Open Letter: Final Score on College Rape
Four years ago I was sexually assaulted at Carnegie Mellon by one of its employees. CMU pretended to follow proper procedure, but unknown to me did everything they could to shut me down, expel me, and cover it up. Several students harassed me over it and tried to get me expelled; CMU ignored that and my complaints against them. All of those people kept their jobs. All of them were allowed to graduate despite confessing in their own words to CMU officials that they’d deliberately planned it all. I know that I was not their only victim, and I know others reported them and were similarly dismissed. I was forced to publicize all of this in order to get CMU to stop trying to expel me. I spent the three years after that being forced through a class—without the accommodations that are my right—which worsened my PTSD to the point that I’m now completely disabled by it. Not to mention that the school deliberately made my situation worse and continued doing nothing against the people who kept harassing me. I now can’t work, the PTSD can’t be cured, and my current living situation will never improve.
That is the true face of a “top ten college”. Every one of the people involved were praised for being completely supportive of us victims and tough on rapists. Every one of them sung a different tune once the abusers were someone they knew. None of their sanctimonious rhetoric, still faithfully parroted today, held true once they had to act.
I tried to get help. Just as everyone here did, nobody whose job it was to stop this behavior cared to intervene: OCR literally told me that nothing bad had happened, that nobody had done wrong. They blatantly violated their own stated policies to cover it up. They said I should have contacted them earlier, during the retaliation–and apparently hoped they would have eventually gotten around to me and ruled in my favor, despite the negative they’d fed me. People have done just that–and are still waiting after two years, unable to transfer schools and unable to graduate.
I’ve detailed all of this before. Click the links for the documentation. See it straight from their own mouths.
I have no way to recover what I’ve lost because of these people. They know what they’ve done, they’ve laughed as they did it. They—the rapists, the harassers, the college staff who helped them stay—are doing it to more people right now because nobody holds them accountable. They know they can get away with it. They already have—many times over.
They will stop only if they are made to.
I’m not. the. only. one. who’s suffered like this. I know tens of victims just from my own school; I know of just as many serial rapists from my own school—and I was no social butterfly. Imagine how many were actually there. Imagine the scale of this across the nation.
But you don’t have to imagine.
The damage done to me:
10K for medical bills—in only what I’ve paid out of pocket,
and not counting anything from 2015.
~8K for my service dog
30.75K for extra housing for three years
~240K for tuition that lied when they promised my safety
= 290K, as a conservative minimum estimate on the bare concrete costs of this malice
plus the cost of a new wardrobe due to the physical effects of the trauma
I also need redress for:
- All future medical, service dog, and accessibility costs
- Current and future health insurance
- Lost life income due to crippling
- Suffering of abuse from others based on CMU’s “version of facts”
- Risk of future damages and discrimination because of disabled status
- Various social therapies not covered by insurance
- Inability to form close relationships due to crippling
- Severe social isolation and psychological damage due to crippling
- Lifelong accommodations because of crippling
- Lost connections and damaged professional reputation
- Incurable pain and suffering
- Severely diminished life activities and fulfillment
- Enabling my abusers, who have continued CMU’s mission to torture me into suicide
Let me just magic that up. Ha. Just as destroying a life can’t be captured in a list, any amends offered can only barely recompense the damage done. There is no cure. Nothing material can replace the psychological loss. Tried, can’t, impossible. Humans are not computers to be easily rewritten and adapted to functioning with a shorting CPU, especially without support.
People have committed suicide rather than continue living in the world that allows this to happen. The fact that that is an option ought to tell you how horrible the world is for rape victims, and how inadequately supported we are—most of what little support I’ve gotten was due to my parents’ excellent financial situation, so the astronomical costs of being a victim and getting some treatment were reachable rather than ruinous (I hope; I’m not privy to their finances). Most victims aren’t so lucky in that respect. But most of us do face the same rejection, blame, and hostility from family and friends that I have.
Parental support has since shriveled, so I have no money to pay a lawyer. “Equal justice for all”, haha. Not when you’re poor, not when your high-powered abusers know how to shirk the rules.
