An Account of Sexual Assault at Amherst College
Issue   |   Wed, 10/17/2012 - 00:07

TRIGGER WARNING: This content deals with an account of sexual assault and may be triggering to some people.

When you’re being raped time does not stop. Time does not speed up and jump ahead like it does when you are with friends. Instead, time becomes your nemesis; it slows to such an excruciating pace that every second becomes an hour, every minute a year, and the rape becomes a lifetime.

On May 25, 2011, I was raped by an acquaintance in Crossett Dormitory on Amherst College campus.

Some nights I can still hear the sounds of his roommates on the other side of the door, unknowingly talking and joking as I was held down; it is far from a pleasant wakeup call.

I had always fancied myself a strong, no-nonsense woman, whose intense independence was cultivated by seventeen harrowing years of emotional abuse in my backwoods home. May 25th temporarily shattered that self-image and left me feeling like the broken victim that I had never wanted to be.

Everything I had believed myself to be was gone in 30 minutes.

I did not report the rape after it occurred. Almost immediately after the rape I flew off to California, got lost in the beauty of the redwoods, the phenomenal art, and meeting the most unique people I’d ever beheld.

I blocked the rape from my mind and tried to convince myself that it hadn’t happened; that it couldn’t have happened. But there was no denying the facts.

One week before I was supposed to fly back East, everything rushed over and consumed me. My memory had been restored and I wasn’t sure how I would be able to hold myself together for that year, let alone for the upcoming three years.

When I returned to Amherst for my sophomore year, I designed a simple plan of attack for surviving: Business as usual combined with a new mantra I will NOT cry.

First semester passed relatively well, there were rocky times, but I kept it together. I masked fear with smiles. I mastered the art of avoiding prying questions. I drowned myself in work and extracurricular activities in order to hide my personal pain. I was unnervingly good at playing the role of well-adjusted sophomore.

It was inevitable though that this masquerade would become too overwhelming and that my façade would shatter.

In February twisted fate decided that I had to work with him on a fundraiser. E-mails. Stopping me in the gym and at the dining hall. Smirks. Winks. Pats on my back. It was all too much.

My masquerade was over.

I broke down and for the next several months, he won.

I spent most of my spring semester an emotional wreck. I saw his face everywhere I went. I heard his voice mocking me in my own head. I imagined new rapists hiding behind every shower curtain and potted plant. I bandaged the situation by throwing myself into more work and by resolutely refusing to acknowledge that I was anything but well adjusted.

Eventually I reached a dangerously low point, and, in my despondency, began going to the campus’ sexual assault counselor. In short I was told: No you can’t change dorms, there are too many students right now. Pressing charges would be useless, he’s about to graduate, there’s not much we can do. Are you SURE it was rape? It might have just been a bad hookup…You should forgive and forget.

How are you supposed to forget the worst night of your life?

I didn’t know what to do any more. For four months I continued wandering around campus, distancing from my friends, and going to counseling center. I was continuously told that I had to forgive him, that I was crazy for being scared on campus, and that there was nothing that could be done. They told me: We can report your rape as a statistic, you know for records, but I don’t recommend that you go through a disciplinary hearing. It would be you, a faculty advisor of your choice, him, and a faculty advisor of his choice in a room where you would be trying to prove that he raped you. You have no physical evidence, it wouldn’t get you very far to do this.

Hours locked in a room with him and being called a liar about being raped? No thank you, I could barely handle seeing him from the opposite end of campus; I knew I couldn’t handle that level of negativity.

When May rolled around, everything finally came to a head. My “Anniversary” was coming up and all of the terror that I had intermittently felt that year became one giant ball of horror that filled my life. He was still out there. He could get to me again. If I told anyone he would find out and do it again. No, no, no, no, no.

For my independent studies photography course I produced a series of 20 self-portraits representing myself before, during, and after the rape.

I showed them to my classmates. Their words stung like hornets: You look funny…I don’t get it, why are you so upset?

I went to the counseling center, as they always tell you to do, and spoke about how genuinely sad I was at Amherst, how much I wanted to leave, and how scared I was on a daily basis. “I should just drink darkroom developer or something…”

Twenty minutes later campus police was escorting me into an ambulance. They were even less understanding: There’s something seriously wrong with you; you’re not healthy and normal right now. No, you can’t say no. You HAVE to go, but don’t worry, you won’t have to be there too long. This is for your own good. Amherst cares about you and wants you to get better.

