Skip to comments.Dear Harvard: You Win
Posted on 04/02/2014 12:32:15 PM PDT by Responsibility2nd
Editors’ Note: This is a first-person, present-tense account of the aftermath of a sexual assault that took place in 2013. For reasons of both style and substance, we have left it in present tense.
I’m writing this piece as I’m sitting in my own dining hall, only a few tables away from the guy who pressured me into sexual activity in his bedroom, one night last spring. My hands are trembling as they hover across the keyboard. I’m exhausted from fighting for myself. I’m exhausted from sending emails to my resident dean, to my House Master, to my Sexual Assault/Sexual Harassment tutors, to counselors from the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, to my attorney. I’m exhausted from asking for extensions because of “personal issues.” I’m exhausted from avoiding the laundry room, the House library and the mailroom because I’m scared of who I will run into.
More than anything, I’m exhausted from living in the same House as the student who sexually assaulted me nine months ago.
I’ve spent most of 2013 fighting the Harvard administration so that they would move my assailant to a different House, and I have failed miserably. Several weeks ago, in a grey room on the fourth floor of the Holyoke Center, my psychiatrist officially diagnosed me with depression. I did not budge, and I was not surprised. I developed an anxiety disorder shortly after moving back to my House this fall, and running into my assailant up to five times a day certainly did not help my recovery.
“How about we increase your dose from 100 to 150 milligrams a day,” my psychiatrist said in a mechanical, indifferent voice. Sure thing.
This morning, as I swallowed my three blue pills of Sertraline and tried to forget about the nightmares that haunted my night, I finally admitted it to myself: I have lost my battle against this institution. Seven months after I reported what happened, my assailant still lives in my House. I am weeks behind in the three classes I’m taking. I have to take sleeping pills every night to fall and stay asleep, and I routinely get nightmares in which I am sexually assaulted in public. I cannot drink alcohol without starting to cry hysterically. I dropped my favorite extracurriculars because I cannot find the energy to drag myself out of bed. I do not care about my future anymore, because I don’t know who I am or what I care about or whether I will still be alive in a few years. I spend most of my time outside of class curled up in bed, crying, sleeping, or staring at the ceiling, occasionally wondering if I just heard my assailant’s voice in the staircase. Often, the cough syrup sitting in my drawer or the pavement several floors down from my window seem like reasonable options.
Dear Harvard: I am writing to let you know that I give up. I will be moving out of my House next semester, if only—quite literally—to save my life. You will no longer receive emails from me, asking for something to be done, pleading for someone to hear me, explaining how my grades are melting and how I have developed a mental illness as a result of your inaction. My assailant will remain unpunished, and life on this campus will continue its course as if nothing had happened. Today, Harvard, I am writing to let you know that you have won.
He was a friend of mine and I trusted him. It was a freezing Friday night when I stumbled into his dorm room after too many drinks. He took my shirt off and started biting the skin on my neck and breast. I pushed back on his chest and asked him to stop kissing me aggressively. He laughed. He said that I should “just wear a scarf” to cover the marks. He continued to abuse my body, hurting my breast and vagina. He asked me to use my mouth. I said no. I was intoxicated, I was in pain, I was trapped between him and the wall, and I was scared to death that he would continue to ignore what I said. I stopped everything and turned my back to him, praying he would leave me alone. He started getting impatient. “Are you only going to make me hard, or are you going to make me come?” he said in a demanding tone.
It did not sound like a question. I obeyed.
So. Was this rape? A sexual assault? Should we blame the victim here?
What I find interesting is the collegiate response to this. Isn’t this pretty typical of all colleges and universities? Drunk co-ed cries rape. They have to tap-dance around the issue.
"It did not sound like a question. I obeyed."
Alternate possibility: BDSM pornographic fiction?
So that’s an example of the Crimson folks, eh?
Guess we know the quality that allowed the Obamadork to 1) get in ...and even worse....2) graduate.
Pressured into sex is not assault
It’s stupid that she gave in and regrets it
Did she report it to police? The real cops? No?
I’m confused too. Is she saying that Harvard did not do any sort of investigation into this? It sounds to me as if they did not even investigate. Maybe I’m reading that into this.
