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An account of sexual assault at amherst college


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An account of sexual assault at amherst college

  1. 1. Thu,  October  18,  2012      |      Currently  ?°  F,  Data  Unavailable      |      Welcome,  reader! OPINIONSHARE  ARTICLE An  Account  of  Sexual  Assault  atPrint  Page      |      Write  the  Editor Amherst  College 165 By  Angie  Epifano,  Epifano  is  a  former  student  of  the  class  of  2014 Issue  142-­6      |      Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  00:07MORE  OF  ISSUE  142-­6 TRIGGER  WARNING:  This  content  deals  with  an  account  of  sexual  assault  and  may  be  triggering  to  some  people. 1.   Keri  Lambert  Leading  Lady  Jeffs  XC When  you’re  being  raped  time  does  not  stop.  Time  does  not  speed  up  and  jump  ahead  like  it  does  when  you  are to  Successful  Fall 2.   Women’s  Soccer  Loses  Heartbreaker with  f riends.  Instead,  time  becomes  your  nemesis;;  it  slows  to  such  an  excruciating  pace  that  every  second to  Ephs;;  Bounces  Back  With  Three becomes  an  hour,  every  minute  a  year,  and  the  rape  becomes  a  lifetime. More  Victories 3.   Field  Hockey  Collects  Two  Big Conference  Wins  Before  Falling  in On  May  25,  2011,  I  was  raped  by  an  acquaintance  in  Crossett  Dormitory  o n  Amherst  College  campus. OT  to  Bowdoin 4.   Men’s  XC  Prioritizes  In-­Season Some  nights  I  can  still  hear  the  sounds  o f  his  roommates  o n  the  o ther  side  o f  the  door,  unknowingly  talking  and Community  Engagement joking  as  I  was  held  down;;  it  is  f ar  f rom  a  pleasant  wakeup  call. 5.   Frat  Culture  On  Trial 6.   Finding  Significance  in  "Liberal  Arts" I  had  always  f ancied  myself  a  strong,  no-­nonsense  woman,  whose  intense  independence  was  cultivated  by 7.   The  Place  of  Fraternities 8.   Lady  Jeffs  Golf  Ends  Fall  with  Two seventeen  harrowing  years  o f  emotional  abuse  in  my  backwoods  home.  May  25th  temporarily  shattered  that Top  Five  Finishes self-­image  and  left  me  f eeling  like  the  broken  victim  that  I  had  never  wanted  to  be. Everything  I  had  believed  myself  to  be  was  gone  in  30  minutes.POPULAR  CONTENT I  did  not  report  the  rape  after  it  o ccurred.  Almost  immediately  after  the  rape  I  f lew  o ff  to  California,  got  lost  inAn  Account  of  Sexual  Assault  at  Amherst the  beauty  o f  the  redwoods,  the  phenomenal  art,  and  meeting  the  most  unique  people  I’d  ever  beheld.College I  blocked  the  rape  f rom  my  mind  and  tried  to  convince  myself  that  it  hadn’t  happened;;  that  it  couldn’t  haveCarleen  Basler  Resigns  After  Admittingto  Plagiarism happened.  But  there  was  no  denying  the  f acts.Affirmative  Action  Detrimental  to  All One  week  before  I  was  supposed  to  f ly  back  East,  everything  rushed  o ver  and  consumed  me.  My  memory  hadThoughts  on  Basler been  restored  and  I  wasn’t  sure  how  I  would  be  able  to  hold  myself  together  f or  that  year,  let  alone  f or  the upcoming  three  years.Self-­Doubt  and  the  Admissions  ProcessLetter  to  the  Editor When  I  returned  to  Amherst  f or  my  sophomore  year,  I  designed  a  simple  plan  o f  attack  f or  surviving:  Business as  usual  combined  with  a  new  mantra  I  will  NOT  cry.Students  Voice  Concerns  About  SexualMisconduct  Policy First  semester  passed  relatively  well,  there  were  rocky  times,  but  I  kept  it  together.  I  masked  f ear  with  smiles.  I mastered  the  art  o f  avoiding  prying  questions.  I  drowned  myself  in  work  and  extracurricular  activities  in  o rderLINKS to  hide  my  personal  pain.  I  was  unnervingly  good  at  playing  the  role  o f  well-­adjusted  sophomore.The  Amherst  Student  Archive It  was  inevitable  though  that  this  masquerade  would  become  too  o verwhelming  and  that  my  f açade  wouldAmherst  College shatter. In  February  twisted  f ate  decided  that  I  had  to  work  with  him  o n  a  f undraiser.  E-­mails.  Stopping  me  in  the  gym and  at  the  dining  hall.  Smirks.  Winks.  P ats  o n  my  back.  It  was  all  too  much. My  masquerade  was  o ver. I  broke  down  and  f or  the  next  several  months,  he  won. I  spent  most  o f  my  spring  semester  an  emotional  wreck.  I  saw  his  f ace  everywhere  I  went.  I  heard  his  voice mocking  me  in  my  o wn  head.  I  imagined  new  rapists  hiding  behind  every  shower  curtain  and  potted  plant.  I bandaged  the  situation  by  throwing  myself  into  more  work  and  by  resolutely  refusing  to  acknowledge  that  I  was anything  but  well  adjusted. Eventually  I  reached  a  dangerously  low  point,  and,  in  my  despondency,  began  going  to  the  campus’  sexual assault  counselor.  In  short  I  was  told:  No  you  can’t  change  dorms,  there  are  too  many  students  right  now.
  2. 2. Pressing  charges  would  be  useless,  he’s  about  to  graduate,  there’s  not  much  we  can  do.  Are  you  SURE  it  wasrape?  It  might  have  just  been  a  bad  hookup…You  should  f orgive  and  f orget.How  are  you  supposed  to  f orget  the  worst  night  o f  your  life?I  didn’t  know  what  to  do  any  more.  For  f our  months  I  continued  wondering  around  campus,  distancing  f rommy  f riends,  and  going  to  counseling  center.  I  was  continuously  told  that  I  had  to  f orgive  him,  that  I  was  crazyfor  being  scared  o n  campus,  and  that  there  was  nothing  that  could  be  done.  They  told  me:  We  can  report  yourrape  as  a  statistic,  you  know  f or  records,  but  I  don’t  recommend  that  you  go  through  a  disciplinary  hearing.  Itwould  be  you,  a  f aculty  advisor  o f  your  choice,  him,  and  a  f aculty  advisor  o f  his  choice  in  a  room  where  youwould  be  trying  to  prove  that  he  raped  you.  You  have  no  physical  evidence,  it  wouldn’t  get  you  very  f ar  to  dothis.Hours  locked  in  a  room  with  him  and  being  called  a  liar  about  being  raped?  No  thank  you,  I  could  barely  handleseeing  him  f rom  the  o pposite  end  o f  campus;;  I  knew  I  couldn’t  handle  that  level  o f  negativity.When  May  rolled  around,  everything  f inally  came  to  a  head.  My  “Anniversary”  was  coming  up  and  all  o f  theterror  that  I  had  intermittently  f elt  that  year  became  o ne  giant  ball  o f  horror  that  f illed  my  life.  He  was  still  o utthere.  He  could  get  to  me  again.  If  I  told  anyone  he  would  f ind  o ut  and  do  it  again.  No,  no,  no,  no,  no.For  my  independent  studies  photography  course  I  produced  a  series  o f  20  self-­portraits  representing  myselfbefore,  during,  and  after  the  rape.I  showed  them  to  my  classmates.  