Saturday, December 19, 2009



We hope you are doing well with the stress of finals and papers! 

We are pleased to bring you the latest draft version of the CUNY policy on on our website .

The taskforce is set to patch up last additions to the policy in time for an early January submission of the policy to the CUNY Board of Trustees.

This process is coming to a close soon and we are anticipating the policy's passage once it is in the hands of the Board of Trustees.

Be safe and well for this holiday and we'll see you in the new year!


Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sexual Assault in LGBT Population

Sexual Assault occurs among individuals of all sexual orientation.

Below are some information that explores sexual assaults in LGBT communities.

What is same-sex sexual assault?
• Same-sex sexual assault may include (but is not limited to) forced vaginal or anal penetration, forced oral sex, forced touching, or any additional form of forced sexual activity.
• Same-sex sexual assault may occur on a date, between friends, partners or strangers.

What issues around rape are unique to the LGBT community?
• Survivors who are not "out" may find sharing and/or reporting the rape especially difficult or even impossible.
• The uncertainty of knowing the level of sensitivity of resources may make reaching out for support very difficult.
• Lack of awareness of same-sex rape both within and without the LGBT community may make silence seem the only option.
• If the LGBT community is small, the fear of other's disbelief and/or people "taking sides" may cause the survivor to keep silent.
• Guilt and self-blame may take the form of questioning ones sexual identity and sexuality. These, rather than the rape may become the central issues.
• Internalized homophobia may compound the complexities of strong emotions after rape.
• Gay/bi male survivors may face the fear of not being believed and/or being ridiculed because of the stereotype of men never rejecting a sexual opportunity.
• Lesbian/bi women survivors may face the fear of not being believed if they are raped by a female because of the myth that "women don't do that sort of thing."

What issues are common to all rape survivors?
• Fear, humiliation, self-blame, depression, denial, powerlessness, anger and suicidal feelings are common after rape.
• The need to be believed and reassured that what happened was in no way their fault.
• The need to be given the dignity of making their own decisions about any course of action.

How can I be helpful as a friend or partner?
• By believing your friend or partner who has been raped.
• By respecting the need for confidentiality.
• By avoiding judgmental comments.
• By controlling your own feelings of anger and/or frustration.
• By asking how you can be helpful rather than giving unsolicited advice.
• By respecting her or his decisions even when yours might be different.
• By being a good listener.
• By being honest with yourself if you have trouble handling the aftermath of the rape.
• By finding other sources of support if this is the case.
• By offering unconditional love and support.
• By avoiding pressure to resume any form of sexual activity until initiated by your partner.

*“There are many levels to internalized and externalized homophobia,” and in order to comprehend same-sex sexual assault, it is significant to construct an obligation to accept and confront homophobia.

*It is also imperative to distinguish that individuals within the LGBT community are beleaguered for sexual assault due to professed gender expression.

*Sexual violence is used as a form of social control to maintain heterosexism.

The two (2) videos below portrays some example of how LGBT communities are treated in Iraq and South Africa.

Gays in Iraq terrorized by threats, rape, murder

South African black men rape South African black lesbians

Resources for the LGBT Community

• California Coalition Against Sexual Assault

• Community United Against Violence

• National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs

• Northwest Network

• The Network/La Red

• Survivor Project

• Out Front


Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

Friday, November 20, 2009

An Invisible Threat


Part1: Prevalence

Stalking in America is a major problem. Attention towards stalking occurred as a result of celebrities who were being stalked. In the past decade 50 states have passed anti-stalking laws. The study of stalkers has been limited to a small number of clinical samples. There is a lack of empirical data that exists on stalkers and on the issue of stalking. The major questions that are discussed within a major national study on stalking include the prevalence of stalking in the United States, who stalks whom, and how often stalkers overtly threaten their victims. Other questions within the study included how often stalking is reported to the police, as well as what are the psychological consequences of stalking.

What is stalking?
Stalking is considered threatening and harassing behavior which is carried out repeatedly. Common practices include threatening behaviors such as appearing at the individual’s home, their place of work, their business, making harassing phone calls, vandalizing the individual’s property and cyber-stalking, which is bombarding someone with e-mails, instant messages, and other forms of communication. With the advancement of technology, stalkers have newer ways of conducting the stalking.

While stalking differs from states to states, the following is taken from the New York State Penal Code for stalking. If anyone wants more information, please look at the National Center for Victims of Crime ( .

Legal Definitions of Stalking
Stalking differs in each state. The CUNY prevention-based sexual assault policy outlines New York State Law on stalking. In addition Safe Horizon’s website provides more in-depth information on stalking and services for individuals who feel they are being stalked. Legally most states do present stalking within the context of someone who is willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following the individual.

· Stalking is more prevalent within the United States than was thought prior.
8% of women and 2% of men are stalked within their lifetime. Around 1,006,970 women and 370,990 men have been stalked within their lifetime. As suggested by Tjaden and Thoenness stalking needs to be considered a public health as well as a public health concern
· Invisible Groups: Alaska Native women as well as American Indian women were considered to more likely to report being stalked than any other racial groups
· Stalking cuts across gender. However 78% of stalking victims are female and 87% are male
· Adults between the ages of 18-29 are the primary targets and make up over 52% of all victims
· Perpetrators who stalk are known to the victim(Lack of research exists within the field of stalking by intimate partners/relevant for sexual assault and intimate partner violence incidents)
· Strong link exists between forms of violence in intimate relationships.
· Average Stalking Case lasts about 1.8 years. Approximately 1/5 of the victims move away from
31% of victims who were cohabiting with their partner and were stalked were also sexually assaulted. Approximately 1 out of 3
Stalking rates were highest among Spouse/Ex Spouse relationships. Interestingly for stalking carried out by a stranger, more males reported being stalked by females.
· Less than 50% of the stalking victims are actually directly threatened by their stalkers but they do feel an intense level of fear.
· Deplorably less than half actually report their stalking to the police and only in ¼ cases are the suspects actually arrested. Only 12% of stalking cases actually result in any conviction
· From all of the victims who did receive restraining orders, approximately 69 percent of the women and 81 percent of the men said their stalkers violated the order.
· Only 30 percent of female stalking victims and 20 percent of male stalking victims seek psychological counseling as a result of their victimization

College-Aged Women
· In another study the sexual victimization of college women they found that in a survey of the rates of women on college campuses(156.5 per 1,000 female students). On a college campus approximately 13.1 percent of the female students had been stalked. This challenges the National Survey as women within the college age population.
· Within the same study women were stalked by a boyfriend (42.5percent), classmate(24.5 percent), acquaintance(10.3percent), friend(5.6percent)

This blog is followed by two other blogs that look at cyberstalking and how such research can be employed towards the policy.

Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

Stalking, Privacy, and What we Can Do

Part2:Stalking, Privacy, and What we Can Do By Rabbea Jabbar

Instead of shutting down our face books because we fear stalkers, we can find ways to protect our privacy and keep our face book information to a bare minimum, so our private lives are not being completely revealed. Although the face book stalking trend is a new phenomenon mostly common among females, face book does allow in many ways to help you protect your privacy and control the information you share with others. This allows your privacy not to be compromised.

Caroline Harting says, “Facebook was stalking me”. Many face book users are leaving face book due to fear of privacy. However, stalking does not start or end on face book.
If your stalker has been verbally warned by you and still does not leave you alone, instead of negotiating with your stalker, call the Unlawful Call Center at 1 (800) 518-5507. Familiarize yourself with a 24 hour store; never go home alone, if you are being stalked. Inform friends, family members, co workers, and neighbors about your stalker. Save any text messages, voice mails and threatening letters. If you have a restraining order against your stalker, carry a copy with you at all times. Also save a picture of your stalker, if you have any, and give it to friends and family members. You can have your name removed from any adverse directories. Avoid calling toll free 800, 866, 888, 877, and 900 numbers, or use a pay phone of you decide to call a toll free number, so that your phone number is not captured in the Automatic Number Identification. Order “Complete Blocking” or “per line” blocking so that your home phone number is not disclosed when you make phone calls from home, and keep a log of every stalking incident.

Many victims fail to report about their stalker, and when they do decide to file a police report months later, many police officers are likely to not take the victims seriously. It's very important to not let a police officer intimidate you. Once you call 911, and you are afraid to leave your house, have a police officer come to your house. Be polite, persistent and provide the officer with as much details as possible. Although every stalking case is unique in its own way, every little piece of evidence matters. Do not let an officer leave your house without giving you a report number. If one police report does not work, you may need to file multiple police reports, and make more phone calls if necessary. Also remember that stalkers are unpredictable. They act on their impulses. They are also very likely to pretend to be the victim after being reported. 90-95% of the time they will portray to be the victim. Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

How Should CUNY employ the data from research

Part3: How Should CUNY employ the data from the research

The previous two studies that have been cited provide us as CUNY students with a piece of the framework we should think of in terms of the prevention-based sexual assault policy. (Please watch the townhall meeting for further information at CUNYSGC.COM.) As we are aware the policy incorporates pieces on stalking. As seen in the two studies, stalking is highest among ages 18-29, which definitely fits the age demographics of CUNY. Within the second study that looked at stalking among college-aged women, they found a higher rate of stalking among college-aged females. We also know there is an overlap between domestic violence, sexual assault, and incidents of stalking. We need to also think about male victims of stalking and the LGBT population, as well as our large immigrant population, which includes undocumented students. This is where we must address the issue of marginal populations and invisible populations. We have to understand that when it comes to the support network and the access to services, we as CUNY students must divert from the general model where certain populations are deemed victims and thus have access to services. What I mean by this is realistically we know that there are certain populations-males, LGBT, immigrants, undocumented, special needs population-have a more difficult time accessing services. Therefore while the prevention-based policy includes the pieces on stalking, it is a beginning not an end. This is why it is so important to make sure we have advocates that are trained on these different issues where they can assist students.

In addition stalking just like sexual assault and intimate partner violence are not one-size fits all models. Therefore we must challenge ourselves to think beyond just categories where we separate things such as sexual assault, incidents of stalking and domestic violence, for as we have seen from the studies they are occurring simultaneously, which further complicates the situation. The fact that anyone is being stalked negatively impacts their ability to academically excel while places them in fear. This also corrodes our own sense of safety. Educational institutions are places where we want to have the social atmosphere where we feel safe and comfortable. The act of stalking violates that very personal space of safety. Therefore it is up to us as students to generate a dialogue around these issues where we think beyond the regular framework as domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking are different. While the policy is important and plays a vital role in affirming that the CUNY system will not tolerate it, it is us the CUNY student who must stand at the forefront and help our fellow students.

Friday, November 13, 2009


SGC is excited to finally bring you the full video of the Queens College Town hall that took place on October 22nd.

The video is located on our website. Feel free to leave comments, it is imperative that you weigh in on the policy that will affect YOU!

Also note the featured video of our interview with Jessica Spector from the Urban Justice Center that took place after the town hall.

To Building a Greater CUNY!


Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


The CUNY Sexual Assault Policy Taskforce was supposed to have met by now. In fact, dates were proposed well before the Queens College Townhall for the taskforce to meet at the end of October- first week in November. So why hasn't the taskforce met?

Because the policy is still being shown to other groups outside of CUNY at the expense of a third and final townhall for CUNY students!

It was understandable to forego another townhall because the Board of Trustees needed to have the policy go through one or more of its committees in November before it's full meeting on November 22nd. It is not, however, acceptable to have preferential treatment for outside groups to be able to comment on the policy when CUNY students are not given yet another chance (which is actually an agreement within the original proposal and located in the minutes of the taskforce early on, published in this SGC post. )

SGC Chair and taskforce member Elischia Fludd is currently advocating for the taskforce to uphold its promise and commit to a 3rd townhall since CUNY students, the largest stakeholders of this policy, have been disregarded to favor the opinion of outside groups. 

To building a Greater CUNY,


Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


"Rape drugs make it relatively easy for rapists to gain control of their victims. Perpetrators do not have to overcome any form of resistance. They do not have to use physical force. They do not have to threaten to harm the victim to get compliance. Nor do they have to be concerned about a victim's screams attracting attention. The drugs they administer immobilize and silence the victim. (National Institute of Justice Journal, 2000)"

In July 2007, the Department of Justice released the results of a national study that looked at the prevalence of drug-facilitated and incapacitated sexual assault and forcible rape. The results were astonishing and deplorable. Estimates have found that nearly 673,000 women in colleges were raped. From the 673,000, 160,000 women experienced drug-facilitated sexual assault. And more than 200,000 women were incapacitated. The major issue with drug-facilitated-sexual-assault is that many victims have no idea whether they were drugged. In order to take legal recourse, the individual must present themselves at a hospital where they can screen for drugs. However, the window period is very short for most of these drugs leave the body, and once they leave the body, evidence cannot be collected for the purpose of taking legal recourse.

The problem that exists in cases of drug-facilitated sexual assault or where the victim is incapacitated is many victims may not recognize that they have been raped. Even if they know they were forced, the fact that either they were under the influence of drugs or their assailant was means for them the lines of accountability may get blurry. For example recently there was a case where a young-college aged woman stated she had went to a party and a guy asked to hook up with her. She said no to him, and then he lured her into a room by begging her to help him with an emergency. She did so and he raped her. She wasn't really clear whether it was rape or not because the assailant had been drunk. In this case the victim was not incapacitated or under the influence of drugs but the assailant was and he used that to his advantage telling her that at parties it is normal for people to have sex. While she knew that something was wrong, it was difficult for her to label it rape.