Or is she frustrated that Harvard did not find evidence of a crime having been committed?
One thing I saw in the article is that if she is taking Sertraline or any other anti-depressant, she should not consume any alcohol at all. (Note; this was after the incident so it is not intended as any indictment of her behavior before).
We have her version here. I would like to know whether there was an official police investigation, and whether the institution made their own investigation as well. While I do not blame the author for what she says happened, I can’t take all of it at face value either.
Co-ed dorms + drinking binges, what could possibly go wrong?
I believe Harvard undergraduates belong to one of 8 houses where they live for 3 years.
It is similar to the 3 houses in the Harry Potter saga.
After freshman year, you choose a house like Grippendor or Slitheren or so one and there you stay.
However, each house is enormous with about 400 kids each.
On the other hand, perhaps Harvard should go back to being all male with Radcliff as the Harvard for girls school.
Of course that would give them a black eye too.
Damned if you do, damned if you dont’
However switching houses is a big move but on the other hand each house is quite large. It is not like she would be remaining in a dorm with 30 people. She would remain in a “house” of about 400.
This sounds realistic but maybe a little too much so.It sounds like well written fiction. The clue to me is that in a modern university you could commit a sexual assault and get away with it especially in a liberal institution like Harvard where the burden of proof would be on the male. The most troubling part of the accusation is that she demanded that he be kicked out of the dorm or whatever. Why didn’t she leave? surely such a request would of been honored. That makes me see something fishy about this tale. But, if it was real it should of been examined and action should of been taken I do not make light of something like this.
If she doesn’t commit suicide by the end of the year, I’ll be amazed.
It doesn’t speak to whether or not she filed charges with the police, nor if she contacted a rape/crisis center to help cope with the assault. If not, why not?
It appears Harvard - like 100% of all other colleges - want to sweep these issues under the rug.
Like I said - Colleges have to toe a mighty fine line when it comes to these allegations.
I think the message is clear here. Don’t get drunk and end up having sex you later regret. And especially DON’T take your problems to campus officials.
They let boys and girls share rooms in some places
that makes it rape. stop means stop, not go. if you cross that line, its rape.
It would also be interesting to know if there were any history of mental health issues before this incident.
I always take my grievences outside the system.
Guilt can drive people to do that sort of thing, I’m told.
I agree with your comment. It is easy to get carried away with a story like this but I would need all of the information to make a sound judgment.
The full quote is “I pushed back on his chest and asked him to stop kissing me aggressively.”
Feel for this girl, but if she really feels she was sexually assaulted, why is she worrying about what HARVARD will do... She should have gone to the police and filed a complaint.
Upon reading the article, I feel for this girl, but by her own admission she complied out of intimidation, not physical force, or even the threat of physical force, which is why her case falls into this gray area.
Of course if this girl was a friend of mine, the “proper channel” method would have been tossed out the window, and me and a few friends would have taught this guy a lesson. I suspect highly he would have moved out on his own when we were done with him.
he didn’t stop though, did he? guys sounds like a real menace.
Don't get drunk and go to a male dorm room. Assuming her version of what happened is true, I don't excuse the guy for his conduct in any way. I agree that No means No and anything after that is an assault.
But, still...girls should not get drunk and be out alone on a college campus. It's about as safe as a girl getting drunk and going alone into a biker's bar. There are certain standards of common sense at work here.
If my life depended on moving out of a house, I would. The next minute. Actually, sooner than that, because I'd not take time to write a long screed about how much horrific danger I was in.
Agree with your take.
I am having a hard time trying to figure out who is the author’s assailant, the guy or depression. They seem interwoven.
If she doesnt commit suicide by the end of the year, Ill be amazed.
Are you sure it’s a “she” writing this?
Sounds like PTSD. She needs to get out of there.
If you read her story, she wanted the student she claims raped her to be punished without having to go through the uncomfortable process of filing charges against him.
IOW, she wanted him to be assumed guilty without even a shred of due process. After all, she’s a female accusing (even if only informally) a male. Therefore he should be automatically considered guilty.