On May 5th I entered Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s Emergency Room. Three hours after sitting curled up and terrified on a hospital bed I was admitted into the Psychiatric Ward for depression and suicidal thoughts. The doctor was skeptical to say the least: I really don’t think that a school like Amherst would allow you to be raped. And why didn’t you tell anybody? That just doesn’t make any sense...Your anger and sadness right now seem unfounded and irrational, someone your age should not be this sad—it’s not normal. We’ll be admitting you in a few minutes, they’ll take good care of you. They’ll get you some drugs and they’ll make you feel happy again…If you don’t willingly enter we’ll have a judge issue a court order legally forcing you to stay there. Trust us, this is for your own good.

So much for not having to stay.

The Psychiatric Ward was a lovely place: the top floor of the hospital, bare white walls, Spartan furnishings, and two stainless steel locked doors at either end of the corridor making sure that anyone who goes in, stays in. Doctors and Nurse Practitioners wondered around the bare hallways checking in on myself and my fellow patients—every fifteen minutes they recorded where we were, what we were doing, and whether we looked happy. In the morning we were given our drugs; if you didn’t take them you would have to be there longer. It was in our best interest to take them, so they told us.

During the day we discussed our thoughts and feelings, our inhibitions, our strengths, but more often than not we did nothing.

When you’re forced to sit and think about yourself for hours on end, you go through four stages of existence.

Stage 1: Hysteria—Characterized by denying that anything is wrong, “I’m perfectly fine” and “I don’t belong here,” are common phrases during this stage.
Stage 2: Numb and Ornery—You have finally realized that something is wrong with you, but you are overwhelmed and confused about how to go about fixing your problem. You therefore decide not to do anything.
Stage 3: Determination—You realize that the only way you’re allowed to leave the Ward is if you “get better” and “solve your problems.” Every fiber of your being thus goes into these two tasks.
Stage 4: Enlightenment—Everything falls into place. Your mind is no longer an oppressive hell and it begins to function again. The outside world no longer seems so daunting.

You are then permitted to leave.

My Enlightenment occurred when I least expected it. Four days into the Ward, I was sitting in on an introductory Substance Abuse and Mental Health Rehabilitation meeting since there was absolutely nothing better to do. To start us off, the meeting leader decided to have everyone go around and talk about why we were on the Ward. We went around the circle: hours in rehab, drug relapses, alcoholism, abusive boyfriends, being an abusive boyfriend, and escapism from the stresses of daily life. The stories weren’t the superficial accounts that you read in a person’s medical file; they were real life. Every problem, every ounce of frustration, every personal tick was laid bare that evening. And everyone was open, not proud, just blunt and sincere; the desire to improve their lives was palpable.

Over the past four days, I had yet to touch upon “what I was in for,” my story was a mystery to everyone around me.

As my fellow patients went around the circle it all suddenly clicked. I realized why I never spoke about the rape, why I had refused to tell my school friends, why I had totally broken down, why I had steadily degenerated over the past few months. I was ashamed, and because of this shame I could not begin healing.

“Silence has the rusty taste of shame,” a fellow survivor once wrote.

I had been far too silent, far too ashamed.

That night I told them everything.

For the first time I told my story and I was not ashamed.

Later that night, as I lay in bed—still in an adrenaline induced state of wakefulness—I heard my roommate whisper my name, and then, a question.

“Are you still awake?”


“Thought so…”

A long pause. She’d been in the meeting.

What was she thinking? What would she say?

“I just wanted to tell you, I…I know how it feels. My uncle raped me when I was 15. The police never arrested him. Rape “wasn’t their top priority.” It still hurts…You’re incredibly brave to talk about it…I rarely do.”

She was 42 years old.

I did not sleep. That night I realized that from then on I could not stay silent—if not for myself, then for my roommate.

I had reached the apex of Stage 4.

I decided that once I was released I would continue with my plans to study abroad that upcoming semester; I would be rejuvenated when I returned to campus in the winter, ready to take on the world and fight for survivor rights.

I would be strong again.

From the moment I woke, this plan hit one pitfall after another; a domino effect of roadblocks that continued for the next three months.

I sat at breakfast in bright spirits, attempting to carry on a conversation with a manic depressive woman who rarely talked. I was so genuinely happy that her lack of responses didn’t even bother me—I just talked at her.

In the middle of my stimulating conversation my harried looking social worker suddenly strode into the dining room and headed purposefully over to me.

She looked grim and angry. “They’re trying to prevent you from going back.”

