Christine Carter ’94, speaking before about 100 people in Collis Common Ground on Friday, called for students to take action and start changing the way they think about sexual assault and the College’s social system.
Carter is the author of an anthology of personal accounts of date-rape survivors, titled “The Other Side of Silence.” The book will be published next month.
In her speech, Carter said the social system that worked for Dartmouth 50 years ago is no longer acceptable in the 1990s.
“What people don’t realize is that in defending the old, we prevent the improved,” Carter said. “What created this camaraderie at Dartmouth 50 years ago is not what is working today.”
She contrasted the College and its old traditions to the “real world’s obsession with change.”
As a demonstration of the “real world’s” commitment to change, Carter, who works for Quaker Oats in Chicago, mentioned a poster hanging in the hallway of her workplace that reads “change is real.”
She said “Dartmouth is bleeding green,” adding that students at the College need to start seeing “beyond black and white” and realize change is needed to make the College a better, more secure environment for everyone.
But she said she thinks people are afraid of change.
“People are scared to change because they perceive change as a means for destroying the good, old Dartmouth camaraderie,” Carter said.
While at the College, Carter was a member of the group of students who founded Amarna, the College’s second undergraduate society. Citing this work, she said it isimportant for students to make a positive contribution to the College community, instead of constantly critiquing it.
Carter said awareness and a better recognition of the problems that face the College are the best ways to start making improvements.
For example, she said when the Women’s Resource Center was founded in 1988, it created an awareness that has led to an increased demand for its services and a growth in the number of students using it.
She also commented on the large number of people who came to listen to her speak. “A few years ago, there would have been two or three people here,” she said. “Now there are many.”
Carter also argued for a redefinition of loyalty and brotherhood within the fraternity system. At Dartmouth, she said, loyalty sometimes takes precedence over morality.
“Loyalty, in terms of a brotherhood, must be based on human respect and it must be instituted immediately,” she said.
Carter also read passages from her book at the discussion.
Carter said she began work on the anthology last year by collecting women’s accounts of date rape while she was a senior fellow at the College.
She said she obtained accounts of date rape by sending surveys to women’s resource centers across the country. She selected 17 accounts from the returned surveys to include in the book.
The book, which includes the story of a man who changed his life-style after he realized he had committed rape, will be published next month by Avocus Publishing, Inc., she said.