I also note it appears she didn’t scream. I’ve never been in a Harvard House, but I’ve worked in a number of dorms, and a scream IS going to be heard outside the room and would presumably bring people running.
She wasn’t asking to switch houses, she was asking that the administration force him to switch houses.
Why would she not just ask to switch herself?
If you weren’t able to pressure or trick someone into sex, my wife and I would never have had any children. And NO I am not always the one doing the pressuring.
It is not rape every time a woman gets drunk, has sex, then regrets it later.
Two, count 'em, two (2) mistakes. Smart enough to get into Harvard, but...
Hard to say he is a menace. He didn’t barge in on her drunk and needing comfort from a friend. It is the exact opposite. She burst into his room.
‘He was a friend of mine and I trusted him. It was a freezing Friday night when I stumbled into his dorm room after too many drinks.’
So a 18 - 22 year old is in his dorm room, a friend of his, who happens to be a female, comes to his room drunk but functioning. She aperantly consented to being kissed and felt up. Once he started kissing aggressively she asked him to stop kissing aggressively. He said you got me excited finish me off and she complied.
Did she stay the night? Did she call for help? Did she scream? Did she say NO? NO she ‘obeyed’. She relented, complied, gave in.
I understand that she was intoxicated, but he didn’t make her drunk. I understand that she felt pressured, but he didn’t stumble into her room.
She doesn’t seem to have reported the ‘assault’ to the police. She told her RA who basically said, ‘sounds like you got what you asked for. I doubt the school will even investigate.’ After that she dropped it. She doesn’t seem to want the ‘perpetrator’ to be thrown into prison or even thrown out of school. She wants to have him moved from one building to another.
The School said SHE COULD MOVE. But that was too disempowering for her. So the school should acquiesce to a students desire to disrupt another student over a completely unverifiable ‘crime’ that wasn’t even reported?
Readers should also note that online commenting has been disabled for this piece in an effort to help protect the author's identity.
Yeah, Crimson disabling its comments is a big step forward in "bringing to light campus-wide conversations on sexual violence and health services at Harvard."
The autyhor kept saying that the guy lived in the same “house”
Until the end I thought the author was a guy..
I thought a guy had raped a guy..
and the university had ignored a rape by a homosexual..
then at the end the mystery is solved...
the rapist was a guy but the victim is a female..
OK so why doesnt the female just move to an all female dorm ???
She wants the university to move the rapist apparently they wont..
has she asked to be moved herself ???
why does she insist on staying in the same building she was raped in ???
and why didn’t she write her story in her room instead of staying in the same commons room where he is ??
something doesn’t pass the smell test..
“Conversations,” in this context, means they will lecture us, we will admit guilt and pay them a bunch of money.
But sometimes it is.
Her refusal to accept the school's offer to move to a different House is typical of the angry victim-- reliance on "fairness" when it is self-defeating is a classic victim act. While the school's responses were insipid at best, she had choices to make at points along the way to act in her own best interest and she did not. She appears to have some political contamination, making a public issue of a private misfortune, which is holding her back for recovering.
She contacted an attorney but not the police. She does not explain why, so we don’t know.
This is very telling. Her lawyer probably told her she could could file charges with the police, and perhaps even sue the boy. But after all is said and done - she would lose.
Her anonymous letter here? Probably the last desperate resort she could think of. Correction. I wouldn’t be suprised if she doesn’t take this public with Tweets and Facebook postings.
He continued to abuse my body, hurting my breast and vagina.My guess would be yeah, pretty sure.
When the administration stonewalls, go to the police. Or just go to legal authorities in the first place.
More of the left’s war on women.
Or perhaps her story is a hoax, it didn't happen the way she says, she was willing at the time, and now is unhappy because the one night of sex was not followed by promises of undying commitment.
Girls should be told repeatedly during orientation: "If you are not interested in having sex with a guy, STAY OUT OF HIS ROOM". And preferably, stay sober too.
Her father needs to take care of this matter.
Well said. It is the proper position.
Its stupid that she gave in and regrets it
It’s also stupid that she stumbled into his room after too many drinks.
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