Posts tagged ‘News’

Letter to My Rapist (Part I)

In the aftermath of Brock Turner’s heinous crimes and Judge Aaron Persky’s revictimization of Emily Doe, a Yale alumna is inspired to communicate with her rapist.

Continue Reading June 9, 2016 at 11:30 pm 1 comment

Light and Truth: Exhibit C

Tom and Daisy

March 9, 2015 at 5:59 pm Leave a comment

Taking Back the Night: A Feminist’s Response to Yale’s DKE Incident

No means yes! Yes means anal!”  chanted the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity pledge class while marching across the Yale campus last week. This egregiously offensive and threatening speech must be punished, and we need to open up a dialogue about the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses in general and by fraternity members in particular.  While I commend Dean Mary Miller and President Richard Levin for making a public statement condemning DKE’s actions, this should just be a first step in a longterm, comprehensive plan for creating a safer social environment in colleges and universities across the country.

Unfortunately, the DKE incident does not surprise me, and I can no longer remain silent about my experience.  In an ongoing attempt to reclaim my agency (which was, to borrow the words of Billy Joel, “something I’d never lose, something somebody stole”), I share my story and take back the night that fundamentally and almost catastrophically changed my life.

The president of a Yale fraternity raped me when I was an undergraduate.  I didn’t tell anyone about it for over a year because I was in denial about what had happened.  Like so many victims of sexual abuse, I blamed myself.  Shortly after the incident, I became bulimic and extremely self-destructive.  I cried myself to sleep almost every night—and, although I was never suicidal, I had a sincere death wish. Seven years later, I have overcome most of the shame and hurt associated with such a devastating loss of agency, but I continue to suffer.  Writing has really facilitated my ongoing quest to reclaim my autonomy and self-confidence. Below is a post I previously wrote about the incident.  I changed names and immaterial details to preserve anonymity:

I strode along the curb of Prospect Street toward Alpha Nu as he ambled—slightly drunkenly—on my right.  I met Tex, a Bulldog linebacker and president of Alpha Nu, at Josh’s track party that night.  The cross-country team had already had its first race of the season the day before, and I still felt a bit high from performing well.  It was the beginning of September, and fall always seemed to arrive early in New Haven.  The temperature must have dropped 20 degrees since the track party had come and gone, and I started to wish I had worn a jacket.

A black Escalade zoomed by, nearly splashing me with a wave of cold, grimy water.

Tex tugged me away from the road.  “Whoa! Let’s switch places. I’m more than twice your size.  No one’s gonna hurt me, and no one’s gonna hurt you while you’re with me.”  He ran his fingers through his dishwater blond hair, sweaty from dancing, and winked.  We held each other’s clammy hands. “That’s kinda sweet,” I thought.

“You’re big and strong and all, but that doesn’t make you invincible.”  I dropped his hand and softly punched his shoulder.  (This was my attempt at coyness.)  I had a weakness for “teddy bear” guys because they seemed so manly and so eager to protect, but I figured it was too early to let on that I might actually be into him.  I hoped to continue the interesting conversation we had begun at Josh’s apartment, and maybe we would kiss and caress for awhile. I hadn’t had many sexual partners, and I just wanted to date people and to generally take things slowly.

“Well, I promise you’re safe with me.  Besides, we’re almost there.  I apologize in advance for the mess.  I didn’t know I’d be meeting such a lovely lady tonight.” Tex put his arm gently around my waist, pulling me closer to him.

But Tex didn’t keep his promise—and, although he apologized for the bite marks in an email the next day, he never said he was sorry for all that transpired later that night.

I wish I could truly take back that September night, but I will never forget what happened.  When I talked about it with some close girlfriends, two of them admitted they had also been raped at Yale.  Both friends chose not to report the events because they didn’t think anyone would believe them.