Their  words  stung  like  hornets:  You  look  f unny…I  don’t  get  it,  why  are  you  soupset?I  went  to  the  counseling  center,  as  they  always  tell  you  to  do,  and  spoke  about  how  genuinely  sad  I  was  atAmherst,  how  much  I  wanted  to  leave,  and  how  scared  I  was  o n  a  daily  basis.  “I  should  just  drink  darkroomdeveloper  o r  something…”Twenty  minutes  later  campus  police  was  escorting  me  into  an  ambulance.  They  were  even  less  understanding:There’s  something  seriously  wrong  with  you;;  you’re  not  healthy  and  normal  right  now.  No,  you  can’t  say  no.You  HAVE  to  go,  but  don’t  worry,  you  won’t  have  to  be  there  too  long.  This  is  f or  your  o wn  good.  Amherstcares  about  you  and  wants  you  to  get  better.On  May  5th  I  entered  Cooley  Dickinson  Hospital’s  Emergency  Room.  Three  hours  after  sitting  curled  up  andterrified  o n  a  hospital  bed  I  was  admitted  into  the  P sychiatric  Ward  f or  depression  and  suicidal  thoughts.  Thedoctor  was  skeptical  to  say  the  least:  I  really  don’t  think  that  a  school  like  Amherst  would  allow  you  to  be  raped.And  why  didn’t  you  tell  anybody?  That  just  doesn’t  make  any  sense...Your  anger  and  sadness  right  now  seemunfounded  and  irrational,  someone  your  age  should  not  be  this  sad—it’s  not  normal.  We’ll  be  admitting  you  ina  f ew  minutes,  they’ll  take  good  care  o f  you.  They’ll  get  you  some  drugs  and  they’ll  make  you  f eel  happy  again…If  you  don’t  willingly  enter  we’ll  have  a  judge  issue  a  court  o rder  legally  f orcing  you  to  stay  there.  Trust  us,  thisis  f or  your  o wn  good.So  much  f or  not  having  to  stay.The  P sychiatric  Ward  was  a  lovely  place:  the  top  f loor  o f  the  hospital,  bare  white  walls,  Spartan  f urnishings,and  two  stainless  steel  locked  doors  at  either  end  o f  the  corridor  making  sure  that  anyone  who  goes  in,  stays  in.Doctors  and  Nurse  P ractitioners  wondered  around  the  bare  hallways  checking  in  o n  myself  and  my  f ellowpatients—every  f ifteen  minutes  they  recorded  where  we  were,  what  we  were  doing,  and  whether  we  lookedhappy.  In  the  morning  we  were  given  o ur  drugs;;  if  you  didn’t  take  them  you  would  have  to  be  there  longer.  Itwas  in  o ur  best  interest  to  take  them,  so  they  told  us.During  the  day  we  discussed  o ur  thoughts  and  f eelings,  o ur  inhibitions,  o ur  strengths,  but  more  o ften  than  notwe  did  nothing.When  you’re  f orced  to  sit  and  think  about  yourself  f or  hours  o n  end,  you  go  through  f our  stages  o f  existence.Stage  1:  Hysteria—Characterized  by  denying  that  anything  is  wrong,  “I’m  perfectly  f ine”  and  “I  don’t  belonghere,”  are  common  phrases  during  this  stage.Stage  2:  Numb  and  Ornery—You  have  f inally  realized  that  something  is  wrong  with  you,  but  you  areoverwhelmed  and  confused  about  how  to  go  about  f ixing  your  problem.  You  therefore  decide  not  to  doanything.Stage  3:  Determination—You  realize  that  the  o nly  way  you’re  allowed  to  leave  the  Ward  is  if  you  “get  better”
  3. 3. and  “solve  your  problems.”  Every  f iber  o f  your  being  thus  goes  into  these  two  tasks.Stage  4:  Enlightenment—Everything  f alls  into  place.  Your  mind  is  no  longer  an  o ppressive  hell  and  it  begins  tofunction  again.  The  o utside  world  no  longer  seems  so  daunting.You  are  then  permitted  to  leave.My  Enlightenment  o ccurred  when  I  least  expected  it.  Four  days  into  the  Ward,  I  was  sitting  in  o n  anintroductory  Substance  Abuse  and  Mental  Health  Rehabilitation  meeting  since  there  was  absolutely  nothingbetter  to  do.  To  start  us  o ff,  the  meeting  leader  decided  to  have  everyone  go  around  and  talk  about  why  wewere  o n  the  Ward.  We  went  around  the  circle:  hours  in  rehab,  drug  relapses,  alcoholism,  abusive  boyfriends,being  an  abusive  boyfriend,  and  escapism  f rom  the  stresses  o f  daily  life.  The  stories  weren’t  the  superficialaccounts  that  you  read  in  a  person’s  medical  f ile;;  they  were  real  life.  Every  problem,  every  o unce  o f  f rustration,every  personal  tick  was  laid  bare  that  evening.  And  everyone  was  o pen,  not  proud,  just  blunt  and  sincere;;  thedesire  to  improve  their  lives  was  palpable.Over  the  past  f our  days,  I  had  yet  to  touch  upon  “what  I  was  in  f or,”  my  story  was  a  mystery  to  everyone  aroundme.As  my  f ellow  patients  went  around  the  circle  it  all  suddenly  clicked.  I  realized  why  I  never  spoke  about  the  rape,why  I  had  refused  to  tell  my  school  f riends,  why  I  had  totally  broken  down,  why  I  had  steadily  degenerated  o verthe  past  f ew  months.  I  was  ashamed,  and  because  o f  this  shame  I  could  not  begin  healing.“Silence  has  the  rusty  taste  o f  shame,”  a  f ellow  survivor  o nce  wrote.I  had  been  f ar  too  silent,  f ar  too  ashamed.That  night  I  told  them  everything.For  the  f irst  time  I  told  my  story  and  I  was  not  ashamed.Later  that  night,  as  I  lay  in  bed—still  in  an  adrenaline  induced  state  o f  wakefulness—I  heard  my  roommatewhisper  my  name,  and  then,  a  question.“Are  you  still  awake?”“Yes.”“Thought  so…”A  long  pause.  She’d  been  in  the  meeting.What  was  she  thinking?  What  would  she  say?“I  just  wanted  to  tell  you,  I…I  know  how  it  f eels.  My  uncle  raped  me  when  I  was  15.  The  police  never  arrestedhim.  Rape  “wasn’t  their  top  priority.”  It  still  hurts…You’re  incredibly  brave  to  talk  about  it…I  rarely  do.”She  was  42  years  o ld.I  did  not  sleep.  That  night  I  realized  that  f rom  then  o n  I  could  not  stay  silent—if  not  f or  myself,  then  f or  myroommate.I  had  reached  the  apex  o f  Stage  4.I  decided  that  o nce  I  was  released  I  would  continue  with  my  plans  to  study  abroad  that  upcoming  semester;;  Iwould  be  rejuvenated  when  I  returned  to  campus  in  the  winter,  ready  to  take  o n  the  world  and  f ight  f orsurvivor  rights.I  would  be  strong  again.From  the  moment  I  woke,  this  plan  hit  o ne  pitfall  after  another;;  a  domino  effect  o f  roadblocks  that  continuedfor  the  next  three  months.I  sat  at  breakfast  in  bright  spirits,  attempting  to  carry  o n  a  conversation  with  a  manic  depressive  woman  whorarely  talked.  I  was  so  genuinely  happy  that  her  lack  o f  responses  didn’t  even  bother  me—I  just  talked  at  her.In  the  middle  o f  my  stimulating  conversation  my  harried  looking  social  worker  suddenly  strode  into  the  diningroom  and  headed  purposefully  o ver  to  me.