I was shocked.

She began rattling off the Administration’s policy regarding students released from psychiatric care. In order for students to be allowed back they had to have parental supervision while on campus in order to make sure that the student did not relapse into substance abuse again (the most common reason for student admittance into the Ward). This meant that a parent would stay in a hotel near campus and would then follow their child around for two weeks until the “all clear” period was reached. “And since you don’t have parents…”

She trailed off awkwardly and began to resolutely examine the upper left-hand corner of the dining room.

I must have been speechless for a good minute as a bizarre series of emotions plowed me over.

Shock to incredulity, back to shock, to sadness to anger, back to shock again, then back to sadness, and then an overwhelming amount of shame and embarrassment settled over me. I’m not worthy of even going back; that’s how disgusting I am. I can’t even step foot on campus…

Panic welled up inside of me.

Did this mean I was trapped on the Ward forever? God, no, I couldn’t handle that. I wasn’t crazy!

Claustrophobia and paranoia dropped on top of me and I wildly scanned the room. I met my roommate’s eyes. She was looking at me with worry: What’s wrong?

The room stopped spinning, the walls went back to their normal locations, I could breathe again, and now I was angry. I told her flat out: Let me get this straight. I was raped on their campus. I had an emotional breakdown because I didn’t feel safe and felt harassed on their campus. I went to their counseling center, like they told me to, and I told them how I was feeling. They decided that I should be sent to the hospital. And now they won’t allow me back on their campus? They allow rapists back on campus, but they won’t allow the girl who was raped back? The girl who did nothing wrong.

She told me: Well, when you put it that way…

The maniacal grin on my social worker’s face as she walked off was wonderful.

Needless to say, Amherst let me back on campus later that evening. Five days after being admitted, I was finally released from the Ward.

The car ride back to campus with my dean was, also needless to say, the most awkward car ride of my life. I looked at her: You know, I’m really glad that y’all let me back on campus, for a while there I was pretty worried and I was actually preparing an argument for why I should be allowed back…

Her response: No, no, no! That’s not what happened, you must have just misunderstood the situation! We’re so happy to have you back! Amherst is just such a wonderful place, we know you’ll be happy to be back!

A big misunderstanding, I was skeptical.

In the following days I decided that my best policy when dealing with Amherst at the moment would be “let’s let bygones be bygones.” I quickly forgave the Administration and focused on just being happy to be out. On the inside though I was still dripping with anger, shame, and embarrassment.

Several days after my release I had to defend my chance to study abroad. My chance to leave campus for the first time in 8 months, my chance to relax and heal in a new environment, my biggest chance to revive my love of Amherst, and my chance to move on in life by studying what I truly love. The prospect had gotten me through the most frigid hours on the Ward and I was convinced that it would be the perfect way to continue my healing process.

I half-heartedly murmured, Your actions were understandable. I understand your policy when dealing with depression and students coming out of the Psychiatric Ward…during the meeting that included my dean and several of the campus counselors. Relief instantly flashed across all of their faces and the atmosphere rose in friendliness.

Then: The Ward was the best thing that could have happened to me. I have re-found my love of life and my desire to heal. I will never be 100% better, but I no longer feel like a victim. I’m a survivor, I’m strong, and I think that studying abroad will help me continue healing. When I return in the winter I’ll have a greater understanding of myself and a greater appreciation of Amherst.

They responded with enthusiasm: Of course! Very coherent explanation. You seem much happier, which is wonderful! We agree that going abroad and getting off campus will do you good.

Study abroad here I come!

I felt genuinely happy for the first time in a year, and I could not wait to head out.

At Amherst though, things are never that easy.

A few weeks after my release from the Ward I had a routine check-in with my dean to make sure that I was still doing well. I was excited to be leaving soon, and I must have looked quite content, sitting in her office with a million watt smile and bright eyes. I began to rattle on about how nice the warm weather was, how beautiful commencement had been, how great life was, on and on. She seemed distracted: Nod, nod…Mhmmm…Well, excellent! I’m so glad to hear that you’re excited about the upcoming summer here. I know how much you wanted to study abroad and how much work you must’ve put into it, but really, it’s for the best. Africa is quite traumatizing, what with those horrible third-world conditions: disease…huts…lions! You’ll be much better off here at Amherst where we can watch over you. It will give you some time to think about…you know…that…unfortunate incident…

My face was blank. “I’m supposed to go to Cape Town, South Africa…” Her response broke me down: Yes dear, I know. You were supposed to study in Africa. It’s all for the best that you aren’t though.

