Feb 28, 2020
The Survivors of Fresno State Instagram was created by student Victoria Cisneros to give survivors of sexual assault and discrimination a platform to share their stories. (Courtesy Victoria Cisneros)

Fresno State student creates platform for sexual assault survivors — via Instagram

There’s a new option for survivors of sexual assault and discrimination to share their stories that may give individuals an added sense of security — by way of social media.

A Fresno State student has created an Instagram account for sexual assault and discrimination survivors to share stories, tips and advocacy information anonymously with no strings attached.

The account is called Survivors of Fresno State, and it offers students, staff, faculty and community members a platform to anonymously disclose their experiences with sexual discrimination, misconduct, harassment and assault.

The creator of the account, Victoria Cisneros, said she wanted to create a way to show survivors that they are not alone and bring awareness to the issue while still protecting their identity.

“Being able for other people to see that this isn’t something they’re alone in,” Cisneros said. “This is something that they can find a community around.”

She said the account was inspired by similar campaigns at other universities, such as the Georgetown Survivors page.

Cisneros is a senior communications major. Although she will be graduating this month, she plans to return to Fresno State to enroll in graduate school and continue to manage the account for the duration of her time as a student.

Although curating, editing and posting content to the account is time-consuming, Cisneros said it is something that she wanted to do to help anyone who may be struggling with issues of harassment or discrimination.

Cisneros emphasized that the page is not strictly for stories of assault, but is a resource for anyone who has dealt with some form of sexual discrimination, harassment or other misconduct.

She added that sharing one’s story can be part of the healing process and that the submissions are not strictly for retellings or descriptions of an incident, but can be related to one’s processing or feelings associated with the experience.

“It can really be as long or short as they like, as much detail or as little detail as they would like,” Cisneros said. “So it’s really open to what they’re willing to share and what they’re willing to disclose.”

The account is still in its early stages, but Cisneros said she plans to increase the content with resource information, statistics and tips for survivors and anyone interested in learning more about ways to help.

“I think the fact that it is anonymous is something that will empower them,” Cisneros said. “They do have control over their stories even if they do share them … It goes back to that ‘You’re not alone.’”

The account has been active in posting content since March 2019, with the first testimonial post published on April 30.
Anyone can submit their stories anonymously through the Google Forms link in the bio section of the account.

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