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.