  4. 4. She  looked  grim  and  angry.  “They’re  trying  to  prevent  you  f rom  going  back.”I  was  shocked.She  began  rattling  o ff  the  Administration’s  policy  regarding  students  released  f rom  psychiatric  care.  In  o rderfor  students  to  be  allowed  back  they  had  to  have  parental  supervision  while  o n  campus  in  o rder  to  make  surethat  the  student  did  not  relapse  into  substance  abuse  again  (the  most  common  reason  f or  student  admittanceinto  the  Ward).  This  meant  that  a  parent  would  stay  in  a  hotel  near  campus  and  would  then  f ollow  their  childaround  f or  two  weeks  until  the  “all  clear”  period  was  reached.  “And  since  you  don’t  have  parents…”She  trailed  o ff  awkwardly  and  began  to  resolutely  examine  the  upper  left-­hand  corner  o f  the  dining  room.I  must  have  been  speechless  f or  a  good  minute  as  a  bizarre  series  o f  emotions  plowed  me  o ver.Shock  to  incredulity,  back  to  shock,  to  sadness  to  anger,  back  to  shock  again,  then  back  to  sadness,  and  then  anoverwhelming  amount  o f  shame  and  embarrassment  settled  o ver  me.  I’m  not  worthy  o f  even  going  back;;  that’show  disgusting  I  am.  I  can’t  even  step  f oot  o n  campus…Panic  welled  up  inside  o f  me.Did  this  mean  I  was  trapped  o n  the  Ward  f orever?  God,  no,  I  couldn’t  handle  that.  I  wasn’t  crazy!Claustrophobia  and  paranoia  dropped  o n  top  o f  me  and  I  wildly  scanned  the  room.  I  met  my  roommate’s  eyes.She  was  looking  at  me  with  worry:  What’s  wrong?The  room  stopped  spinning,  the  walls  went  back  to  their  normal  locations,  I  could  breathe  again,  and  now  I  wasangry.  I  told  her  f lat  o ut:  Let  me  get  this  straight.  I  was  raped  o n  their  campus.  I  had  an  emotional  breakdownbecause  I  didn’t  f eel  safe  and  f elt  harassed  o n  their  campus.  I  went  to  their  counseling  center,  like  they  told  meto,  and  I  told  them  how  I  was  f eeling.  They  decided  that  I  should  be  sent  to  the  hospital.  And  now  they  won’tallow  me  back  o n  their  campus?  They  allow  rapists  back  o n  campus,  but  they  won’t  allow  the  girl  who  was  rapedback?  The  girl  who  did  nothing  wrong.She  told  me:  Well,  when  you  put  it  that  way…The  maniacal  grin  o n  my  social  worker’s  f ace  as  she  walked  o ff  was  wonderful.Needless  to  say,  Amherst  let  me  back  o n  campus  later  that  evening.  Five  days  after  being  admitted,  I  was  f inallyreleased  f rom  the  Ward.The  car  ride  back  to  campus  with  my  dean  was,  also  needless  to  say,  the  most  awkward  car  ride  o f  my  life.  Ilooked  at  her:  You  know,  I’m  really  glad  that  y’all  let  me  back  o n  campus,  f or  a  while  there  I  was  pretty  worriedand  I  was  actually  preparing  an  argument  f or  why  I  should  be  allowed  back…Her  response:  No,  no,  no!  That’s  not  what  happened,  you  must  have  just  misunderstood  the  situation!  We’reso  happy  to  have  you  back!  Amherst  is  just  such  a  wonderful  place,  we  know  you’ll  be  happy  to  be  back!A  big  misunderstanding,  I  was  skeptical.In  the  f ollowing  days  I  decided  that  my  best  policy  when  dealing  with  Amherst  at  the  moment  would  be  “let’s  letbygones  be  bygones.”  I  quickly  f orgave  the  Administration  and  f ocused  o n  just  being  happy  to  be  o ut.  On  theinside  though  I  was  still  dripping  with  anger,  shame,  and  embarrassment.Several  days  after  my  release  I  had  to  defend  my  chance  to  study  abroad.  My  chance  to  leave  campus  f or  thefirst  time  in  8  months,  my  chance  to  relax  and  heal  in  a  new  environment,  my  biggest  chance  to  revive  my  loveof  Amherst,  and  my  chance  to  move  o n  in  life  by  studying  what  I  truly  love.  The  prospect  had  gotten  methrough  the  most  f rigid  hours  o n  the  Ward  and  I  was  convinced  that  it  would  be  the  perfect  way  to  continue  myhealing  process.I  half-­heartedly  murmured,  Your  actions  were  understandable.  I  understand  your  policy  when  dealing  withdepression  and  students  coming  o ut  o f  the  P sychiatric  Ward…during  the  meeting  that  included  my  dean  andseveral  o f  the  campus  counselors.  Relief  instantly  f lashed  across  all  o f  their  f aces  and  the  atmosphere  rose  infriendliness.Then:  The  Ward  was  the  best  thing  that  could  have  happened  to  me.  I  have  re-­found  my  love  o f  life  and  mydesire  to  heal.  I  will  never  be  100%  better,  but  I  no  longer  f eel  like  a  victim.  I’m  a  survivor,  I’m  strong,  and  Ithink  that  studying  abroad  will  help  me  continue  healing.  When  I  return  in  the  winter  I’ll  have  a  greater
  5. 5. understanding  o f  myself  and  a  greater  appreciation  o f  Amherst.They  responded  with  enthusiasm:  Of  course!  Very  coherent  explanation.  You  seem  much  happier,  which  iswonderful!  We  agree  that  going  abroad  and  getting  o ff  campus  will  do  you  good.Study  abroad  here  I  come!I  f elt  genuinely  happy  f or  the  f irst  time  in  a  year,  and  I  could  not  wait  to  head  o ut.At  Amherst  though,  things  are  never  that  easy.A  f ew  weeks  after  my  release  f rom  the  Ward  I  had  a  routine  check-­in  with  my  dean  to  make  sure  that  I  was  stilldoing  well.  I  was  excited  to  be  leaving  soon,  and  I  must  have  looked  quite  content,  sitting  in  her  o ffice  with  amillion  watt  smile  and  bright  eyes.  I  began  to  rattle  o n  about  how  nice  the  warm  weather  was,  how  beautifulcommencement  had  been,  how  great  life  was,  o n  and  o n.  She  seemed  distracted:  Nod,  nod…Mhmmm…Well,excellent!  I’m  so  glad  to  hear  that  you’re  excited  about  the  upcoming  summer  here.  I  know  how  much  youwanted  to  study  abroad  and  how  much  work  you  must’ve  put  into  it,  but  really,  it’s  f or  the  best.  Africa  is  quitetraumatizing,  what  with  those  horrible  third-­world  conditions:  disease…huts…lions!  You’ll  be  much  better  o ffhere  at  Amherst  where  we  can  watch  o ver  you.  It  will  give  you  some  time  to  think  about…you  know…that…unfortunate  incident…My  f ace  was  blank.  “I’m  supposed  to  go  to  Cape  Town,  South  Africa…”  Her  response  broke  me  down:  Yes  dear,I  know.  You  were  supposed  to  study  in  Africa.  It’s  all  f or  the  best  that  you  aren’t  though.No  o ne  ever  told  me  f lat  o ut  that  I  would  no  longer  be  studying  abroad.  Not  even  the  study  abroad  dean  toldme.  I  scheduled  a  meeting  with  her  f or  two  days  after  the  meeting  with  my  dean.A  f ew  minutes  after  exchanging  pleasantries  she  asked:  What  are  your  plans  f or  the  summer  now  that  you’re  o ncampus?For  the  month  o f  June  I  was  decrepit,  nothing  could  perk  me  up.  I  returned  to  f eeling  the  embarrassment  andshame  that  had  consumed  me  before  going  o nto  the  Ward.  If  I  hadn’t  told  anyone  about  what  happened  I’d  beabroad…If  I  had  been  stronger…If  I  wasn’t  such  a  f ailure…This  is  all  my  f ault,  I  really  am  just  a  broken,  pollutedpiece  o f  shit…Living  was  difficult.  Each  day  I  woke  up  and  wandered  around  in  a  daze.  At  night  I  stared  blank  f aced  at  a  walland  curled  up  in  my  chair  in  a  f etal  position.  I  couldn’t  talk  with  people.  If  I  talk  with  them  they  might  becomeinfected  with  my  dirtiness.I  stopped  eating.  I  stopped  sleeping.  I  secretly  hoped  that  o ne  day  o n  a  run  my  heart  would  just  stop  and  no  o newould  have  to  see  me  again.  I  wasn’t  worth  anything  anyway.I  continued  having  to  meet  with  my  dean;;  she  blamed  my  sadness  o n  not  being  allowed  to  study  abroad,  but  Iknew  that  it  wasn’t  that  simple.  I  could  live  with  not  being  allowed  to  go  to  South  Africa  at  the  moment,  thecountry  would  be  there  f or  a  while,  but  being  f orced  to  stay  o n  campus  in  a  dorm  populated  with  men  I  did  notknow,  that  was  the  real  psychological  issue.  Every  time  I  told  my  dean  that  I  didn’t  f eel  safe  o n  campus,  that  Iwanted  to  be  allowed  to  leave  ,  o r  at  least  be  put  in  a  different  dorm,  I  received  the  same  unhelpful  responsesthat  I  had  received  in  February.  They  told  me:  You  were  lucky  to  be  given  a  room  here  this  summer  in  the  f irstplace,  housing  is  tight  right  now  and  you  really  shouldn’t  complain.  All  o f  your  f ear  is  ungrounded,  Amherst  isone  o f  the  safest  places  imaginable…If  we  let  you  leave  campus  we  won’t  know  what  mental  and  emotional  placeyou’ll  exist  in  when  you  return  in  September;;  you  could  become  completely  unstable!  At  Amherst  we  canmonitor  you,  and,  if  need  be,  strongly  suggest  time  o ff  when  the  school  year  rolls  around…I  f elt  like  a  prisoner,  o r,  more  accurately,  like  a  harem  girl.  My  jail  was  luxurious  and  o penair,  I  was  f ree  tomove  about,  the  ruling  power  judged  my  worth  o n  a  weekly  basis,  and  I  was  constantly  reminded  how  lucky  Iwas  to  be  there.One  night,  after  a  particularly  rough  meeting  with  my  dean  (I  just  don’t  understand  why  you’ve  been  so  angrythroughout  all  o f  this.  You  have  no  reason  to  be  angry  about  anything.),  I  was  curled  up  o n  my  f loor—I  wasn’tthinking,  I  didn’t  f eel  anything.I  went  o ver  to  the  mirror  o n  the  back  o f  my  door  and  stared.  What  had  happened  to  the  girl  who  had  come  o ffof  the  Ward  so  empowered  and  strong;;  the  girl  who  decided  to  no  longer  be  silent  and  f eel  shamed?  Where  hadshe  gone?I  went  o ver  to  my  desk  and  picked  up  a  brochure  I  had  been  given  about  a  survivor  center  at  UMass  Amherst.  I
