University Rape Culture

Link to the Guardian: "End the Rape Culture at University"
Link to the Guardian: “End the Rape Culture at University”

“When someone attempted to rape me my freshman year, I asked my college, Yale University, for help, but instead I was basically advised to keep quiet. I shouldn’t formally report the assault, I was told. Despite my clear and repeated ‘no’, school administrators cast the whole event as a misunderstanding among friends.

In short, I was told to be a good girl. And for four years, I listened.

Women everywhere are used to being told to accommodate those who wrong us. With family, friends, bosses, and partners, we must always be understanding and flexible, ready to dig deep into our well of second chances and generosity. We must never complain or make trouble.

Our devotion to this image of the good girl particularly infects our responses to survivors of sexual violence. As the media coverage of the Steubenville trial showed, those who seek justice are blamed for overreacting and ‘ruining the lives’ of their rapists. Because of our insistence on the femininity of victims, even male and genderqueer survivors are held to the good girl standard.

We can deconstruct this pressure to stay quiet, but it is very real and very powerful, and it benefits universities looking to avoid scandalous headlines for the sake of reputation, application rates, and alumni donations. I know too well how effective such silencing can be. Even after I had joined 15 classmates to file a Title IX complaint against my school, I stayed largely silent about my personal motivation. When I published an op-ed in my school paper about my experience, I did so anonymously, afraid to anger my assailant.” – Alexandra Brodsky

Link to "The Blatant Sexual Harassment Scarring Our University Students"
Link to “The Blatant Sexual Harassment Scarring Our University Students”
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3 thoughts on “University Rape Culture

  1. Dearest Alexandra,
    Keep writing. Keep sharing your story. Keep belting, shouting, screaming, roaring, yelling, howling, shrieking, and telling the truth.

    “Telling” has always been garbled and misconstrued into a “bad” word.

    I was fourteen-years old when I finally “told” on my uncles. “I’m sorry!” were the first words that came scrambling out to my mother. Maybe had I said it at turbo speed, she wouldn’t have heard me. Maybe had the words escaped quickly enough, none of this would have actually been a reality I had to wake and reawaken to whenever I breathed.

    Telling the truth felt like some medieval torture chamber crushing what was left of my soul. Threshing-floor scraps.

    I just remember a panicky and penitent bleat, apologizing for something that wasn’t my remotely fault. How nonsensical, illogical, and yes, even pitiful is my “confession” in retrospect. But it didn’t seem unreasonable then. Not to a southern kid raised in a time when children were taught to be quiet. Seen and not heard. Talking was for “grown folks.”

    After my “confession,” I was divorced by half my family.

    Branded A Liar.

    Because that’s what every 14-year old girl wants to be in her own family. It wasn’t the reputation I had anticipated carrying into my freshman year of high school. A backpack was heavy enough. The Scarlett Lettering stitched across it had made the weight unbearable. Most students were agonizing over prom dress selections or whether soybean burgers had made the cafeteria lunch menu. Yummy.

    Twenty plus years later of not being “a good girl,” I’m alive and of sound mind, as a result of my mother’s prayers. She prayed to a Jesus I wanted zero to do with for most of my life. Until the day I realized I hadn’t merely descended into a desolate abyss. I had become the desolate abyss. Completely deprived. And if someone dared to suggest another therapist or magic pill, to “fix me”, I was only far too eager to offer my own suggestions to rebuff their well meaning counsel. But I found a remedy. Or I should say the remedy found me. Mama’s Jesus. Now my Jesus.

    Extraordinary success…surviving. But I’ve slowly emerged into something far better. Living.

    “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
    ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    C. Marie…xo

  2. Reblogged this on Overcoming the Unforgivable and commented:
    This applies in the workplace as well. My rapist got away with the crime because I was afraid of being bullied by my peers. I told my boss because it was beginning to affect my work and it seems like I’m the black sheep on the team because she is friends with some of the people that were there and made me sound like I’m just a whore to protect one of their own.

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