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View Diary: Today's NYT: Downplaying A Rape At Harvard (342 comments)

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  •  This incident sounds so freakin' familiar (16+ / 0-)

    to something that happened when I was in college, a small, close-knit, exclusive private college.

    My freshman year, I had a male/friend accquaintance from the department of one of my majors, who was talented and charming in a self-deprecating way, but not great looking and very insecure. There were signs of impatience and a short temper.  He tended to zero in on/pay alot of "male" attention to women who were a bit insecure as well - for instance, me.  We went to dinner one night.  Nothing happened, and I didn't take a shine to him "that way."  But we remained friendly when it came to school.  

    By our senior year, I had gravitated toward my majors, social and feminist activism, and he had become pretty firmly ensconsed in one of the fraternitys of the rich jocks - probably 90% of the guys who would eventually grow up to be Republicans.  We were still friendly - I've always been someone who didn't really join cliques and got along with everyone. (inspite of rock bottom self esteem and insecurity - don't ask me how. Early "nice girl" brainwashing, I suppose.  I still have it.)

    Toward the middle of the year, I learned from some feminist friends that a best friend of one of them  had claimed to have been date raped by him.  She'd gone to the dean, who had "talked to him," but nothing was being done.  He claimed it was consensual and he had no idea why she was doing this.Her friends and parents were wanting her to press formal charges but she was emotionally wrecked - the problem was, they had dated for a short time.  She didn't feel anyone would believe her.  Turns out she was an insecure girl w/out much boyfriend action. Hello, familiar?

    The group of feminists that I was involved with were planning some sort of "revenge."  They wanted to put signs all over his door saying "A RAPIST LIVES HERE," put flyers in his mailbox, send notes to his teachers, you know, mature stuff like that.  I didn't want to participate in it.  However, since I had been friends with this guy, I agreed to tell them which room in his dorm was his.

    I had a lot of mixed feelings about that.  Because the jock/repubs from his frat knew I was friendly with both sides of the ensuing fracas, I got an earful from them.  I even got a few personal threats if it was found out that I had been involved.  To be honest, I was scared to death.  I lay awake many nights wondering why I had allowed myself to get involved in this vigilante justice that was so against my own values.

    Here's why I did it - two years before, he'd almost done the same thing to me.

    Sophomore year, there was one frat that had a yearly "Everclear" party.  I've never been able to handle hard alcohol, but I ended up with a big old plastic bucket of the stuff, disguised in sickly sweet coolaid.  I went into a "brown-out" or "gray out" - where I could see myself and hear what I was saying, but had no control over it.  A friend of mine, Eric, immediately saw I was in trouble and offered to get me back to my dorm.  I took him up on the offer.  

    Here's where the stories converge: walking back from the party, we were followed by my anonymous friend.  Also drunk but in control.  He joined us walking back. Eric got me to my front door, and stood by me as I managed to work the key to get in.  Just then, my "friend" started to force his way in the door behind me.  I was aware but not aware of what was happening. Behind me, Eric grabbed him and blocked the door.  They had a little scuffle.  I went up to my room and passed out.  Incident forgotten - until I learned of the girl.

    This alleged rapist eventually got so harassed by the feminist avengers that he went to the dean and agreed to graduate early so he wouldn't have to come back for the second semester.  At the time, I had some guilt feelings about it.  Today, I don't.  He was a wealthy, child of privelege (as were his friends who threatened me) and what happened to him was a fraction of the consequences he would have suffered had his victim not been so frightened and ashamed.

    And it absolutely could have been me.

    I believe there's something out there watching over us. Unfortunately, it's the government. -Woody Allen

    by hopesprings on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 03:15:19 PM PST

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