Such hesitancy to frame it as rape as well as to blame one-self for what happened has translated into low rates of reporting. For example for sexual assault cases for women in colleges, the reporting rate is 12%. The number is ever smaller for victims of drug-facilitated sexual assault who report. Some of the reasons why college-aged women do not take action against the perpetrator include not wanting their peers and social-support systems to know about the rape, the fear of retaliation, the uncertainty about whether a crime actually occurred, and the victim may not be sure whether the crime was serious enough to report. Again within drug-facilitated sexual assault cases, most victims know their perpetrators.

From the perspective of perpetrators, Abbey, Parkhhill, Clinton-Sherrod, Zawacki (2007), in their study compared men who committed sexual assaults found that on the contrary to what social views may think, perpetrators usually pick the victims and then isolate them from their friends or social circle. The perpetrators will often come off as if they are rescuing the victim by offering an incapacitated individual(drunk, high, or passed out) to what they will convey to the victim as a safe place. Perpetrators will use the fact that the victim was intoxicated to convince them their assault was consensual or normal, and that is how things are. This is even if the victim remembers. An overwhelming majority of these perpetrators are repeat offenders who have targeted multiple victims. Therefore contrary to what society may think when perpetrators who commit such assaults do it because they are incapacitated is misleading and is another place for perpetrators to have the space to commit rapes and violate others without having to worry about the consequences. It is important to mention that while the statistics in the national study focused on college-aged women, men are also victims of drug facilitated sexual assaulted.

However we can stand firm and work to prevent such incidents from occurring. We can be more attentive when we are out in social gatherings, at parties, in clubs, and bars. We can educate men and women about the devestating crime the drug facilitated sexual assault is and the physical as well as psychological scars that victims will suffer from. On the most basic level we can start by changing our own attitudes towards drug-facilitated-sexual assault where we usually place the blame on the victim rather than giving them the social support, which can be instrumental in the recovery process.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Queens College Townhall Update

Warm Greetings!

SGC would like to extend a round of thank you's to the following people for making the town hall a success:

SGC Project Manager for the Town hall: Dear Auneatitrakul
Co-Sponsors: Queen's College Democratic Student Alliance (DSA)
Moderator: Natalie Shields 
Town hall volunteers: Andrew  DeMasters, Joanna Lund-Pops, Roland Regos, Samantha  Shlimbaum, Diana Hidalgo, Asna Erfan and Mike Cabajal
Queens College Student Affairs Administrator Dr. Joe
Panelists: Kristen Bowes, CUNY Associate General Counsel; Nick Kanellopolous, City College Alumnae; Jessica Spector, Urban Justice Institute; and Jerin Alam, Hunter College Alumna.
CUNY Central for concerted efforts in advertising the event throughout CUNY news and for providing refreshments
Queens College Student Association for extending a hand of solidarity in this effort

Last but not least and special thanks goes to the approximate 40 CUNY students, faculty, alumni and administration that attended the town hall! CUNY members came out from all over, including Kingsborough, John Jay, Hunter and Queens College.

SGC looks forward to updating you with the video of the town hall and personal reaction interviews that took place following the event.

We have the policy open for comments on our website , as well as a poll and a petition in favor of the current policy draft.

NEXT STEPS include a taskforce meeting to review student input, giving the policy over to the Board of Trustee committee for review and the voting of the policy at the November Board of Trustee's meeting.

To building a Greater CUNY,

Elischia Fludd
Students for a Greater CUNY (SGC)

Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

Friday, October 23, 2009



SGC is excited to share with you wonderful news!

The CUNY Policy Tracker has joined the ranks of thousands of blogs as an award for its content!

This award, given by comes as a direct result of our information on substance abuse related information! operates the largest website featuring more than 30,000+ websites and blogs.  Average site vistors reach 200,000+ international unique visitors! 

SGC's esteemed mention can be found here

A HUGE thank you to our Media Coordinator, Darakshan Raja, who is a regular blog contributor and coordinates volunteers that contribute to the blog! Please join us in celebrating the great work of Darakshan and her team!

We also want to thank for such an honor!

We look forward to continuing to serve you with accurate, thought provoking, professional and resourceful material!

To building a greater CUNY!

Elischia Fludd
Students for a Greater CUNY (SGC)

Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Breaking News:

SGC has posted the policy on its website:  The latest policy draft contains provisions for stalking and domestic violence education.

Check it out and comment on the policy!

SGC also has a 'TAKE ACTION' section, where you can sign in agreement with the policy's provisions.

Follow us on Twitter for immediate updates.

Working on building a greater CUNY,


Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

Monday, October 5, 2009



SGC is very excited to bring you news of our website launch!!!!

Please find us at

You will find the site chock full of information that will be updated frequently to provide the utmost service to CUNY students. Our Tracker will continue to examine sexual assault as it pertains to the policy up through the first implementation of the approved policy. We look forward to keeping you posted.

News of the upcoming townhall at Queens College on October 22nd is located on our site, along with a downloadable version of the flier and our press advisory on the townhall for your convenience. 

To building a Greater CUNY!

Become involved! VISIT US AT CUNYSGC.COM!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

DFSA:Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault

Current Events: The case of Roman Polanski has received a lot of media press, and sadly due to his status as a famous director, he has a line of famous friends, men and women, who believe he should not be jailed for the rape of a thirteen-year old girl. Polanski had drugged and raped a thirteen year old in 1977 in Los Angeles, and had himself pled guilty to a lesser charge of having unlawful sex to with a minor and ran to Europe prior to being sentenced ( Not only Hollywood celebrities but prolific writers like Salman Rushdie have declared their support for Polanski. Other stars include Milan Kundera, Pedo Almodavar, Woody Allen, and Martin Scorsese have also given him their support. Bernard-Henri Levy stated Polanski has made a youthful error. Even Whoopi Goldberg stated his crime wasn't "rape rape but rape." Foremost Whoopi makes no sense, rape is rape period. There is no such thing as "rape rape." While I do not want to single out Whoopi, her comment does show us that in our society, people are not educated or aware about the issue of sexual assault. Sadly this incident was another missed opportunity to begin a national debate on sexual violence. Therefore, I would like to focus this blog on drug facilitated sexual assault since Polanski had drugged the thirteen-year-old girl to incapacitate her. In addition, this blog will also clarify the stereotype that perpetrators like Polanski who use drugs to carry out an assault should be excused because they didn't understand what they were doing.

In addition, I believe if Polanski had been a regular individual, he would have received the status of a sex offender and would have been branded, and would have been considered a threat to society. The same stars who are supporting him would have been carrying banners asking for his incarceration, because they would have thought of their own kids. Therefore, in this case, his status and access to power have showed us that there is a different level of justice for people in power.

Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault (DFSA): The definition given by LeBeau and Mozayani (2001) on DFSA is they are offenses where the victim goes through nonconsensual sexual acts while they are under the influence of a drug or go through a sexual assault due to the unconscious effects of alcohol/ drugs, and are not able to resist or consent.
According to NYC Alliance's definition of Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault, "sexual assault made easier by the offender's use of an anesthesia type drug that can render the victim physically incapacitated or helpless and unable to give consent to sexual activity." The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault listed two types of drugs used in sexual assault. We should be aware that alcohol is the most commonly used drug.

WE ALSO KNOW THAT IN 90% OF CASES OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ARE LINKED TO ALCOHOL. Another common DFSA IS ROPHYPNOL: This type of drug is used in "date rape" situations. This drug is tasteless and odorless, and can dissolve clearly into liquid, which makes its detection much more difficult. Rophyies can be taken either orally, ingested, or can be snorted. Rophies can take effect within 15-20 minutes, and the effects may last for more than 12 hours. The drug can be detected in the urine for up to 72 hours after ingestion
It is important to note that whether the drug is taken by the victim willingly or not, it doesn't matter, for the perpetrator has used the drug as a pretext to incapacitate the victim and to victimize them. On the contrary to what people may think that the perpetrator unknowingly sexually assaulted men, we know that perpetrators of drug facilitated sexual assault are well aware of what they are doing and are repeat offenders. The perpetrators use the following things: they groom and pick their victims, isolate the victim from their support network. For example, separating the victim from their friends at a party or a club, so they can manipulate the situation. Individuals who use drugs to carry out sexual assaults may put on a front that they are rescuing the person and will offer to take the individual somewhere safe.

CHALLEGNES: A major challenge with an individual who has experienced DFSA is they may not be aware or recollect what happened. While the victim is facing the same challenges that any individual of sexual assault is feeling, it may be harder in respect to reporting, the forensic exams, and the reactions from their support systems, such as friends and family members. In addition, the perpetrator, since we know in more than 80% is known to the victim, the perpetrator will state the assault was consensual or was sex gone bad. In some cases, the victim may not recollect the events that occurred. For example, in one case, the female was gang raped after being drugged by a group of men, and woke up bleeding, sore and pain, and was having a difficult time recollecting what happened the night before, and who the perpetrators were. Therefore, a way we can help victims of DFSA is by listening to them, rather than blaming them and holding them accountable, for, every time we place the blame on a victim, we have further victimized the individual, and have given the perpetrator the opportunity to violate someone else.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Recent CUNY news and policy updates

SGC would like to acknowledge the recent NY Post article that exposes a few CUNY schools in violation of complete compliance with the Clery Act and would like to present healthy dialogue on how this finding affects the inclusive policy process we have continually advocated for.

Under the Clery Act, mandated crimes to be reported include sex crimes that are forcible and non-forcible, such as rapes and sexual assaults. While this is a legal obligation of the school, it is only a superficial level of addressing the issue of sexual violence. Certainly, a college reporting sexual assaults on campus indicates a reasonable attempt of the college to openly acknowledge any incidences that have occurred. What is more salient, however, is that a college focus on preventing the atmosphere that allows for these crimes to happen.

The process for obtaining a CUNY-wide sexual assault policy has been so far a year and 2 months in counting and is expected to culminate with an approved policy by the Board of Trustees of CUNY in November. Some may wonder why has it taken so long?

The answer is not as one would probably be led to think.

From our point of view, CUNY could have simply accepted the idea of having a sexual assault policy and produced one within a few months. After all, it is mandated for colleges to have a sexual assault policy and this provides CUNY with a way to cover all 23 campuses. However, this process has considered many perspectives on ways to address sexual violence in an effort to not only have a mandated policy, but to have one that is holistic in it's approach to reduce the atmosphere of sexual violence that happens on campuses. Make no mistake about it that is an incredible responsibility and one that SGC helps to shoulder with great resolve. It is important to get this right, to set a precendent that CUNY has the foresight and will to ensure its students are fully protected from all angles of the law, and psychosocial considerations.

SGC will be holding a town hall meeting on October 22nd at Queens College to discuss the affect of the policy for practical implementation and to advance the dialogue surrounding sexual violence to get students to critically analyze the policy for constructive feedback. We look forward to updating you as the date approaches.

The taskforce expects to have a meeting to review the latest policy draft (which includes provisions for stalking) in late October.

To building a greater CUNY,

Elischia Fludd
Students for a Greater CUNY (SGC)

Become involved! Email us at

Monday, September 21, 2009

Alternate Perspectives

Update on Sexual Assault at Hofstra’s Campus

In order to blog about the updates of this case, I had to take a moment and reflect on the various responses I personally had to this case and what I was hearing from individuals. The first distinction I want to draw is the language used to frame the topic. The initial article had presented the gang rape that occurred as a sexual assault. However, in the article where the female who alleged the attacks stated the encounter was consensual, the article is titled, “Hofstra Student Recants Claim of Gang Rape.” I draw attention to these titles because language is a powerful tool on how we frame a topic. When the assumption was that the case was true, the language framed a brutal gang rape as a sexual assault, which dilutes the act for readers. However, in an article where the female stated the encounter was consensual, it took a harsher tone and actually stated what the female had alleged, which adds to the myth that females allege things like gang rape, for it is such a rare occurrence that they never really happen. In addition, the article painted the female as a criminal where the prosecutor has decided to launch a criminal investigation on her. And for the purpose of the media and press attention, the case has been closed.

Let us look at this case through two different angles and what it means for our policy. Primarily it is a horrible incident for any individual to go through a gang rape. It is also horrible to be falsely accused of being a rapist, for in our society that comes with a lifetime stigma, if one is caught and prosecuted. This is important to point out for we know that only 6% of rapists will ever spend a single day in jail (RAINN.ORG). If one is prosecuted, and is wrongfully put in prison and jail, they are categorized as among the most sensitive populations and are in need of protective custody. If and when these individuals are released, they are placed on sex offender registry for the rest of their life. In New York, a debate is raging on whether to civilly commit sex offenders. What this means is that once sex offenders are finishing up their prison or jail sentences, because they may be deemed to be a danger to society, they can be placed in hospitals and facilities for the mentally ill for as long as the psychologists deem it necessary. Therefore, the result of someone living with the label of a sex offender while they did not commit the crime is very serious. Therefore, any policy dealing with sexual assault must include provisions and mechanisms for handling false accusations of sexual assault, and the rights of the accused. However, this is just one way of processing the Hofstra Case.

Another way of looking at the Hofstra Case is by trying to look at this situation from the eyes of the eighteen year old who stated she had been gang raped. One is a sophomore at college, went out to a party, and is gang raped on a campus with thousands of students. One is still trying to process the events that happened in one’s safe space. And we as students do consider our schools as places where we are more comfortable than we are walking on the street, and do consider it part of our more safe areas to be in. Since Hofstra is a dorm, then one feels a sense of safety, as they may feel around their own neighborhood, or areas one is not constantly looking over their shoulder. One is a student and has been violated in their safe space, not to mention being tied up and then begging five men to let one go, and yet they still assault. The next thing one knows is the media is all over it, the police and the prosecutor are involved and arrests are being made. Police officers and the prosecutor are asking you to repeat the same traumatic story over and over again. They are asking you every single detail. Why were you here? Why did you run after him and not call security? Did you scream for help? Where are the bruises on your arm? How did the men look like? Are you honestly telling is no one was around.