Why is that allowed? Nobody makes them stop.
Nobody makes them stop, and so our country lets us suffer—in silence. How dare we protest the deserved fate of lying whores. How dare we believe we deserve the same support and amends that victims of all other crimes receive. How dare we demand justice.
Then you tell us to shut up lest we be attacked again.
And nobody makes them stop.
Tell me again that you condemn rape and stand with us victims. Lie like my harassers did, like my rapist did, like my college did. Still do.
You’d have flogged OCR for its blatant corruption if you actually cared about us. You’d have given them the funds to properly investigate every complaint rather than wanting it to simply clear cases to look better on paper. You’d have established independent handling and third party anonymous reporting for all colleges. You’d have gotten rid of the statute of limitations for OCR, for suits against schools for Title IX violations, and for sex crimes, because you realize that trauma does not fix itself in accord with your desired timeline, because you know that pitting a victim’s health against their rights is no kind of justice. You’d have passed “yes means yes” for all college campuses, and extended that to protect all women in this country: for all the corruption and malice in enforcing Title IX, it’s infinitely better than the fuckery that happens to civilian and military victims.
Consider how fucked up it is that the phrase “lucky to be raped on campus”, when you see here how bad that is, is an actual thing people can truthfully say about your country. When you know it’s not a question of if, but of when and how many revictimizations. Of how much it takes from you, of whether this is the time that breaks you.
You all know how bad it is. I told you years ago. Lots of people have told you. Still are telling you. You’ve been fascinated with our stories. We’ve been made a spectacle.
But that’s all we are. Nobody has since prevented these abuses. Nobody has punished them. Nobody has made them stop.
Nobody has helped us.
This is how it should be, your actions have told us. Maintaining a fake spotless PR for colleges matters more than our lives do. Party politics and petty loyalties matter more than our suffering. We are not important. Suffering is what we deserve. Colleges and rapists do nothing wrong when they cripple us. You do nothing wrong when you watch this happen and do nothing to protest it.
Are you going to make them stop?
Are you going to help us?
Or will you do nothing as we suffer your consequences, as they do this again and again, while you delay?
President Obama & VP Biden
Presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders
All levels of public and private education; primary, secondary, and Higher Education
Carnegie Mellon University
Everyone who’s parroted “it’s on us” while dodging that it’s on you
The judicial bench for bleating about being “tough on crime” while letting off every abuser
Department of Education: Office of Civil Rights
Everyone who didn’t fight
Everyone who fought and lost
Everyone who will be next
I know the record: who’s promoted redress, who’s done nothing, who’s defended the malice. Everyone is addressed here because everyone needs to know who is affected and who is responsible. When you take no action against this, when you vote no, when you defend an abuser, we are the people you condemn. We are your friends, your family, your citizens. Make your choice knowing we are the cost.
Show us that this is wrong. Show us that you truly stand against it.
2015/06/03: CMU is still trying to destroy me even after I’ve left. They told my abusers I was documenting their abuse. Students, I hope you’re not in the closet to your parents and not being abused on their campus. Don’t ask them for help, they will ruin you in order to preserve their image.
2015-06-10: You can also tweet your college to tell it to take a stand and condemn what CMU has done to me. Just as people should shun rapists, so too should colleges shun other universities who brutalize survivors.
Make them take responsibility for the damage they’ve caused us. Below is the tweet format I’ve been using. If you also are a survivor, you can adapt it to get your own story out too. **The . in front is important to make the tweet visible. The short URL goes to this post.
Tweet format: .@collegeYouAreTweeting All colleges should shun the others who brutalize survivors! Condemn @CarnegieMellon https://goo.gl/06p4lZ
20150915: Here’s an easy way to make sure every one of these assholes in the system is held accountable: Lift the statute of limitations on sex crimes. You see the damage this costs throughout our lives. Think of all the rapists your own children come into contact with because coming forward doesn’t matter after six months in the college system, after two years outside it–coming forward does nothing but make the damage worse. That’s why nobody reports and nobody says anything. You scream at us to “think of the other victims”–sure, do it yourselves first. You never have.