In light of this, I don’t think hate speech like DKE’s chant should be protected by the First Amendment.  When one form of expression is so abhorrent and so offensive that it chills the expression and threatens the emotional well-being of others, the government should be able to impose liability.  Not only did some of DKE’s members deeply offend many students, but they also voiced support for a culture of sexual violence.  The young men who chanted and/or incited such hateful speech should, at the very least, be suspended.  They have assaulted the vibrant, tolerant marketplace of ideas that should thrive at all institutions of higher education. Through hate speech, these men supported heinous mentality and behavior, casting a pall over the Yale campus and beyond.

I am symbolically taking back the night that had taken so much from me.  Although I’ll never forget what happened, its effects continue to fade into a seemingly distant past.  I hope we all take a moment to consider the individual and societal ramifications of sexual abuse and hate speech and how we can learn from this recent assault on intellectual freedom, social progress, and humanity.

October 21, 2010 at 11:31 pm 3 comments

Ding! Dong! The Witch Has Fled: Sarah Palin Throws in the Towel

I smell a real scandal a-brewin’. Sarah Palin announced her resignation from the Alaskan governorship yesterday from her Wasilla home, but her reasons for leaving office with only 18 months to go made little sense. Perhaps that voodoo doll I made during the presidential election finally did its job! She’s loading her ever-burgeoning family onto her broomstick and getting the fuck out of dodge.

Many are speculating that Palin’s presidential aspirations have inspired this decision, but she would have plenty of time to campaign for the 2012 election if she saw her position through. Also, no one likes a quitter. She might as well have resigned from politics altogether.

Palin stated that accepting “lame duck status” is “not what is best for Alaska.” I would argue, however, that there’s a real appeal to a political leader who doesn’t seek re-election. Instead of being motivated by future votes, one could make decisions based completely on public interest. Not pursuing a second term is never a legitimate or sufficient excuse for ending the first term prematurely.

It’s also important to remember that in the Alaskan primaries, the lieutenant governor runs on a separate ticket from the governor. U.S. presidential candidates, if nominated by their respective parties, get to choose their running mates; governors don’t. Although both are members of the Republican Party, Lieutenant Governor Parnell and Governor Palin could represent very different constituencies.

My conclusion is that Sarah Palin (aka Satan with a Snatch) has an ulterior motive. Possible explanations?

  • Palin slept with former-potential-son-in-law, Levi, and is carrying his child, so she has two choices: She can have a clandestine abortion or become the mother of her grandchild’s uncle (think about it).
  • Todd slept with Levi and got caught.
  • Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh had a threesome and got caught.
  • Sarah Palin had a threesome with John and Cindy McCain and got caught.
  • Somebody recorded Palin making racial and homophobic slurs while drunk and high.
  • Palin embezzled money to fuel her crack addiction.
  • Inspired by Tina Fey’s savvy impersonations, Palin plans to pursue an acting career.
  • Palin misses her flying monkeys and Alaska-sized cauldron, so she must return to Oz post-haste.

July 4, 2009 at 10:49 am 4 comments

“Fair and Balanced” Fox News Poses Yet Another Slanted Question

The Fox News Blog solicited responses from the opining public in the following manner:

YOU DECIDE: Specter Switches Parties — Do You      Approve or Disapprove?

Arlen Specter, who has been sent to the Senate five times by Pennsylvania Republicans, announced today that he is switching parties. He will run for reelection to his current post as a Democrat in 2010. The move puts Democrats within one vote of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

The devil, of course, is in the details. Notice how the Fox Forum gives entire credit for Specter’s recurring seat in the Senate to Pennsylvania Republicans. While it’s not entirely incorrect to say the PA Republicans sent Specter to the Senate, it would be much more accurate (read: unbiased) to attribute his election to the Pennsylvanian voters. Leave it to Fox to cloak a question in partisanship. Ironically, they’re the ones whining about the media’s ostensible “liberal bias.”

Nearly 6,000 responses have been posted as of 2:00 pm PST, and (understandably) most are heated.  While a majority of the self-selected commenters are flagrantly conservative, a sizable group of liberals have weighed in. You might wonder why members of the latter group would even bother reading Fox News, but the liberal readership likely finds the blatantly skewed news entertaining in its caustic and unapologetic manner. I certainly do: The conservative media never ceases to amaze and amuse me!

April 29, 2009 at 9:17 pm 1 comment


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