No one ever told me flat out that I would no longer be studying abroad. Not even the study abroad dean told me. I scheduled a meeting with her for two days after the meeting with my dean.

A few minutes after exchanging pleasantries she asked: What are your plans for the summer now that you’re on campus?

For the month of June I was decrepit, nothing could perk me up. I returned to feeling the embarrassment and shame that had consumed me before going onto the Ward. If I hadn’t told anyone about what happened I’d be abroad…If I had been stronger…If I wasn’t such a failure…This is all my fault, I really am just a broken, polluted piece of shit…

Living was difficult. Each day I woke up and wandered around in a daze. At night I stared blank faced at a wall and curled up in my chair in a fetal position. I couldn’t talk with people. If I talk with them they might become infected with my dirtiness.

I stopped eating. I stopped sleeping. I secretly hoped that one day on a run my heart would just stop and no one would have to see me again. I wasn’t worth anything anyway.
I continued having to meet with my dean; she blamed my sadness on not being allowed to study abroad, but I knew that it wasn’t that simple. I could live with not being allowed to go to South Africa at the moment, the country would be there for a while, but being forced to stay on campus in a dorm populated with men I did not know, that was the real psychological issue. Every time I told my dean that I didn’t feel safe on campus, that I wanted to be allowed to leave , or at least be put in a different dorm, I received the same unhelpful responses that I had received in February. They told me: You were lucky to be given a room here this summer in the first place, housing is tight right now and you really shouldn’t complain. All of your fear is ungrounded, Amherst is one of the safest places imaginable…If we let you leave campus we won’t know what mental and emotional place you’ll exist in when you return in September; you could become completely unstable! At Amherst we can monitor you, and, if need be, strongly suggest time off when the school year rolls around…

I felt like a prisoner, or, more accurately, like a harem girl. My jail was luxurious and openair, I was free to move about, the ruling power judged my worth on a weekly basis, and I was constantly reminded how lucky I was to be there.

One night, after a particularly rough meeting with my dean (I just don’t understand why you’ve been so angry throughout all of this. You have no reason to be angry about anything.), I was curled up on my floor—I wasn’t thinking, I didn’t feel anything.

I went over to the mirror on the back of my door and stared. What had happened to the girl who had come off of the Ward so empowered and strong; the girl who decided to no longer be silent and feel shamed? Where had she gone?

I went over to my desk and picked up a brochure I had been given about a survivor center at UMass Amherst. I gave an exaggerated sigh. Might as well…I called the number and made an appointment for the next day.

I went back to the mirror and stared at myself again.

For the next 15 minutes I repeated: “Silence has the rusty taste of shame.”

I walked over to my computer, typed up an email, hesitated for a second, and then pressed send.

I had just sent my entire sports team an email-rant about my rape and subsequent breakdown at the end of spring.

It was about time people began to realize that Amherst wasn’t just majestic dorms and world-class professors.

It was about time I resumed the silent pact that I had made to my roommate on the Ward.

I will not be quiet.

The next few weeks were a blur of unending days spent resolutely working to feel better (A friend told me: You can’t help other people if you feel like shit).

I was able to sleep again. I ate more. I went to free therapy sessions. I wrote and mindlessly colored in order to ground myself. I obsessively made lists of all the things imaginable. I joined a survivor group. I cried less and smiled a bit more.

I started healing.

It took a month of hard work until I was noticeably doing better. My friends, my therapist, my coworkers, and my fellow survivor group members all started commenting on how much healthier and happier I looked. I still felt uncomfortable and oppressed while surrounded by men on campus, but I was no longer afraid to leave my room after 7 p.m. I was determined to love Amherst again.

Life was tolerable.

Early July and I had another meeting with my dean: You look like you’re doing better today. Well done, I’m so glad to see this kind of improvement! I think it’s safe to assume that you can come back next semester, and in that regard I think that it’s time that we talk about your time at Amherst over the next two years…I know you want to do African Studies through the Five Colleges, but I don’t think I can support that decision. Africa is very traumatizing and I think that studying Africa is just a way for you to relive your real-life traumas; it’s just not a good place to be studying.

Over the next thirty minutes several more restrictions were laid out: no Five College classes this upcoming year, no study abroad in the spring, definitely no senior year thesis, I would have to meet with a counselor twice a week, and friends off campus would have to be pushed to the wayside. She told me: Amherst is the only place that matters, and, really, you don’t have a family, so where else would you go? Amherst is the only place that you can be.

