We want your stories



By the Editorial Board

A January 2018 Kentucky Kernel cover editorial asked, “How Many More?”

The premise of that editorial was to demand that powerful institutions and people be held accountable for sexual assault and harassment, that everyone be educated on the meaning of #MeToo and that victim shaming in the name of protection should cease. It also pointed out a key point in the #MeToo movement: It’s often journalists who step in to speak for those who are too scared or hurt to speak for themselves.

We asked, “How many more?” and since then, many more cases of improper conduct have sprouted up across this country and on our campus. The Kentucky Kernel wants to be the voice for every person who has suffered any kind of abuse in our community. We are committed to protecting your identity and privacy while we spread awareness of sexual assault and abuse on our campus. If you have suffered any physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or any other type of abuse, we want you to know that you can trust us to share your story with confidentiality and respect. We truly believe that sharing people’s stories is how change is bred.

That January editorial read, “Until universities quit spending money to keep their secrets, until the names of abusers are left off movie credits and election ballots, until we all realize the harm we have done and the healing we can do, there will be more.”

There has been more, and there continues to be more. To name a few, the Catholic Church is in the midst of a self-inflicted crisis as its leaders attempt to repair public relations after years of sexual assault cover-ups were discovered. In this case and many others, it was the press who used its platform to spread awareness about the situation and make change: Following the publicity, Pope Francis admitted the shortcomings of the church and made an apology statement in Ireland.

It was New York Times investigative reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor who broke the initial Harvey Weinstein story, which revealed years of sexual abuse and harassment within the shadows of behind-the-scenes Hollywood.

Much closer to home, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported Wednesday that Patrick Melton, who is a UK student and son of a Franklin County sheriff, was charged with raping a woman near UK’s campus. Before that, rumors of screams around campus associated with alleged sex trafficking were declared false by Lexington Police, but were nonetheless a cause for alarm among many UK students. In the Melton case, it was the press that spread the word. In the alleged sex trafficking story, it was the Kernel that uncovered the truth.

We are seeing more and more people using positions of power or physical advantage to prey on those around them. Only through increased awareness of these crimes can they be halted, and we are looking to step up and publicize this problem with more tenacity.

We at the Kernel believe that one of our roles as members of the press is to speak for everyone who finds themselves in compromised situations, and only when we hear from you can we accurately share how widespread this problem reaches.