She hasn’t protested in Tahrir Square to topple a government nor has she occupied the front lawn of the Hamilton County Courthouse. But Bergen Baucom is quickly becoming the face and voice for an important movement: to end sexual assault on college campuses and in our communities.
Baucom’s personal story began five years ago on a large campus, where she said she was a victim of date rape. It took awhile for her to process what happened. And her acquaintances quickly lost interest when she tried to talk about it. “At least you knew him” and “That happened last semester, when are you going to get over it?” were some of the responses she endured.
“I longed for someone who could relate so I looked for blogs and posted comments hoping for someone who understood what I was going through,” Baucom said. “That’s why I’m telling my story. I can’t encourage others to talk about what’s happened to them if I don’t. I don’t want anyone else to suffer alone.”
After her own experience, Baucom’s health suffered. She regained her footing as a sophomore at UTC, where she said she has received great support from faculty and genuine friends. In spring semester 2011, Baucom created the documentary “Miniskirts, Mace, and other Misconceptions” about the topic for Dr. Elizabeth Gailey’s film class. Baucom received national attention on CNN when Brooke Baldwin interviewed her and showed clips from the documentary. See the CNN interview here: http://newsroom.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/18/changing-the-dialogue-on-date-rape/
Baucom’s boyfriend Andy Harlen said her Facebook page “was exploding” and her Twitter account began to “blow up” after her CNN appearance. Harlen immediately began helping Baucom coordinate a website at http://www.mmommovement.org/index.html
With her December graduation from UTC approaching quickly, Baucom’s goal is to “spread the word like wildfire.” She knows the movement “doesn’t move without people to move it.” She sees the chance to become a strong advocate for anyone who has been affected.
“For me, this has been such a redemption of society. I’m a positive person. When you are a victim, you feel the bad. But now I am hearing both men and women say what I’m doing needs to be heard,” Baucom said.