On Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, I was going into the girl’s bathroom across from B-105 while on break from my class. Someone came up behind me and shoved me with enough force to make me hit my forehead on the brick corner leading into the bathroom and break open a delicate tissue mass that I have on my right eyebrow. A feeling of dread rushed over me as I picked up my pride and continued on my way.
Later that day, my best friend noticed the injury and dragged me out into the hallway to ask what happened and why I looked pissed off since I got back from class. I begrudgingly told her and went to the bathroom to try and wipe off the crusted blood that had gathered on the area. However, my eye was swollen and in pain. I stopped. I couldn’t risk it getting red and more noticeable.
As I made my way back up to Student Programs, where I am a student employee, I said hello to a co-worker who also noticed the injury. She would not take my answers of “It’s nothing,” or “I just slipped and hit my head,” or even “Honestly it’s not a big deal, don’t worry about it.” After minutes of arguing, debating and difference of views in what was important, my co-worker and two others who were now involved went to my “boss.”
As I stepped into the office of a man that I have admired and looked up to for over a year, I was overwhelmed with a doleful and dark feeling as I looked into the grave faces of my co-workers and friends. As I told him what had occurred earlier that day, his fixed eyes and glowering expression pierced my heart. All of this heightened as I told him that the reason I didn’t tell him what had happened, and hadn’t planned to, was because I was used to it, and knew that nothing would come of it. He, along with everyone else in an office that should have been closed already, had quizzical looks on their faces.
I wanted so badly to talk about how the campus is not the safe and secure place that everyone thinks it is but could hardly stop the tears from rolling down my face. There are no cameras on campus besides the ones in the places where items are sold. There is no form of surveillance covering bathrooms, walkways, or classrooms on campus that I have noticed in my almost two years of being here. After my first assault on campus fall quarter of 2012, I started noticing where cameras were, where there were a lot of people and where I could easily become a victim; helplessly at the whim of whoever it is that doesn’t like the tie I’m wearing. After experiencing all of this, I started wondering what the point of a 24/7 security was on campus.
There is no point of a security guard who is always available if they can’t protect you. They do not have the ability to arrest, convict and, in my case, use evidentiary support to catch the people that assault me for being a queer student and student employee. I have no way of identifying these people, and the school only seems to justify a security system in the areas where items can be stolen.
Now taking all of this in, and thinking about it over the past couple days, I am forced to consider whether this is just me being a spiteful victim of harassment or a genuinely concerned student. Why is it that Bellevue College seemingly cares a lot about shelling out cameras and security systems for potentially stolen goods, but not about their students’ safety? When it comes down to it, a college campus security officer should be able to do more than walk you to your car, or report a missing purse or textbook.