Just imagine being gang raped, and then having to prove to different people that you were actually gang raped. When we go through something very traumatic, are we systematically asked why?who?when?where? Yet, if a victim of sexual assault, whether it is gang rape, stranger rape, incest, marital rape, has to prove to police officers, detectives, and a prosecutor that she or he went through the incident. Maybe the reason she said it was consensual was because she didn’t want to go through the billions of questions. This point is important to note because in any sexual assault policy we have a victim should have the right to drop a complaint if they do not want to go through the process, even if they have initiated it, without the fear that dropping the complaint will equate to being criminally investigated for lying or being categorized as a liar and criminal; for, then we have only continued the same cycle of blaming the victim rather than empowering them.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Reflections on the Gang Rape on Hofstra's Campus

Current Events: Gang Rape on Hofstra’s Campus

The Associated Press on September 15, 2009 reported they were covering a sexual assault of an eighteen year old college student. The ironic thing is AP did not recognize that the eighteen year old’s sexual assault is actually a gang rape, which shows us that either the term was too strong for the AP to include in their article, or they themselves were not aware what type of sexual assault actually occurred, The NYC Alliance against Sexual Violence definition of gang rape is “Forced or coerced sexual activities by two or more persons known or unknown to the victim (”
The facts of the case include the following:
· Police stated the eighteen year old student was at a dance party at an on-campus nightclub;
· The female had danced with one of the suspects, and he snatched her cell-phone and ran away with it;
· The female ran after the assailant, while screaming she wanted her phone back;
· The assailant then entered the dormitory and went inside an elevator where the female followed him.
· Once he walked out of the elevator, the man met another acquaintance;
· The two men then tied the girl’s hands with a rope and took her into the men’s bathroom where they sexually assaulted her and left her;
· Three men later entered the men’s room, and the female pleaded with the newcomers for help, and all three men also sexually assaulted her one by one;
· The police have identified one of the men, Rondell Bedward, 21, from the Bronx, who was the only Hofstra student, and had signed in the other four as his guests in the dormitory.

This case brings up many questions and presents how college campuses can serve as places where non-students can perpetrate a crime. The perpetrators had methodically planned out the gang rape, for they actually lured the victim by stealing her cell phone, and then tying her up. Such a crime shows planning. We also have to admit that this case shows the failure of campus security, and most deplorably the failure of fellow students, staff, and faculty. This occurred in a dormitory, which is inhabited by students. Where were the students who lived in these dormitories? Are students that dismissive and apathetic of their surroundings that a woman can get gang-raped, and no one even intervenes, or even hears about it? I am not blaming Hofstra or anyone for what occurred, and it must be noted this event can occur on any college campus, and sadly does occur. But what we must draw attention to is the lack of awareness on the issue of sexual assault on campuses. If students , staff, and faculty are more aware, then we are more aware of such an incident occurring, which means we can prevent sexual assaults from occurring. I am not advocating for being paranoid and monitoring everything that goes on around you, but I am advocating for the spread of awareness of crimes that occur on college campuses, and realizing that just because it is a college campus does not mean individuals who do not attend the campus cannot commit crimes on the campus.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Memory So Dark But Vivid

A Memory So Dark But Vivid
Gestures on familiar faces,
some frightened,
some sad,
and some judgmental.
The memories still dwells in my mental,
of a stolen soul.
It feels like it was just yesterday,
one of our many visits to the race track.
The soft country breeze on the back of my neck,
added to the moisture in the air.
There many ways to describe the aroma in the air,
but not that of the almond tree,
rather the smell of stench,
of a gruesome injustice.
Flies were in a frenzy,
and maggots felt at home.
We knew someone has done this,
but no names written in stone.
Her womanhood was destroyed,
the sight of rotten flesh,
the discoloring of her blood,
upon her beaten chest.
She wasnt that popular with folks of descent trends,
the love she shared around,
brought her life to an end.
They ripped up her tunnel of life,
leaving a viscous imprint,
with a gun shot wound to her head,
this left a deadly dent.
Her remains dried in the sun like raisons,
this forced me to continue thinking.
Will i forever see this image?
day beak to sunrise,
while I sleep or when I have risen.
The answer is YES!

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Dating Violence and Sexual Violence:You are not Alone

This piece will focus on Dating Violence and Sexual Violence, and is part of the larger project that Students for A Greater CUNY has embarked on, which is a larger series of blogs that fall under the topic of What is Sexual Violence: Definitions, Myths, and Facts. In our first blog, we brought some definitions of sexual assault, stranger rape, and non-stranger rape. While we will be bringing different definitions of sexual assault and the contexts they occur in, it is very important to mention that defining the different forms of sexual violence and the context they occur in has its own ramifications. Primarily, definitions of various types of sexual assaults sometimes create hierarchies of the severity of sexual assault. For example, some individuals may feel rape is more serious than molestation, or being raped by a stranger is worst than being raped by a boyfriend. We are not here to create debates on what is worst, or bring you definitions that encompass everything, or categories of sexual assault, for that hurts our ultimate goal of changing the dialogue on sexual violence. For example, rape and sexual assault are defined much narrowly in the legal world than the social work field. What we want to do is to begin to look at these definitions, which differ from field to field. We may want to think why that is the case, and what are the positive aspects of this and what are the negative aspects of having such narrow definitions. And we want to challenge and critically think about whether these definitions are inclusive of victims and survivors of sexual assault. If they are inclusive, who are they inclusive of, and if they are not inclusive, then who do we leave out. These are questions that we challenge everyone to think about.

Dating Violence and Sexual Violence : YOU ARE NOT ALONE

Dating Violence : Includes sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional abuse in the context of an intimate relationship. (NYC ALLIANCE AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT)

"What I know now is that if I had known I wasn’t alone, I may have been able to help him and to help myself. I usually have one message for young people who may go through something similar: You are not alone." -female teen dating violence survivor

"Now I know how cruel people can be when they take you for granted and do sexual things to you without your okay to do it…" -17-year-old female

In June 2008, the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault published a report titled, "Partners and Peers: Sexual and Dating Violence Among NYC Youth," which found SEXUAL AND DATING VIOLENCE ARE EXTREMELY COMMON AMONG NYC YOUTH. The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, in their study focusing on dating violence among public high school students, found the following findings:

These statistics only looked at results from a study on dating violence in NYC. Let us look at some national statistics of sexual and dating violence among teens and college age students.