  6. 6. gave  an  exaggerated  sigh.  Might  as  well…I  called  the  number  and  made  an  appointment  f or  the  next  day.I  went  back  to  the  mirror  and  stared  at  myself  again.For  the  next  15  minutes  I  repeated:  “Silence  has  the  rusty  taste  o f  shame.”I  walked  o ver  to  my  computer,  typed  up  an  email,  hesitated  f or  a  second,  and  then  pressed  send.I  had  just  sent  my  entire  sports  team  an  email-­rant  about  my  rape  and  subsequent  breakdown  at  the  end  o fspring.It  was  about  time  people  began  to  realize  that  Amherst  wasn’t  just  majestic  dorms  and  world-­class  professors.It  was  about  time  I  resumed  the  silent  pact  that  I  had  made  to  my  roommate  o n  the  Ward.I  will  not  be  quiet.The  next  f ew  weeks  were  a  blur  o f  unending  days  spent  resolutely  working  to  f eel  better  (A  f riend  told  me:  Youcan’t  help  o ther  people  if  you  f eel  like  shit).I  was  able  to  sleep  again.  I  ate  more.  I  went  to  f ree  therapy  sessions.  I  wrote  and  mindlessly  colored  in  o rder  toground  myself.  I  o bsessively  made  lists  o f  all  the  things  imaginable.  I  joined  a  survivor  group.  I  cried  less  andsmiled  a  bit  more.I  started  healing.It  took  a  month  o f  hard  work  until  I  was  noticeably  doing  better.  My  f riends,  my  therapist,  my  coworkers,  andmy  f ellow  survivor  group  members  all  started  commenting  o n  how  much  healthier  and  happier  I  looked.  I  stillfelt  uncomfortable  and  o ppressed  while  surrounded  by  men  o n  campus,  but  I  was  no  longer  afraid  to  leave  myroom  after  7  p.m.  I  was  determined  to  love  Amherst  again.Life  was  tolerable.Early  July  and  I  had  another  meeting  with  my  dean:  You  look  like  you’re  doing  better  today.  Well  done,  I’m  soglad  to  see  this  kind  o f  improvement!  I  think  it’s  safe  to  assume  that  you  can  come  back  next  semester,  and  inthat  regard  I  think  that  it’s  time  that  we  talk  about  your  time  at  Amherst  o ver  the  next  two  years…I  know  youwant  to  do  African  Studies  through  the  Five  Colleges,  but  I  don’t  think  I  can  support  that  decision.  Africa  is  verytraumatizing  and  I  think  that  studying  Africa  is  just  a  way  f or  you  to  relive  your  real-­life  traumas;;  it’s  just  not  agood  place  to  be  studying.Over  the  next  thirty  minutes  several  more  restrictions  were  laid  o ut:  no  Five  College  classes  this  upcomingyear,  no  study  abroad  in  the  spring,  definitely  no  senior  year  thesis,  I  would  have  to  meet  with  a  counselortwice  a  week,  and  f riends  o ff  campus  would  have  to  be  pushed  to  the  wayside.  She  told  me:  Amherst  is  the  o nlyplace  that  matters,  and,  really,  you  don’t  have  a  f amily,  so  where  else  would  you  go?  Amherst  is  the  o nly  placethat  you  can  be.At  the  end  o f  o ur  conversation  I  grunted  o ut  a  vapid  response  and  headed  straight  to  my  room.  I  sat  o n  my  bed,million-­mile-­gazed  at  the  wall,  and  thought.What  was  the  point  o f  staying  at  Amherst?  I  had  been  stuck  o n  campus  f or  eleven  months  straight;;  each  day  hadbeen  more  challenging  and  emotionally  draining  than  the  previous  o ne.  I  had  been  f eeling  better  recently,  buteach  time  I  met  with  my  dean  I  f elt  more  emotionally  distraught  than  I  had  beforehand.  Her  commentsreminded  me  that  in  the  Administration’s  eyes  I  was  the  most  base  individual:  a  poor  and  parentless  humanitiesmajor  who  was  the  school’s  token-­Deep-­Southerner.  I  was  sullied,  blameworthy,  and  possibly  insane.I  made  a  P ros  and  Cons  o f  Amherst  List.The  P ro  List  had  seven  items.The  Con  List  had  twenty-­three  items.On  July  14th  I  made  o ne  o f  the  hardest  decisions  o f  my  life.I  was  going  to  withdraw  f rom  Amherst.That  next  week  I  threw  myself  into  f inding  a  way  o ut.  P lans  were  made,  plans  were  broken,  P lan  B  was  made,and  f inally  P lan  B  was  successful!
  7. 7. I  did  not  tell  the  Administration  f or  f ear  that  they  would  somehow  sabotage  me.  It  was  probably  paranoid,  butafter  being  prevented  f rom  leaving  campus  multiple  times  I  was  not  going  to  take  any  chances.  Theconversation  went  similarly  to  this:“I’m  withdrawing  f rom  Amherst.”That  was  my  greeting  to  my  dean  when  I  met  with  her  in  late  July.The  look  o f  complete  shock  o n  her  f ace  was  priceless.  When  she  recovered:  So  you’re  taking  a  semester  o ff?That’s  perfectly  o k,  many  survivors  do,  I  think  it’s  best  that  you  do  what  you…No,  I’m  withdrawing,  permanently.  I  ain’t  planning  o n  ever  coming  back.  I’m  going  to  transfer  to  another  schoolafter  taking  a  semester  o ff  to  travel  around.You  can’t…You…Nobody  withdraws.  Where  are  you  going  to  go?  You  don’t  have  parents.  What  are  you  goingto  do?I’m  working  o n  a  Dude  Ranch  in  Wyoming.…I  didn’t  think  you’d  be  able  to  f igure  o ut  a  plan…Well,  we  technically  won’t  withdraw  you  f rom  the  school  untilthree  years  have  passed.  After  three  years  we’ll  double-­check  to  make  sure  that  you  really  want  to  withdraw  andthen  we’ll  remove  you  f rom  o ur  current-­students  system.No,  I  just  want  you  to  withdraw  me.  I  don’t  want  to  come  back,  I  don’t  want  to  be  affiliated  with  your  schoolanymore.  I’m  sick  o f  this  place.I  think  you  need  to  meet  with  o ur  sexual  assault  counselor  again,  you’re  way  too  angry  right  now  and  notthinking  clearly.  I  have  a  f eeling  you’ll  change  your  mind  and  come  back.  Amherst  is  o ne  o f  the  best  schools  o utthere,  it  will  be  a  transfer  down  unless  you  go  to  an  Ivy…You  know,  I  have  I  f eeling  that  I  won’t  want  to  come  back,  but  that’s  just  a  hunch.As  my  dean  suggested,  I  met  with  o ur  sexual  assault  counselor  a  f ew  days  later.  The  meeting  wasuncharacterizeable  by  o ne  word,  but  bizarre  might  be  the  closest  description:  This  is  a  bad  idea,  you’re  notthinking  straight.I  didn’t  understand  this.  I’d  been  thinking  about  this  f or  quite  a  while;;  I  was  unhappy  at  Amherst  and  I  didn’tunderstand  why  I  should  stay  at  a  place  where  I  was  absolutely  miserable.  There  are  o ther  places  in  the  world.The  next  two  hours  was  a  hodgepodge  o f  topics:  Your  lack  o f  parental  support  makes  you  emotionally  volatileand  prevents  you  f rom  f ollowing  through  with  decisions  that  you  make.Apparently  I  had  decided  not  to  study  abroad.  Then  there  was  bizarre  ‘concern:’You  don’t  look  very  healthy.Have  you  been  eating?  I  think  you  might  have  an  eating  disorder.  You  know  there’s  a  great  clinic  inNorthhampton  where  we  can  send  you  f or  in-­patient  eating  disorder  treatment.I  don’t  have  an  eating  disorder;;  I  used  to  have  o ne,  I  know  what  they’re  like.  I  don’t  eat  a  lot  because  I  can’tafford  to  buy  f ood.Then  the  ranch  came  up:  Do  you  realize  how  difficult  working  o n  a  Dude  Ranch  will  be?  The  people  in  Wyomingare  different  f rom  the  people  at  Amherst,  they  won’t  be  well-­educated,  and  they  won’t  understand  you.  You’regoing  to  a  backwards  place.  Do  you  realize  how  bad  it  will  be?Yes,  because  the  rest  o f  the  US  is  f illed  with  ignorant  savages  who  haven’t  been  saved  by  the  light  o f  Amherst.How  would  I  ever  survive?To  the  counselor’s  great  surprise,  these  stellar  arguments  did  not  convince  me  to  stay  at  Amherst.  I  becameeven  more  resolute  about  my  decision  to  leave,  and  decided  to  talk  with  the  Victim  Rights  Law  Center,  a  pro-­bono  law  f irm  based  in  Boston  that  my  survivor  group  had  recommended  to  me  several  weeks  earlier.  Mypreliminary  intake  with  the  VRLC  was  quite  eye-­opening:  Oh  Amherst?  Yeah,  unfortunately  I  know  Amherst  alltoo  well.  I’ve  been  down  there  many  times  to  deal  with  the  administration  and  their  constant  mistreatment  o fsurvivors.  Our  law  f irm  keeps  trying  to  f orce  them  to  change  but  they  just  don’t  seem  to  understand,  they  keepdoing  the  same  o ld  thing.Amherst  has  almost  1800  students;;  last  year  alone  there  were  a  minimum  o f  10  sexual  assaults  o n  campus.  Inthe  past  15  years  there  have  been  multiple  serial  rapists,  men  who  raped  more  than  f ive  girls,  according  to  the
