End Rape on Campus (EROC): So Christine, tell us a little about yourself!
Hello! My name is Christine, and I’m so excited to transition into my role as Research Manager at EROC. I was raised in Vancouver, Canada, and am the middle child of a first-generation immigrant family. My father is Chinese and my mother is Japanese, and my dual cultural background is close to my heart.
I came to the United States to attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where I majored in Public Health Studies. At Johns Hopkins, I was the Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Assault Resource Unit (SARU), a survivor advocacy student group. I also interned for the Baltimore-based artist collective FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture. Currently, I work out of EROC’s Washington, DC office.
EROC: What’s something about you that most people don’t know?
I’ve been making pottery since I was 8 years old, and created ceramics as a hobby for almost 10 years. I wasn’t able to continue it after I moved to the U.S., but if anyone has suggestions for studios in DC, please drop me a line!
EROC: What brought you to EROC and to sexual assault advocacy?
I started educating myself about feminism and survivor advocacy in high school. During my freshman year at Johns Hopkins, I joined the Sexual Assault Resource Unit (SARU), which provided a supportive venue for me to engage in anti-sexual violence activism. Joining SARU was the first time I truly felt a part of a community that cared about ending sexual violence and supporting survivors. My work with FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture also shaped how I approach survivor-centered work and creating space for healing and justice.
Upon graduating from Johns Hopkins, I was excited to bring my work and experience to EROC and advocate for survivors across the country. The fact that EROC was founded by student activists and is run and led by survivors told me that its ethos would be in line with my values. I believe that survivor advocacy should at its core always be attentive to survivor needs, and the best way to do that is by uplifting survivors. I was also excited to be a part of EROC’s intersectional approach to ending sexual violence, especially through our Centering the Margins initiative.
EROC: What does it mean to be a Research Manager, and what are you hoping to bring to this role?
The “Research” in the title refers both to making outside research helpful to EROC and student activists, and to conducting research for EROC. One challenge I ran into as a student organizer was how inaccessible data was about sexual violence. In this role, I hope to address that by helping students better contextualize and use research in a way that supports and advances their efforts. I also hope to make sure EROC’s work is backed up by the best and most current research on sexual violence.
I’ll also be working to make sure EROC’s work is in line with what students and survivors need. I’m especially excited to play an integral role in expanding and continuing to develop the Campus Accountability Map, an interactive map and database with information about institutions’ campus sexual violence policies across the country. It’s a powerful tool for student activists pushing for transparency and accountability at their schools, and for prospective students trying to figure out how schools measure up.
My background in public health informs the way I understand this issue as a systemic and population-level problem that requires system-level solutions that tackle social determinants. At the same time, my training in trauma-informed crisis hotline response, empathetic listening, and art-based activism have shaped my approach to the day-to-day work. I’m hoping to bring this holistic approach to ending sexual violence to my role at EROC.
EROC: What would you say to student activists who are trying to hold their schools accountable and dismantle rape culture on their campuses?
I would say that you are also the expert of your own experiences. You know best what your campus and community need -- trust your instincts and listen to your friends and classmates to help guide your activism.
I would also say this movement isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Take care of yourselves and your fellow activists, and embrace continued growth and change in your beliefs, values, and work. We won’t solve sexual violence in a day, a week, or a year, but we can build strong and supportive communities and fight our way towards progress.
EROC: Survivor advocacy and activism can be tiring, especially when we face the reality of sexual violence and its impacts every day. Do you have any self-care tips for activists?
I think there’s this misconception that self-care must look like bubble baths and scented candles. While I love a good bubble bath, self-care sometimes looks like sleeping for as long as your body needs and eating adequate food. There’s no one way to self care -- pay attention to what your bodies and minds are telling you they need, and understand that healing is a form of activism in itself. I would also say that no one person can or should save the world. Feel comfortable stepping away from the work if it becomes too much. This is especially true for students, who are often juggling a full course-load on top of holding their institutions accountable and dismantling rape culture. Find your community of people with similar values who are working towards a shared goal, and don’t be afraid to lean on your team when you need to.