All of these harrowing statistics just represent the tip of the iceberg in respect to prevalence of sexual violence among young individuals. We honestly do not have a clear idea of how many individuals are truly suffering from sexual violence and being in abusive relationships. In addition, these statistics do not offer a breakdown or even mention other populations, such as males, transgender, gay, and lesbians. Let us take the topic of dating violence further. How about the overwhelming majority of individuals who have grown up seeing their parents, care-takers, or siblings in violent relationships. These individuals are as much effected by being present in the abusive relationship, even if they are not the intimate partner who is the victim. Do we honestly think a child who grows up to become a teenager under a mother or a father in an abusive relationship is not going to be effected? Therefore, as mentioned before dating violence is not occurring in a vacuum. There are much more subtle and nuanced ways that we define relationships in our culture that are having an adverse effect on the way individuals are engaging in relationships. Since no one is born as an abuser or a victim, then there cultural and social aspects of the way we define relationships, which is based on power, coercion, and control, that are leading to dating violence relationships. Silencing or brushing the issue to the side is not helping, for these young individuals will grow into being adults without understanding that dating violence is not supposed to be the norm. Therefore, our culture and our society bear the responsibility for what is occurring.

"It has made me a very sad and depressed person. I have trouble trusting"-17 year old female

"I feel that it is too fuckin' horrible and that if I am walking down the street and guy is sexually abusing a girl, I would kill him"-15 year old male

"It didn't affect me, I just blank it out."-17 year old female

"It has changed me and has hurt me a lot emotionally."-16 year old male

"The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault develops and advances strategies, policies and responses that prevent sexual violence and limit its destabilizing effects on victims, families and communities. As the only sexual violence organization in the country conducting primary research on sexual violence, we are in a unique position to raise public awareness and create sustainable change("

Saturday, August 29, 2009

What is Sexual Violence: Definitions, Myths, and Facts

The Blog will begin a new theme of exploring myths around sexual violence. It must be noted that it is such myths that have created an environment where perpetrators escape accountability and victims are re-traumatized. However, prior to exploring some of the most common myths surrounding sexual violence, it is important to define the term sexual violence, and specifically sexual assault, and certain relationships and circumstances they arise under.

  • Sexual Violence

    Sexual Violence is a global health and human rights problem in the world (WHO, 2009). It is a worldwide pandemic, which not only effects women, but men and our society in general. Sexual Violence encompasses sexual assault but is not exclusive to sexual assault. It is a much broader term that stems from the need for power and control over others. In sexual violence, sex is the weapon and method in order for the perpetrator to gain power and control.

  • Sexual Assault

    Sexual Assault comes in various forms. In order to define sexual assault, we have included the different types of sexual assault and various forms of violence that sexual assault co-occurs with. These different types of sexual assault include rape, hate crimes, incest, male sexual assault, acquaintance rape, child sexual abuse, child abuse, dating and domestic violence, drug facilitated sexual assault, partner rape, sexual exploitation by helping professionals, sexual harassment, stalking, and stranger rape (RAINN.ORG).

    The following definitions are from the Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network's page on definitions.

Sexual Assault: The specific definitions of sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse actually vary state by state since such terms are legal. Therefore, the following definition is taken from the Department of Justice's definition that states sexual assault is "unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. This includes touching and fondling"(

  • Rape: Again rape is a legal term and the specific definition differs from state to state. However, the definition used by the Department of Justice is the following: rape is forced sexual intercourse, which includes vaginal, anal, or oral penetration that may also may be done by a body part or an object. It is important to remember in 8 out of 10 rapes, no weapon is used except physical force. In addition, almost in the majority of cases, victims feel as if they are about to die.
  • Stranger Rape: When most individuals think of rape, they think of stranger rape, which is when someone unknown to the victim rapes them. Stranger rape actually falls into three categories.
  • 1)BLITZ SEXUAL ASSAULT: In such a case, a victim is assaulted brutally and rapidly by a perpetrator without having any prior contact with the individual. Such assaults may occur in public places or at night. 2)CONTACT SEXUAL ASSAULT: In such cases, the perpetrator tries to win the trust and confidence of the victim before assaulting them. Such perpetrators pick their victims in bars or create situations where the victim may be coerced into a sexual assault. 3)HOME INVASION SEXUAL ASSAULT: Such assaults occur when someone breaks into the individual's home.
  • Acquaintance Rape: Unlike stranger rape, which is thought of as the most common form of rape, actually most cases of rape are acquaintance rape. This further relates more to a college campus population than stranger rape. Such a term in used to describe an assault that involves the use of sexual activities that are coercive and occur without the individual's permission. The perpetrator might use violence, duress, force, or use fear of bodily injury against the individual. However, in such instances, the individual who is responsible for committing the assault is a friend, a date, an acquaintance, or someone who the victim knows.

    -Most assaults usually fall into the category of acquaintance rape and it is important to keep in mind even if one has a current relationship with the perpetrator or had an intimate relationship with the perpetrator, it does not mean consent was given to the individual.

    -In every instance, verbal consent has to be given in every instance of sexual intimacy, and as "the level of sexual intimacy increases (e.g., moving from kissing to petting, from petting to oral sex, from oral sex to intercourse or anal sex, etc.)"( Like all forms of all other sexual assault, acquaintance rape is about power and control.

    -In the overwhelming cases of acquaintance rape, the victims do not define their experience as a sexual assault, and actually blame themselves for the assault.

    -Furthermore, since the perpetrator is known to the victim, the victim sees their perpetrator after the assault has occurred, which can cause re-traumatization as well as feeling shame and humiliation.

    Here are also some physical and emotional reactions that victims of acquaintance rape may experience or show: Mood Swings, Nightmares, Anxiety, Fear, Helplessness, Depression, Suicidal Behavior/Ideation, self-harm, and sleeping and eating disturbances.

    Our next blogs will focus on defining Dating and Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault, Stalking, Sexual Exploitation by Helping Professionals and Sexual Harassment.

Monday, August 17, 2009


The link embedded in the subject title of this blog entry is a good introduction into what rape culture is.

As you watch the film, here are some questions to ponder:

How have you experienced rape culture?

Is there a thin line between rape culture and "normal" conceptualizations of sex and sexuality?

What kinds of messages/encounters do you or someone you know receives daily that makes you/him/her feel uncomfortable?

What would a world without rape culture look like?

What does rape culture look like on college campuses?

How can individuals effectively challenge and change rape culture?

What do you personally commit to doing to help change rape culture?