  8. 8. sexual  assault  counselor.  Rapists  are  given  less  punishment  than  students  caught  stealing.  Survivors  are  o ftenforced  to  take  time  o ff,  while  rapists  are  allowed  to  stay  o n  campus.  If  a  rapist  is  about  to  graduate,  theirpunishment  is  o ften  that  they  receive  their  diploma  two  years  late.I  eventually  reported  my  rapist.He  graduated  with  honors.I  will  not  graduate  f rom  Amherst.The  stories  and  statistics  are  miles  long  in  regards  to  sexual  assault  o n  campus.  My  story  is  f ar  f rom  unique,and,  compared  to  some  o f  the  stories  I  have  heard,  is  tame.The  more  that  I  learn  about  Amherst’s  policy  toward  sexual  assault  and  survivors  in  general,  the  more  relief  Ifeel  in  deciding  to  transfer.  How  could  I  stay  at  a  school  who  had  made  my  healing  process  not  just  difficult,  butimpossible?  How  could  I  stand  knowing  that  the  Administration  promotes  silence?  How  could  I  spend  the  nexttwo  years  made  to  f eel  dirty  and  at  f ault?I  could  not.At  o ne  point  I  hated  Amherst  with  an  indescribable  amount  o f  f ury,  but  I  do  not  hate  the  school  anymore.Amherst  took  a  lot  f rom  me,  but  they  gave  me  some  o f  the  greatest  gifts  imaginable:  self-­confidence,  my  closestfriends,  intellectual  curiosity,  and  endless  personal  strength.  For  these  things  I  am  f orever  grateful.  Foreverything  else,  I  stand  back  and  behold  the  college  with  a  f eeling  o f  melancholia.The  f act  that  such  a  prestigious  institution  could  have  such  a  noxious  interior  f ills  me  with  intense  remorsemixed  with  sour  distaste.  I  am  sickened  by  the  Administration’s  attempts  to  cover  up  survivors’  stories,  cooktheir  books  to  discount  rapes,  pretend  that  withdrawals  never  o ccur,  quell  attempts  at  change,  and  sweepsexual  assaults  under  a  rug.  When  politicians  cover  up  affairs  o r  scandals  the  masses  o ften  rise  up  in  angryprotestations  and  call  f or  a  more  transparent  government.  What  is  the  difference  between  a  government  andthe  Amherst  College  campus?  Why  can’t  we  know  what  is  really  happening  o n  campus?  Why  should  we  be  quietabout  sexual  assault?“Silence  has  the  rusty  taste  o f  shame.”There  is  no  reason  shame  should  be  a  school’s  policy.Tags:   rape Sexual  AssaultComments Kristin  Ouellette  (not verified)  says: Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  11:19 Thank  you  to  a  brave  young  woman As  a  2012  grad  who  struggled  with  the  right  way,  right  time,  and  right  tone  to  combat  sexual violence  and  the  degradation  of  women  at  Amherst,  I  want  to  say  thank  you  for  your  courage and  strength  in  telling  this  part  of  your  story.  No  person  should  ever  have  to  face  the  horror that  you  have,  or  to  try  to  heal  in  such  a  negligent  and  mistrustful  environment.  I  have  heard the  tale  of  a  friend  of  a  friend  being  told  not  to  press  charges  because  her  rapist  was  graduating in  a  few  months  once  before,  but  I  hadnt  guessed  that  it  would  be  the  schools  administrative policy.  It  seems  that  the  college  believes  that  graduation  results  in  a  blank  slate  for  perpetrators and  victims,  but  just  because  troublesome  students  get  out  of  their  hair,  doesnt  mean memories  of  rape,  assault  and  shame  magically  fly  from  victims  minds  with  the  toss  of  a square  black  hat. You  are  strong!  The  world  realigns.  Fight  the  good  fight. Permalink reply Michelle  (not  verified) says: Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  11:34 Thank  you  for  being  so Thank  you  for  being  so  incredibly  brave  and  sharing  this  story  with  everyone.  Others  who  are going  through  the  same  thing  need  to  know  that  they  are  not  alone  and  that  the  responses  that counselor  and  the  doctor  gave  you  are  completely  insensitive  and  inappropriate,  and  that responses  such  as  these  only  show  an  outrageous  lack  of  empathy  and  understanding  for  a  rape victim.  I  personally  experienced  rape  when  I  was  younger,  and  I  feared  telling  anyone  for years  because  I  thought  I  was  going  to  be  judged,  and  I  deteriorated  as  a  consequence. Speaking  out  and  making  sure  that  schools  are  equipped  to  handle  these  cases  is  absolutely crucial!!!  Thank  you  for  speaking  out. Permalink reply
  9. 9. Keith  Wine  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  11:56 Angie,  I  think  I  speak  for Angie,  I  think  I  speak  for  all  of  your  friends  when  I  saw  that  we  love  you  so  very,  very  much.  It took  an  incredible  amount  of  courage  to  share  this  story,  and  I  hope  two  major  things  will  come of  it:  1.  That  Amherst  will  begin  to  take  the  very  serious  issue  of  sexual  assault  more  seriously, and  2.  That  sharing,  as  hard  as  it  is,  will  be  cathartic  and  help  you  heal.  For  now,  have  an incredible  time  in  Europe,  and  remember  that  your  friends  are  always  here  for  you. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  12:21 I  dont  know  what  to  say Struggling  to  find  the  right  words,  I  really  only  come  up  with  "thank  you".  Thank  you  for  your story.  You  are  the  most  courageous,  impressive,  strong  woman  I  can  imagine  (I  have  not  had the  pleasure  of  meeting  you  yet).  The  world  needs  to  know  about  the  failings  of  this community.  If  Amherst  is  not  safe,  then  everyone,  everywhere  should  know.  You  are  making the  world  a  better  place  with  your  words,  and  you  will  ALWAYS  have  my  support.  Thank  you! Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  12:35 Thank  You Thank  you  for  coming  out  and  sharing  this  story  in  your  own  words.  I  really  appreciate  the honesty  of  your  account  and  feel  that  its  important  to  me,  other  students  (both  the  male  and female  populations),  and  the  staff  at  the  college  to  hear  not  only  what  happened  to  you  and  how you  endured  but  also  what  went  wrong  in  the  colleges  handling  of  the  situation.  In experiencing  a  similar  trauma  my  sophomore  year,  I  know  the  struggles  of  getting  along emotionally  after  the  fact.  It  can  feel  numbingly  isolating.  This  account,  however,  should  force  a renewal  of  perspective  on  those  who  read  it.  The  intimacy  of  these  details  has  given  spotlight  to an  experience  that  deserves  to  be  treated  more  sensitively  and  more  fairly  than  it  was  handled. Thank  you  again  for  your  courage. Permalink reply Adam  (not  verified) says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  13:04 Thank  you  for  this I  think  many  of  us  know  that  Amherst  is  not  the  progressive,  forward-­thinking  institution  it likes  to  present  itself  as.  Sadly,  this  is  the  kind  of  situation  that  all  too  frequently  gets  swept under  the  carpet  to  preserve  the  colleges  carefully  cultivated  image. Huge  amount  of  respect  and  admiration  to  this  (now  sadly  former)  student  for  coming  forward and  telling  her  story.  