At the end of our conversation I grunted out a vapid response and headed straight to my room. I sat on my bed, million-mile-gazed at the wall, and thought.

What was the point of staying at Amherst? I had been stuck on campus for eleven months straight; each day had been more challenging and emotionally draining than the previous one. I had been feeling better recently, but each time I met with my dean I felt more emotionally distraught than I had beforehand. Her comments reminded me that in the Administration’s eyes I was the most base individual: a poor and parentless humanities major who was the school’s token-Deep-Southerner. I was sullied, blameworthy, and possibly insane.

I made a Pros and Cons of Amherst List.

The Pro List had seven items.

The Con List had twenty-three items.

On July 14th I made one of the hardest decisions of my life.

I was going to withdraw from Amherst.

That next week I threw myself into finding a way out. Plans were made, plans were broken, Plan B was made, and finally Plan B was successful!

I did not tell the Administration for fear that they would somehow sabotage me. It was probably paranoid, but after being prevented from leaving campus multiple times I was not going to take any chances. The conversation went similarly to this:

“I’m withdrawing from Amherst.”

That was my greeting to my dean when I met with her in late July.

The look of complete shock on her face was priceless. When she recovered: So you’re taking a semester off? That’s perfectly ok, many survivors do, I think it’s best that you do what you…

No, I’m withdrawing, permanently. I ain’t planning on ever coming back. I’m going to transfer to another school after taking a semester off to travel around.

You can’t…You…Nobody withdraws. Where are you going to go? You don’t have parents. What are you going to do?

I’m working on a Dude Ranch in Wyoming.

…I didn’t think you’d be able to figure out a plan…Well, we technically won’t withdraw you from the school until three years have passed. After three years we’ll double-check to make sure that you really want to withdraw and then we’ll remove you from our current-students system.

No, I just want you to withdraw me. I don’t want to come back, I don’t want to be affiliated with your school anymore. I’m sick of this place.

I think you need to meet with our sexual assault counselor again, you’re way too angry right now and not thinking clearly. I have a feeling you’ll change your mind and come back. Amherst is one of the best schools out there, it will be a transfer down unless you go to an Ivy…

You know, I have I feeling that I won’t want to come back, but that’s just a hunch.

As my dean suggested, I met with our sexual assault counselor a few days later. The meeting was uncharacterizeable by one word, but bizarre might be the closest description: This is a bad idea, you’re not thinking straight.

I didn’t understand this. I’d been thinking about this for quite a while; I was unhappy at Amherst and I didn’t understand why I should stay at a place where I was absolutely miserable. There are other places in the world.

The next two hours was a hodgepodge of topics: Your lack of parental support makes you emotionally volatile and prevents you from following through with decisions that you make.

Apparently I had decided not to study abroad. Then there was bizarre ‘concern:’You don’t look very healthy. Have you been eating? I think you might have an eating disorder. You know there’s a great clinic in Northhampton where we can send you for in-patient eating disorder treatment.

I don’t have an eating disorder; I used to have one, I know what they’re like. I don’t eat a lot because I can’t afford to buy food.

Then the ranch came up: Do you realize how difficult working on a Dude Ranch will be? The people in Wyoming are different from the people at Amherst, they won’t be well-educated, and they won’t understand you. You’re going to a backwards place. Do you realize how bad it will be?

Yes, because the rest of the US is filled with ignorant savages who haven’t been saved by the light of Amherst. How would I ever survive?

To the counselor’s great surprise, these stellar arguments did not convince me to stay at Amherst. I became even more resolute about my decision to leave, and decided to talk with the Victim Rights Law Center, a pro-bono law firm based in Boston that my survivor group had recommended to me several weeks earlier. My preliminary intake with the VRLC was quite eye-opening: Oh Amherst? Yeah, unfortunately I know Amherst all too well. I’ve been down there many times to deal with the administration and their constant mistreatment of survivors. Our law firm keeps trying to force them to change but they just don’t seem to understand, they keep doing the same old thing.

Amherst has almost 1800 students; last year alone there were a minimum of 10 sexual assaults on campus. In the past 15 years there have been multiple serial rapists, men who raped more than five girls, according to the sexual assault counselor. Rapists are given less punishment than students caught stealing. Survivors are often forced to take time off, while rapists are allowed to stay on campus. If a rapist is about to graduate, their punishment is often that they receive their diploma two years late.