To building a Greater CUNY,


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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Innocence Lost

She was only ten years old

The first time she was raped

Her perpetrator was her own father

A man in his forties

To the world he seemed clean-cut

A white-collared man

He had a 9-6 job

Brought in six figures each year

To her mother and the world he was the perfect man

Religious, charitable, wealthy, and caring

But hidden beneath the perfection was a rapist

Who could she turn to

She was ten

Who would believe her

The world would think she is a child

She is lying

She is crazy

If she told people then she would loose her friends

Even her rapist told her he would take away her puppy or would hurt her little brother

So she took it

The rape of a daughter by her own father is unheard of

Talking about boundaries, sex, and what relationships are is taboo in the world

So little Sophie went on

Ten turned to eleven

Eleven turned to thirteen

Fourteen turned to sixteen

Sixteen turned to nineteen

The years went on by

The abuse never stopped

Her screams went unheard

No one heard

Not her brother, not her sister, not her mother, nor the world

As she grew older

the screams became silent

Silenced by the terror she felt

Her body would freeze or tremble when his footsteps approached

She felt like she was the same little Sophie whose innocence was stolen

But something else was now happening to her

Her Anger, fear, and terror turned into guilt and shame

She hated herself

She felt ashamed

She felt guilty

Somehow this ten year old turned nineteen year old woman blamed herself

Maybe she was cursed

Maybe she had done something to deserve her faith

That is when the self-harm began

She began to cut herself

It started with hitting her head because the painful thoughts would not stop

Then she started taking a blade and began cutting herself

It made her feel better

It eased the pain

But after the momentary release

She looked at her body and hated what she was doing to herself

She was going deeper and deeper into a dark abyss

The only way she felt she could get out was to kill herself

Yes, self-harm that exacerbated to the level of suicide

So, she meticulously planned her own suicide out

She left a note for her rapist, her own father

And jumped from the roof of the college where she would have been Class of 2011

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Perpetrators and Victim Alike?

A Letter To A Tampered Soul

Hey man I understand what you been through,
Even as I sit with this pencil,
I know it hurts when you’re shunned and neglected,
Walked over, frowned upon self-esteem contested,
So now you want to show that you are,
A man in a sense but you’re mentally scarred,
Going out, looking for your victims,
When you should be searching for some wisdom,
Don’t HATE! Don’t RAPE! Don’t convince them,
Only thinking bout how you gonna fix them,
Instead get a friend, talk to them, and get it out your system,

It’s time to just LISTEN!
Those people that you think you are fixing,
Is put inside of a traumatizing position,
They won’t feel the strength of a man,
They will only see a Perp with demands,
Right now it’s time to make a stand,
It’s time for you to truly understand,
Choosing Violence, Rape as a plan,
Will Never Ever make a distressed fella, a MAN!

Marc Rainey

This letter by Marc touched on so many key points in the issues of sexual assault!

*** Keep in mind this is a message by a man to another. A message to a perpetrator that was once a victim and is still a victim in different circumstances.

So there are some questions that arised from Mr Rainey's letter to this troubled man which are: Are you or should you be considered a man if you committed or thought of committing a sexual assault against another? Do perpetrators and victims share commonality in their struggles to heal?



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THE FACE OF SURVIVAL: A personal account of memories

*TRIGGER WARNING- This material may trigger traumatic experiences. Proceed with caution and indulge in great positive, supportive, self-care.*

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..."

I have a hard time finishing that song almost every time I sing it. It's still hard to hear. We used to sing that song day in and day out during my stay in the Fresh Air Fund camp. God how I hated that song.

"You make me hap-py when skies are gray..."

It was sung in the morning during mess hall. Oy, mess hall... where everyone within the camp congregated three times a day- breakfast, lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch, dinner... day in and day out. They gave us bullshit lines about counselors and campers gathering to bond.

"You'll never know dear, how much I love youuuu..."

Bond my ass.

Was it bonding when the counselors gave the campers unnatural stares? What about the communal prison like shower room that left no room for privacy and for a number of assaults to happen?


I didn't mean to leave her. We were the last few in the shower room. How was I to know those girls would come back? Erika said it was ok for me to go even though it was late and we were in trouble for not being back to bunk in time for curfew. She said it was ok....

They intercepted our letters. They sounded the horn when we organized an escape. "The boys camp, it's just across the lake", I said. How were we to know our plan would be thwarted and a tale spun to make us all liars to the camp Director?

"Please don't take my sunshine away..."

Erika was broken for telling. We all thought justice would prevail if we told. Once loads of fun, bright and beautiful, Erika was reduced to a swollen face and genitals.

The face of telling.

What the hell can I do? Mommy, why aren't you taking me seriously when I say something is terribly wrong and you need to come get me! This is not a co-ed camp! They lied to you! To US! As soon as we got here they split us- boys on one side of hundreds of acres separated by a large lake and backwoods, girls on the other. They sounded the sirens on us. They had effin' flood lights and a search team to find us.


He was a Junior when I was a Freshmen. All of the girls seemed to think he was cute. Tall, cute, Varsity bball team, why wouldn't I go out with him?

I felt the twinge that something was awry but I shoved that feeling aside. He was cute and status was all that mattered. So the first hit was kept secret. Besides, I didn't just stand there and take it, right? I hit his ass back!

He'd laugh at me.

I found myself wearing the clothes he said he liked, the colors he liked, wearing my hair the way he liked. No, I'm not controlled, after all, he didn't come in my house and make me do it, right?

He just strongly suggested.

I remember being in Spanish class with my new hair cut. Nina told me I looked cute. I got lots of compliments. Even Shawn and Maleek said so. And then he came in.

I didn't realize how nervous I was until someone pointed out to me that I looked sick.

He ignored me at first. What would he say? I didn't tell him that I would get it cut. That wouldn't be a problem right?

I got sassy with him in front of the entire class. Fuck you! I look good and I don't have to consult you to get my hair cut, who do you think you are? People were so happy for me.

Until he started choking me as we waited for the next period bell. It took Shawn and Maleek a considerable amount of time to get him off me.

I dumped him not long after that. Jamel told me I was strong. He said it was all over now. Not to worry.

Until my ex started his sweet talk again.

Wait, what the hell, isn't this supposed to be over?

I'd erased being trapped in the boys locker room after his practice... he told me to wait outside. Why the fuck did I believe him when he said he was alone in the locker room? I was so paralyzed I almost pissed my pants. They said they liked what they saw and that he was a lucky dude.

I never did get to thank the coach for yelling from the top of the stairs down into the locker room for his team taking too long to get their asses back to the gym for a talk. Did he know? Craig was outside the door and heard my screams. I think he told.

Thanks Craig.

Wait, shit, I wasn't supposed to remember that. He was still sweet. Like it was when he courted me, when I was the envy of a lot of girls. Just a Freshmen. How could I get such attention from a Junior?!

That summer he raped me.

I moved on, new boyfriend. Maleek was a sweetie. Surely he understands how to treat me?

Until the ex assaulted me again and Maleek said it was my fault for allowing him to follow me on my way back to class, the ex was his friend, and he KNOWS that I must've done something to make him think he could attempt to take what's his.


Maleek much later had a heart attack, or something like that. Changed his life and how he saw me. He said so himself.


What the fuck, a stalker?! Boy, I sure know how to pick 'em.

