Facts or Feelings

Written by Aisha Abdool Karim in Senior Editorial

It’s not always easy separating the facts from your emotions. Some people tend to get very emotionally invested and it’s difficult for them to view the facts as they are. I, on the other hand, seem to have the opposite problem. My default setting is to look at the facts and analyse information.

Perhaps it’s due to my background in news, and focusing intently on ensuring that my articles are objective and unbiased. Or, maybe I just find it easier to write without getting emotional. That’s one of the reasons I struggle with columns – they force me to actually think about how I feel, as opposed to just thinking about facts.

This week, for the first time, I struggled with reigning in my emotional reactions to an article. I frequently had to remind myself that I was doing research in an attempt to get a better look at the whole picture. I couldn’t be emotional; else it would compromise how I conducted my interviews or how I looked at the information.

In the past, a figure has always just been a figure. It’s a statistic or a number that provides you with context for an article. I have to look at the number ten and remember that it’s just a number and it doesn’t mean anything. But this ten was different. This ten had a greater meaning that I couldn’t help but feel emotional about.

It’s not just a number on a page. It represents the ten students who reported cases of sexual assault to DISCHO as of December last year. It represents ten students who had to go through something I cannot even begin to comprehend. More than that, it represents the other students on campus who have experienced sexual assault, but not reported it. 

We know the statistics. We know the figures. We know how big of a problem sexual violence is, not just on campus, but everywhere. So maybe it’s time we start putting the facts aside and we start getting emotional. It’s time we think about the people that those numbers represent and start facing the reality of what is going on.

These aren’t just random incidents taking place, these aren’t just articles to read or write and then forget. It’s about a much bigger problem that we need to start addressing. It’s about the people who commit these offences and the mind-set they have. It’s about the trauma these victims have to experience. It’s about the endless questions and doubt they have to experience.

It’s not about imagining if this could happen to you or your mother or your sister. It’s about the fact that this could happen to anyone and it does happen. We need to take action to address the problems that lead to rape culture and sexual violence. We need to stop laughing at rape jokes and put an end to victim blaming. We need to start getting emotionally invested.

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