Hopefully  this  will  no  longer  be  an  issue  that  the  administration  willfully ignores  and  suppresses  out  of  fear  of  unwelcome  publicity. Permalink replyDaniel  (not  verified) says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  13:05 True Unfortunately,  this  is  a  sickeningly  frequent  occurrence  that  doesnt  just  affect  the  women  in our  lives  but  also  the  men.  Sexual  assault  of  any  kind  is  truly  disgusting.  I  was  sexually assaulted  at  Amherst  and  had  a  similar  experience.  The  counselors  there  tried  to  force  me  into going  to  the  hospital  for  suicidal  thoughts.  I  refused  and  luckily  my  parents  backed  me  up  on that  decision.  Within  1  month  of  it  happening,  I  left  Amherst  for  good.  When  I  tried  to confront  my  assailant,  he  told  me  that  I  should  be  careful  with  such  serious  accusations  of sexual  assault.  I  shouldve  called  the  police  immediately  and  pushed  more  the  most  dire consequences  I  could.  I  was  just  in  shock.  Its  hard  to  get  into  this  school  and  feel  like  you  are one  of  the  intellectual  elite  in  the  country.  I  felt  so  helpless  and  weak  and  I  just  couldnt  face  my classmates. Permalink replyKirby  (Schell)  ...  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  13:11 THANK  YOU Thank  you  for  speaking  for  so  many  of  us  -­  myself  included  -­  who  walked  the  fields  and  halls and  dorms  looking  around  every  corner  because  our  rapist  walked  them  too.  I  was  encouraged by  the  deans  office  NOT  to  press  charges,  to  "think  of  my  bright  future  without  the  stigma"  of being  a  victim  of  this  horrible  violent  act.  "This  is  such  a  small  school  -­-­  do  you  want  everyone to  know  you  THAT  way?"  I  was  asked.  Turns  out  they  did  anyway,  because  I  too  told  my  story, my  truth,  to  keep  it  from  eating  me  alive.  My  "Anniversary"  is  Halloween,  and  each  year  it  is difficult  -­-­  I  know  yours  will  be  too.  But  this  year,  I  want  you  to  keep  something  new  in  mind  -­-­ by  writing  about  it,  photographing  it,  publishing  it  -­-­  youve  made  it  YOURS.  Youve  stepped out  into  the  arms  of  so  many  people  who  have  been  through  it  and  made  it,  have  fought  for understanding  of  "how  did  this  happen?"  and  "will  I  get  through  this?"  every  single  day  -­-­-­  and youve  become  one  of  the  people  who  other  survivors  will  turn  to  as  a  powerful,  courageous  and unique  resource.  The  world  will,  I  promise,  feel  less  dangerous  and  scary  as  time  passes.  It does  get  better.  Thank  you  for  sharing  your  experiences  -­-­  you  are  not  alone  -­  you  will  grow stronger,  and  yes,  braver,  and  even  braver  still,  over  time.
  10. 10. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  13:41 The  reactions  that  you The  reactions  that  you  received  when  you  trusted  someone  enough  to  tell  them  your  story  -­ especially  from  people  who  are  supposed  to  be  trained  in  sexual  assault  counseling  makes  me absolutely  furious.  I  run  support  groups  for  survivors  of  sexual  assault  and  I  am  also  a  survivor who  kept  her  story  to  herself  for  over  a  year  after  it  happened  for  many  of  the  same  reasons you  did.  You  should  have  never  been  made  to  feel  as  if  what  happened  to  you  was  your  fault,  or that  it  wasnt  rape.  I  am  so  sorry  for  what  you  have  gone  through  -­  and  I  hope  you  know  how strong  you  are  to  be  sharing  your  story  with  the  broader  public.  It  is  through  these  stories  that we  can  encourage  the  proper  response  to  sexual  assault  and  rape.  Thank  you  so  much. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  14:01 You  are  so  courageous  for You  are  so  courageous  for  speaking  out  when  so  many  of  us  could  not. Permalink replyT  (not  verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  14:19 In  Solidarity Dear  Angie, I  have  never  met  you,  but  I  hear  you  and  your  words  are  bringing  me  to  tears.  Like  the  other commenters,  I  want  to  thank  you  for  writing  this,  but  I  also  want  to  acknowledge  that  you  were (and  are)  totally  not  obligated  to  go  out  of  your  way  to  explain  your  situation.  No  survivor should  have  to  justify  an  account  of  rape  in  this  way,  to  so  many  people  whove  refused  to believe  you  right  off  the  bat.  I  am  incredibly  sorry.  Thank  you  for  sharing  the  info  youve decided  to  make  public.  Thank  you  for  speaking  out.  I  am  sending  you  strength,  compassion, and  my  best  wishes. The  way  Amherst  handled  your  case  is  unconscionable  (yet  this  same  scenario  plays  out  exactly the  same  way  at  so  many  college  and  universities).  This  incident  should  become  part  of  your rapists  permanent  record.  It  should  follow  him  to  every  grad  school  application,  every  job interview,  etc.-­-­the  way  that  its  mentally/emotionally  following  you. I  hope  that  your  life  and  recovery  are  going  as  well  as  possible.  In  solidarity... Permalink reply Kalie  (not  verified) says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  14:21 Thank  you  for  sharing  your  story Im  sorry  you  had  to  experience  this,  as  well  as  the  many  women  who  face  sexual  assault  and harassment  at  their  Universities.  Hopefully  your  story  will  inspire  your  Uni  to  take  action rather  than  leave  its  women  in  the  dark. Permalink reply Katherine  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  14:24 More  than  one  of  my  friends More  than  one  of  my  friends  was  raped/sexually  assaulted  at  Amherst,  and  our  time  as students  overlapped  with  the  T.  Patterson  rape  trial,  something  none  of  us  who  were  there then  will  ever  forget.  I  would  have  hoped  in  the  years  following,  the  college  would  have  become more  sensitive  to  this  issue,  but  it  seems  it  was  simply  a  part  of  a  culture  where  the administration  has  become  more  committed  to  preventing  another  embarrassment  than  to protecting  female  students.  Your  bravery  in  telling  your  story  is  deeply  valued  and  respected, and  I  hope  that  with  time  you  will  find  peace  and  a  resolution  that  satisfies  you. Permalink reply ERW  (not  verified) says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  14:44 THIS  IS  A  REALITY  CHECK We  should  appreciate  Angies  story,  not  only  for  her  immense  courage  in  telling  it,  but  for  the brutal  truth  it  reveals...1  in  4  women  will  be  sexually  assaulted  by  the  time  they  graduate college.  I  was  fortunate  enough  to  not  be  one  of  those  women,  but  I  had  friends  who  were.  The response  by  the  staff  and  administration  of  Amherst  to  Angies  ordeal  is  an  all  too  familiar occurence  across  college  campuses.  Private  institutions  in  particular  have  an  interest  in pushing  rape  and  sexual  assault  under  the  rug...after  all,  who  wants  to  send  their  daughter  to "Rape  University?"  The  fact  that  higher  education  establishments  care  more  about  image  and funding  than  acknowledging  the  increasing  frequency  of  sexual  violence  on  campuses  is absolutely  despicable.  And  we  can  do  nothing  about  it  as  long  as  we  continue  to  accept  this behavior. As  women  (or  men  who  care  about  women  and  other  victims  of  sexual  violence),  we  have  to assume  responsibility  for  ourselves  and  our  options  in  dealing  with  such  a  harrowing  ordeal.  I am  not  saying  that  all  rape  victims  should  or  should  not  try  to  press  criminal  charges,  and  I  am