All I did was go to class with this dude! It was summer school for cryin' out loud. I didn't even like him! What kind of signal was I possibly giving off for me to get an "I LOVE YOU" card within 2 weeks of having class with this nitwit? "WE'LL BE TOGETHER FOREVER." Excuse me, WHAT?!

Oh grrreat, he's an ex-Marine. I told you those mofo's were crazier than a mad hatter!

"JEEEEEESUS keep, me NEEEEEAAAAR the crrrooosss..."

I never did get to properly thank Jepson for letting me ride the train downtown with him and making sure I crossed the platform at Park Place and that crazy mad hatter dude wasn't on the train waiting for me.

Thanks Jepson.


Oh fuck... remember the days when me and Bubbles had to divise plans to get away from overly aggressive X dudes?


She didn't get a day in the life of me until we had to run for our lives one night and got stalked by pimps a few times that followed us in their expensive cars.

Sigh. Life as a teen.


Well hell, what about when Re would have to drive me home from school because every time he left me in a particular spot, it would take me much longer to get home than anticipated because I had to lose a few unwanted followers.

Sigh. In that case, I should say life as a woman!


I'm finally at the place I'm supposed to be. The BA-MA Forensic Psych program was what I'd been looking for without knowing it. A BA in my beloved field? SCORE!

He was a cool dude. Funny as all hell, charming. Everybody liked him. Real people oriented kinda guy. Wildly impressive resume. How could somebody be that young and accomplish so much?

It started with comments. Awkward moments kept between me and him. Then he got comfortable with my group of homies... loved their presence as much as I did. Thought me and my home girl could take the playfulness. We were strong Black women right? Clearly we'd know he was just playing, right?

And then one day we talked about how inappropriate he was. We made all sorts of excuses. We DARED NOT to label it as sexual harassment. He was just playing. He didn't know better. He was young, a baby still.

I told the guy that I was crazy in love with as a friend. He's a good dude, great head on his shoulders. When I first met him, I told him he was going to go far. So far, my predictions have come true. I'm quite sure he'll make it to Harvard law. He told me it wasn't right. I knew he was right. I toiled over how to address the issue. WTF, my homegirl says she doesn't look at it that way. So why should I? I told him all about how he grabbed my ass one day, how he slid his hands up my thigh, how he wanted me to "show" him things. I told him how he told me that everybody knows he's not that kind of guy. I told him how he had it in for my little brother. He told me I was right to protect him, that WE must protect him.

I had enough. I was abusing myself by holding it in and advocating on behalf of others that had experienced what I was freshly going through. I can't stand liars, how can I be one by living a lie? I've got to tell, I've got to tell, I've got to tell...

It started with an email. The Administrator took it seriously, he knew something was wrong. I had just been in his and his boss' office the week prior and had a break down. His boss looked unsympathetically at me and said "Elischia, I don't want to EVER see you like this again. Just apologize to him. Do the unexpected. You two used to be close." I couldn't stop crying. He was lying on me because he knew I was fed up. I'd told him so...

When I told the Administrator what happened, he was red with anger. Maybe embarrassed that he was talking with my attacker about having some sort of joint venture between their non-profits and didn't know what kind of guy he was?

The Administrator's boss never said a word to me about it. She was angry when I became Chief Justice. Maybe because she saw what was coming down the pipeline?

Heh. I did.

My homegirl said she'd support me a hundred percent, that I was right to file a complaint. My little brother said he'd testify. My lovely friend told me I was brave and that he loved me. My other little brother was shocked but left decisions up to me. I warned them all of the possible consequences. I loved them, why wouldn't I?

My homegirl started acting funny. So did my little brother. My lovely friend appeared neutral but there was something I couldn't quite put my finger on....

They still kept in contact with him. As my case went on, they grew distant.

My homegirl looked remorseful. We took a DV intensive training and as we walked from 23rd-59th street, we debriefed. She told me she realized she was wrong for victim blaming. That it was hard to grapple with. She divulged and connected with me. We shared. My spirits were lifted.

The investigator said my homegirl didn't answer her calls. She said my lovely friend didn't get back to her. I chewed him out. He told me the investigator was lying. I believed him. After all, it had been 7 months and my case dragged. My Administrators that once vowed not to ever let an unjust thing befall on me waned in responses. Pretty soon I no longer had VIP access, I had to make an appointment.

Oh, excusssse me.

My lovely friend and I had a chat on aim. He finally admitted what I couldn't quite put my finger on. He said hurtful things. I thought he understood. He said he loved me. Well, I guess I can't be shocked, this is what I work against in the field right? My homegirl said she loved me and treated me like crap some days. I took it because I understood. We had connected on those walks to 59th street.

I told my lovely friend that I was saving the im. In it, he admitted my complaint was valid. Surely that's enough to prove my case along with other evidence of emails from my attacker?

I fought. HARD. My grades fell, my appearance waned and I still kept up my massive projects. On paper my life was great.

My tight circle knew how I really felt. Some outside the circle found out because I was a bursting balloon at times.

Boy was I pissed... someone in my org told me that at some point, I'd have to get over it. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? She'd vowed to help me, I'd asked for help, and some tried. Listening is not what I needed most, I had my tight circle for that. What I needed was people in their positions to mobilize help for me to fight the system. You know, what they claim they actually do?

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I won't even go there.

11 months later my case was closed. The Administrator had a heart to heart with me. He said that I already know how it is. It's the good 'ol boys club.

My attacker got off scott free and I was left with damaged relationships.

The crew died ever more quickly after that. My lovely friend still resented me, he was going to do great things with my attacker and he was forced to leave him alone because of appearances. I know he struggled with how everything went down. It bothered him. He doesn't like unresolved issues.

Poor Taurus.

My lovely friend went on to fulfill a dream that I helped him achieve more than any other human. I loved him, so why wouldn't I? I knew he struggled with how it all went down. I knew he resented me. But I helped him for the love of him and what he could be. That's what friends do, right?

Except the more I helped, the more he acted out. Just like my little brother had months before, just not as overtly.

My homegirl and I grew so distant that she didn't realize I'd known for months her intentions with my lovely friend. I worked hard to prepare him.

He didn't get it.

My homegirl worked hard to milk me on his vices.

She underestimated my loyalty to him.

Later, my lovely friend and I parted ways, he months and months prior to the close of my case and I, the summer after he fulfilled his dream.

He never thanked me, just showed me his ass as the old folks would say. "Di bwoy too big fo 'e britches nuh?"

He took for granted my ability to cover his indiscretions. I still did it long after we parted ways. Took hits for his seeming naivete. I knew better, but I was hoping the inner him I saw would push through.

Anyone in my close circle knows how this story proceeds....


What to do now?

Pick up the pieces. Laugh. Cry. Use the anger for the greater good.

I sure hope I'm living the survival life I want to project. I want people to feel empowered, emboldened by my presence. Always.


That was cathartic.

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