’t she asking for it with her behavior?”

“She shouldn’t dress like that. What was she expecting?”

“At least she finally got laid.”

“No, he would never. I know him. He’s not like that.”

“I bet she made it up for attention.”

This is what I had been used to hearing when I was growing up. If any form of rape or sexual assault happened, you just swept it under the rug.

He was a linebacker for our football team and weighed about 150 pounds more than I did.
He thought that gave him the right to touch my thigh and work his way up. I shifted my chair as far away from him as I could, but he kept advancing.

“C’mon, you know you like it.”

His words still haunt me. I didn’t tell my parents; I knew what their response would be. I didn’t tell my friends; I didn’t want them to see me as someone that sought that kind of attention. I didn’t tell the teacher; he probably wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. So I moved to the opposite side of the classroom.

I shouldn’t have done that.

I should have fought, I should have yelled and I should have told him to stop then punched him.
I should have done something.

But I’m not the only one. One in five women in college will be sexually assaulted. 42 percent of women who are raped don’t report it. Georgia laws regarding sexual assault are vague at best, applying them to only instances in the workplace, psychotherapists and hospitals. In 1,000 rape cases, 994 perpetrators will walk free.

But others are changing this. Others are taking a stand. Others are speaking out about sexual harassment and rape. And I am so proud of them.

They give hope to younger generations. Younger generations no longer have to accept this kind of attention as something all women must go through. They no longer have to put up with it to get a job or promotion. They don’t have to take it anymore, largely thanks to the MeToo movement.

The MeToo movement started with Tarana Burke in 2006 and progressed into a national movement that brought attention to the abuse of women in media and entertainment industries.

Now, it has become a social media hashtag that provides an outlet for victims to voice their experiences and inspires confidence in young women. Young women are now being educated on their resources to stop this unwanted attention and their futures are being rewritten.

While laws in Georgia regarding these situations are still largely flexible, the MeToo movement is bringing much needed attention to this social issue and providing closure for several thousand people.

I never want what happened to me to happen to anyone. It took me a long time to rebuild my self-esteem and push away the shame that it brought. But now I am so much happier with where I am. I have a loving family and wonderful friends who guided me through that time. I’m now very open about my story so that younger generations will know it is never okay to be treated this way without consent. I am so proud of where my generation is taking a stand and I never want them to stop talking about it.

So keep talking, keep spreading this message and keep brightening the future for younger generations.

Opportunity is not a Lengthy Visitor

When I was younger, I was incredibly shy. I hated talking to people I didn’t know, and I often had my independent little sister order for me at restaurants. Despite being shy, my mom knew how much I loved to sing and made me audition for the church musical in the fourth grade. When I realized I was cast as the lead, I was terrified to step out onstage. The minute I did, however, I was instantly at home.


Ansleigh Harrison performs in her first show, Candy Cane Lane, 2007

The shy, awkward, little 10 year-old girl that existed in my body vanished as I sang my first note. The worries of the school day vaporized as I began acting. The stage became my place of peace.

And now schools all over the United States are slowly weeding out several forms of fine arts programs.

In 2012, The National Center for Education Statistics released the results to a nationwide survey that was sent out to k-12 schools during the 2009-10 school year regarding arts education in primary and secondary public schools. This was the first survey taken regarding this topic since the 1999-2000 school year.

The U.S. Department of Education noted that “for theater and dance in elementary schools, the percentages of schools making these art forms available went from 20 percent 10 years ago to only 4 and 3 percent, respectively, in the 2009-10 school year. In addition, at more than 40 percent of secondary schools, coursework in arts was not required for graduation in the 2009-10 school year.”

In just one decade, the importance of arts within schools has dwindled significantly.

The arts are a necessary tool in human development. Whether we notice it or not, we all use some form of art in nearly every aspect of our lives. We use drawings in our explanations, we use music to de-stress or learn certain things, and sometimes we even act a certain way when we are around certain people. It has been proven that learning a musical instrument can actually boost a child’s ability to focus. Art is a form of therapy that allows human beings to express themselves. Although not everyone uses the arts in a therapeutic way, fine arts are still an important part of society. Cutting these programs out of our public schools diminishes the opportunity for students to learn about or pursue the arts.

If I hadn’t been able to participate in theatre and chorus programs in middle and high school, I wouldn’t have realized that I wanted to pursue theatre as a career. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to form a family within the theatre and chorus departments, and I wouldn’t have been as happy had I chosen to pursue my second choice career.

Arts programs give students the opportunity to explore an extracurricular activity that stretches and challenges their minds, as well as their bodies. The shy, awkward, little 10 year-old Ansleigh wouldn’t be where she is today without the arts programs in her high school. Other kids are not as lucky to have been allowed such an opportunity as she, and so many others, had. We need fine arts in schools to round out our students and push them to break out of their comfort zones in order to strive to be the best they can be.

“Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor…”-Cinderella, Into The Woods


Ansleigh Harrison performs her first lead role as the Baker’s Wife in Into The Woods, 2014