  11. 11. not  claiming  that  everyone  is  against  the  victim.  What  I  am  advocating  is  that  EVERY  VICTIM, whether  female  or  male,  gay  or  straight,  black  or  white,  know  that  they  have  OPTIONS AVAILABLE  TO  THEM.  Whether  this  involves  legal  action  or  not,  every  victim  is  entitled  to justice  and  the  right  to  reclaim  her  identity  and  sense  of  security.  I  am  a  law  student,  and  I plan  on  using  my  J.D.  to  represent  sex  crime  victims  in  civil  court,  to  help  them  seek  damages against  their  attackers.  I  feel  this  is  the  best  way  I  can  serve  these  people,  because  pressing charges  is  not  always  the  best  option.  By  working  as  a  civil  attorney  as  opposed  to  a  prosecutor, I  am  not  bound  by  the  policies  and  agendas  of  state  government  and  can  be  flexible  in deciding  how  best  to  serve  each  individual  client. Everyone  should  know  that  it  was  WRONG  for  Amhersts  counseling  services  and  other administration  to  try  and  tell  Angie  or  any  other  victim  what  she  should  or  should  not  do,  and be  anything  other  than  objective  and  supportive.  Implying  that  a  victim  should  question whether  or  not  she  is  to  blame  for  what  happened  to  her  is  DESPICABLE  and UNACCEPTABLE.  Just  because  a  victim  may  not  have  a  strong  case  in  criminal  court  does  not mean  she  cannot  or  should  not  press  charges.  If  doing  so  will  help  her  heal,  if  by  accusing  her attacker  in  open  court  she  can  reattain  some  of  the  security  she  lost  that  fateful  moment,  then she  should  have  the  option.  But  she  should  also  not  be  pressured  into  pressing  charges  by  law enforcement  or  other  parties  if  she  truly  does  not  want  to  do  so. Everyone  heals  differently.  Everyone  has  a  different  sense  of  justice.  And  when  something  as personal  as  rape  or  sexual  assault  happens  to  you,  you  and  YOU  ALONE  have  the  personal choice  to  choose  the  course  of  action  that  is  in  YOUR  best  interest.  Victims  out  there  who  feel lost,  abandoned,  or  shafted  by  the  legal  and  criminal  justice  systems,  KNOW  YOUR  RIGHTS. You  have  the  right  to  know  what  options  are  available  to  you.  There  are  free  counseling  and legal  services  available  to  sexual  assault  victims  that  are  unaffiliated  with  your  educational institution  or  local  law  enforcement.  Utilize  them..if  that  is  what  you  want  or  need  to  do.  There are  people  out  there  who  care,  who  can  help  you  get  your  life  back.  And  those  who  care  WILL NOT  JUDGE  YOU  for  any  decision  you  make...they  will  only  support  you. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  14:58 You  should  tell  everyone  who  the  guy  is Why  should  you  let  the  guy  walk  out  of  this  one  free?  If  you  already  decided  not  to  take  legal action  against  him,  at  least  subject  him  to  public  humiliation.  In  the  remaining  part  of  the article,  why  dont  you  reveal  his  identity?  Amherst  is  a  very  small  community  and  people  keep in  touch  after  graduating  so  even  if  he  is  an  alum  now  the  bad  reputation  will  follow  him.  Also, other  girls  who  interact  with  him  deserve  know  what  hes  capable  of  and  its  possible  that many  of  them  are  actually  Amherst  alums  too.  Seriously,  tell  us  his  name. Permalink replyc  (not  verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  18:28 prob  because If  she  named  him,  he  might  be  able  to  sue  her  for  libel?  And  that  would  suck  -­  shes  gone through  enough  already. Permalink replyGregory  (not  verified) says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  15:05 RE:  Haiku The  crippled  winged  dove, lame  to  some,  but  I  see  it glide  with  the  fair  wind. Thank  you Permalink reply Vancouver,  BC  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  15:25 Word  is  getting  around Just  wanted  to  let  you  know  that  your  story  is  getting  around.  Its  because  of  people  like  you that  rape  victims  can  start  to  see  that  it  wasnt  their  fault  and  action  should  be  taken.  Its showing  people  around  the  world  that  rape  is  a  very  seriously  traumatic  experience  that  stays behind  closed  doors.  I  just  want  to  thank  you  for  opening  those  doors. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  15:28 I  am  ashamed  of  Amherst  College I  have  lost  an  incredible  amount  of  respect  for  my  alma  mater  after  reading  this,  and  even more  so  after  reading  the  subsequent  reactions  of  others  who  were  also  encouraged  not  to press  charges  (!)  and  encouraged  to  keep  their  experiences  a  secret.  Angie,  I  am  terribly  sorry, and  am  extremely  embarrassed  on  behalf  of  my  college. This  is  not  acceptable,  Amherst. Permalink reply
  12. 12. Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  18:47 Also  ashamed. After  all  those  damned  talks  about  how  "consent  is  sexy"  and  "no  means  no"  and  how  the "sexual  respect  counselors  are  always  there  for  you"  during  orientation,  your  story  just  makes me  sick.  I  am  sorry  that  you  had  to  go  through  not  just  a  physical  violation  that  no  one  should ever  have  to  go  through,  but  also  and  prolonged  psychological  because  of  the  school.  It  is despicable  that  they  should  try  to  cover  this  up  and  prevent  you  from  getting  the  space  for healing  you  clearly  needed  and  deserved.  I  am  just  horrified.  Thank  you  for  sharing  this  story with  me  and  everyone  else;;  it  is  incredibly  brave  of  you,  will  certainly  help  others,  and  I  hope it  will  help  you  heal.  Your  roommate  would  be  proud. Thanks  again. Permalink replyyasmina  (not  verified) says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  15:49 Angie,  youre  so  incredibly Angie,  youre  so  incredibly  brave.  Thank  you  so  much  for  sharing  your  story. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  15:50 While  it  (unfortunately)  is While  it  (unfortunately)  is  not  news  to  me  that  this  happens  at  Amherst,  I  am  deeply saddened  and  troubled  to  read  this  account.  Thank  you  very  much  for  your  story  and  let  us hope  this  is  an  inspiration  to  all  Amherst  students,  faculty,  and  alums  to  demand  a  change. Permalink reply Fellow  NESCACer (not  verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  15:57 Solidarity  from  a  Wesleyan  Student Please  know  that  you  have  an  ally  in  Wesleyan  students.  Our  administration  has  historically and  quite  recently  handled  rape  in  a  very  similar,  reprehensible  way.  There  is  currently  a lawsuit  going  on  between  a  former  Wesleyan  student  (she  transferred)  and  the administration-­-­Jane  Doe  is  suing  the  University  for  mishandling  the  response  (basically,  lack of)  to  her  sexual  assault.  Momentum  is  building.  There  are  people  across  the  liberal  arts  that SUPPORT  YOU  and  EVERYTHING  you  stand  for.  Solidarity. Permalink reply current  student  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  16:02 Thank  you. Angie,  I  never  knew  you,  but  you  are  so  incredible.  Sharing  your  story  is  so  brave  and  I  am disgusted  by  the  way  that  you  were  treated  at  this  institution.  I  hope  that  you  find  joy wherever  you  go  next.  Thank  you.  There  are  people  standing  with  you. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  16:10 Are  you  all  serious? Why  are  we  trusting  everything  Angie  writes,  specifically  about  Amherst  Colleges administration?  I  think  everyone  should  seek  a  little  background  information  before  gobbling up  every  word  written. Permalink reply MO  (not  verified) says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  16:29 What  would  she  gain  if  she What  would  she  gain  if  she  lied? Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  17:29 Re:  What  would  she  gain  if  she  lied? I  dont  know  her  intentions.  Im  just  an  analytical  reader  and  am  reading  this  with  a  bit  of skepticism. Do  you  really  think  the  "dean"  told  her  that  she  couldnt  study  in  Cape  Town  because  itd  be  too traumatizing? The  college  clearly  tried  to  help,  but  in  the  end  it  is  true  in  some  rape  cases,  ambiguity  of  the story  kills  the  case. On  the  other  hand,  I  know  of  people  whove  been  accused  of  rape  on  this  campus  and  have
