A year ago, an incident report popped up on the police blotter of my computer, as it had countless times during my tenure as city news editor. “Sexual Assault.”

It was the first time I saw the name Alec Cook. For the remainder of the school year, it would be one I followed closely.

His name would go on to dominate headlines across the world. His mugshot would loom over opinion pieces and social media posts. His criminal complaint would lay next to my school notes, and his CCAP record would be bookmarked next to [email protected] on my browser.

Posting updates, calling his lawyer and squeezing into the media room at the courthouse — I spent a lot of time on this case.

I have been met with generous and undeserved praise for my reporting and handling of the matter. But, I take great offense when commended for my work simply because it was a matter of sexual assault, and I am a woman.

As a journalist, it doesn’t take bravery or courage to write up an incident report. It takes great bravery and strength to be the one to step forward and report the incident itself.

Eleven women mustered up the strength to do exactly that in the past year. Unfortunately, their stories and subsequent paths to recovery remain largely forgotten.

Like those brave women, the voices of those impacted by sexual violence are often drowned out, as the names of assailants become the ones to dominate headlines.

This issue of the Badger Herald is dedicated to amplifying some of those voices. We are dedicating our cover story and expanding our opinion section to feature these voices in an effort to better understand the pathway to recovery for sexual assault survivors.

We all know what “one in four” stands for. We must refuse to desensitize ourselves to statistics, and understand the humanity and pain overshadowing this data. It’s time to truly listen to the one behind the number.

Any students that would like to share their thoughts and experiences, anonymously or not, are welcome and encouraged to send a submission to [email protected]