  13. 13. been  blackmailed  by  the  accuser  to  either  go  to  real  court  or  quit  the  school  and  never  come back. The  topic  of  rape  is  very  complicated  obviously,  but  I  think  its  important  to  note  the  majority of  rapes  on  this  campus  happen  when  both  subjects  are  heavily  intoxicated.  Perhaps  we  should be  talking  about  alcohol  abuse  rather  than  rape. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  16:33 are  you  serious? are  you  serious? Permalink replyJessica  (not  verified) says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  16:44 Are  you  all  serious? As  illustrated  by  the  string  of  comments  below,  maybe  because  it  appears  that  this  institution does  not  take  sexual  assaults  seriously.  Please  present  whatever  "background"  information  you are  referring  to. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  17:01 You  sound  pretty  defensive. You  sound  pretty  defensive.  Perhaps  you  work  in  administration?  From  the  other  comments,  it certainly  seems  like  Angie  isnt  alone  in  her  experience.  Nor  is  she  vindictively  naming  names. The  only  result  that  could  come  of  this  article  is  that  the  Amherst  administration  might  take  a look  at  how  its  policies  can  harm  both  survivors  and  its  own  public  image.  And  I  think  thats  a very  positive  thing. Permalink reply Rory  (not  verified) says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  17:09 google Well,  a  quick  google  search  led  me  to  several  articles  from  2005,  2006,  2007  and  so  on...  maybe you  should  have  done  some  research  before  posting  this  comment. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  17:25 Nice  try,  Amherst  College Nice  try,  Amherst  College  Administration. (1)  I  know  her.  (2)  I  know  many  other  individuals  who  have  gone  through  the  same unfortunate  situation.  (3)  She  has  nothing  to  gain  by  lying. So  I  suggest  you  back  off. Permalink reply Jordan  Moors  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  19:12 Maybe  she  isnt  who  knows? Maybe  she  isnt  who  knows?  The  thing  i  dont  understand  is  why  its  happen  too  more  then one  person.  There  seem  to  be  many  storys  that  sound  similar  to  hers  if  you  read  more comments.  The  fact  that  you  have  no  idea  if  it  did  or  didnt  happen,  you  should  probably  keep that  too  yourself  just  saying. Permalink reply D.M.  (not  verified) says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  19:43 Maybe  because  her  name  is Maybe  because  her  name  is  attached  to  this?  She  isnt  accusing  her  rapist.  She  isnt  trying  to get  revenge.  Her  motives  and  intentions  behind  writing  this  article  are  to  inspire  current Amherst  College  students  and  members  of  the  administration  to  change. Your  attitude  is  just  like  that  of  the  administration.  It  seems  that  youre  inclined  not  to  believe someone  who  is  seeking  help  and  fighting  for  an  unpopular  cause.  It  seems  that  youre  inclined not  to  believe  the  unbelievable.  Guess  what?  Rape  is  unbelievable.  The  fact  that  another human  being  could  do  something  so  horrible  is  unbelievable,  but  it  happens. You  want  background  information?  How  about  we  ask  Angie  and  every  other  survivor  to  put  a camera  on  them  while  they  sleep,  so  we  can  see  how  many  times  they  wake  up  during  night because  of  nightmares?  How  about  we  ask  them  to  wear  heart  monitors  so  we  can  measure their  palpitations?  How  about  we  have  psychologists  follow  them  around  to  confirm  that  every flashback  is  indeed  a  flashback,  and  not  just  a  performance?  Would  that  meet  your
  14. 14. requirements? I  hope  you  know  that  you  and  your  comment  represent  everything  wrong  with  the  way  the society,  but  more  specifically,  members  of  the  administration  represented  in  this  article treated  Angies  case. Permalink replyJennifer  (not  verified) says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  16:11 You  said  what  Ill  never  be  able  to Thank  you  for  saying  something  Ill  never  be  able  to  say  myself. Permalink replyAishani  (not  verified) says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  16:16 Courage You  are  incredibly  brave  to  tell  this  story;;  to  tell  it  when  you  are  younger  than  later.  To  be  able to  shed  any  regret,  shame  or  frustration  that  you  feel  -­  none  of  which  you  deserve.  I  hope  the perpetrator  is  brought  to  justice  and  that  it  does  not  take  any  more  out  of  you  than  it  already has.  I  am  sorry  that  you  did  not  receive  the  support  that  you  needed,  in  spite  of  reaching  out for  it.  Above  all,  I  hope  that  your  life  from  this  day  forward  knows  only  strength  and  wonder and  many,  many  happy  memories  -­  and  that  you  are  one  day  able  to  go  to  Africa  and  Cape Town  and  several  other  faraway  places  to  explore  your  passions. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  16:21 I,  too,  frequently  feel I,  too,  frequently  feel  ashamed  of  Amherst  College  because  of  how  it  handles  sexual  assault  and other  matters.  However,  we  should  take  pride  in  the  some  of  the  people  we  have  met  at Amherst,  the  amazing  women  and  men,  like  Angie,  whose  courage,  compassion,  and  support are  inspiring. Permalink replyCharlie  (not  verified) says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  16:24 Thank  you. Just,  thank  you.  This  is  one  of  the  bravest  things  Ive  ever  seen. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  16:25 Thank  you You  are  an  incredible  person  with  an  inspiring  story  and  I  am  deeply  grateful  for  your  bravery in  sharing  this.  I  wish  you  the  best  in  wherever  you  choose  to  take  your  life.  You  deserve  it. Permalink reply Alum  (not  verified) says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  16:46 It  is  time  for  change  in  the It  is  time  for  change  in  the  Amherst  College  administration.  I  am  disappointed  and  saddened by  my  alma  mater. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  17:00 Solidarity  from  a  Swarthmore  Student. Solidarity  and  love.  Good  luck  in  your  future  endeavors. Permalink reply Swat  Alum  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  17:03 Thank  you. You  are  so  incredibly  brave,  to  share  your  experiences  and  pain  and  healing  with  us. Im  an  alum  from  Swarthmore  College,  and  it  was  really  frightening  to  read  your  story  and literally  be  able  to  match  both  my  own  and  my  friends  experiences  with  the  college  re:  being assaulted  and/or  abused  100%. I  appreciate  you  debunking  the  myth  that  a  progressive  institution  and  its  students  are somehow  better  than  everywhere  else.
  15. 15. Permalink reply Brian  (not  verified) says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  17:06 A  lasting  impact Angie,  even  though  you  will  not  graduate  from  Amherst,  you  have  made  it  a  better  place  with your  words  and  you  have  started  a  conversation  that  will  have  a  lasting  impact  that  will  prevent this  from  occurring  again.  Any  thoughts  of  shame  or  guilt  should  be  replaced  by  pride-­-­youve truly  done  more  for  this  College  than  any  donation  could  do.  Im  proud  to  know  such  a courageous  woman. Permalink reply College  Student  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  17:12 Thank  You Thank  you,  Angie,  for  having  the  courage  to  give  a  voice  to  those  who  often  feel  they  are  left without  their  own.  You  are  incredibly  brave  and  strong. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  17:14 Thank  you  so  much  for  sharing Thank  you  so  much  for  sharing  this,  Angie.  You  are  so  brave.  I  hope  this  is  a  huge  wakeup  call to  the  Amherst  administration. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  17:17 A  bit  exaggerated,  but  a A  bit  exaggerated,  but  a  touching  story  nonetheless. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  17:44 Thats  exactly  what  Amherst Thats  exactly  what  Amherst  told  her... Permalink reply Harvard14  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  17:23 thank  you  so  much this  just  got  sent  out  over  an  email  list  at  harvard,  and  i  would  like  to  echo  everyone  by thanking  you  for  speaking  up.  im  so  sorry  you  had  to  go  through  that,  but  you  are  truly  an inspiration  to  everyone. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  17:31 Dear  Angie,  thank  you  for  not Dear  Angie,  thank  you  for  not  keeping  yourself  silent.  Sharing  your  story  will  pressure  Amherst take  actions  against  these  crimes.  I  cant  believe  the  school  never  realized  that  they  were covering  up  for  guys  who  did  just  that:  brake  the  law  in  the  most  despicable  way. Unfortunately,  Amherst,  like  many  other  elite  schools,  still  is  a  place  where  these  type  of  crimes simply  do  not  matter  because  the  victims  are  women...  The  administration  believe  Amherst  is forward  thinking  school  but  their  actions  only  prove  the  contrary.  Legal  actions  could  be  taken by  you  and  other  survivors  against  the  school  for  not  taking  responsibility  for  what  has  been going  on  for  a  long  time. Permalink reply Anonymous  (not verified)  says:Wed,  10/17/2012  -­  17:33 Amazed  by  your  courage You  are  a  survivor. Permalink reply
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