I eventually reported my rapist.

He graduated with honors.

I will not graduate from Amherst.

The stories and statistics are miles long in regards to sexual assault on campus. My story is far from unique, and, compared to some of the stories I have heard, is tame.
The more that I learn about Amherst’s policy toward sexual assault and survivors in general, the more relief I feel in deciding to transfer. How could I stay at a school who had made my healing process not just difficult, but impossible? How could I stand knowing that the Administration promotes silence? How could I spend the next two years made to feel dirty and at fault?

I could not.

At one point I hated Amherst with an indescribable amount of fury, but I do not hate the school anymore. Amherst took a lot from me, but they gave me some of the greatest gifts imaginable: self-confidence, my closest friends, intellectual curiosity, and endless personal strength. For these things I am forever grateful. For everything else, I stand back and behold the college with a feeling of melancholia.

The fact that such a prestigious institution could have such a noxious interior fills me with intense remorse mixed with sour distaste. I am sickened by the Administration’s attempts to cover up survivors’ stories, cook their books to discount rapes, pretend that withdrawals never occur, quell attempts at change, and sweep sexual assaults under a rug. When politicians cover up affairs or scandals the masses often rise up in angry protestations and call for a more transparent government. What is the difference between a government and the Amherst College campus? Why can’t we know what is really happening on campus? Why should we be quiet about sexual assault?

“Silence has the rusty taste of shame.”

There is no reason shame should be a school’s policy.

UPDATE: President Carolyn "Biddy" Martin has released a statement concerning this article and the follow-up steps being taken by the administration regarding sexual assault:

M (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/22/2012 - 01:24

You have my support Angie.

KatSprat1 (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/22/2012 - 09:13

I'm afraid this happens a lot. It's so easy to lose a police report (or two). There are rules about reporting assault/crime on campus stats (per the Cleary Act), but they're unenforceable. And stats don't help people. People help people. University administrators have too many incentives to make vics STFU.

Thank you for writing this. You're very brave. Feel free to DM me on Twitter if you ever want to talk. I believe you, I think the world of you, and I'm always happy to listen.

KatSprat1 (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/22/2012 - 10:09

Is here:

Trigger warning last video at least. (I was listening and clicking through and not watching up to that point. Geez, P!nk can be graphic.)

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/22/2012 - 13:05

its unbelievable !!!
u are u brave,i support u
i don't understand why school didn't take actions,but i think either school or the boy should be shameful

Kat (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/22/2012 - 14:09

As a college girl myself, thank you for sharing your story. I can't possibly imagine what you've been through, and the hell you've faced because of it. Thank for you sharing this, what you've done will probably change the course of events in that college, and many colleges to come. Or at least, the general population won't let it fizzle down. I wish you the absolute best for your future, and the guy who graduated with honors should rot in hell for the rest of his life.

Emily (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/22/2012 - 15:11

Thank you for not remaining silent. You are brave.

Fight rape culture!

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/22/2012 - 17:28

This is the saddest story I have ever heard! So Disappointed in Amherst!!!!

Obie '15 (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/22/2012 - 17:41

Thank you so much for speaking out! I've never been sexually assaulted at Oberlin but back when there was an anonymous online public forum a repeated topic was people who had been sexually assaulted asking for advice; almost all of it was to avoid the counseling center and the administration. I hope your experiences at the very least inspire nationwide change in sexual assault policy, it's so badly needed. So much love and respect from Oberlin

Juliana (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/22/2012 - 17:56

Women need to believe they can prevent rape to feel safe in the world. So when they read these stories they point out what the victim could have, should have done - because they, we, want to believe if we are simply careful enough - we will never be violated. Not true at all. We can do everything "right" and still be raped. That a victim has to hear otherwise is re-victimizing and obscene.
Men are not wild animals that we should have to handle with care and keep clear of - they are human beings fully responsible for their actions. Nothing makes rape permissible.

Your story is so inspiring - you left Amherst - you saw through the bs script that wrote for you and believed there was another way to be successful and happy and safe.

You don't need to be so grateful to Amherst though. You are an incredibly bright, courageous and strong woman - you would have learned those things and made great friends anywhere you had gone. You got those things on your own. And if things had been different, and right, you would've gotten them without also getting raped by both an individual animal and a university administration.

sz (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/22/2012 - 19:12

This is horrible. I am speechless; how could school administrators be so blind? You are so brave.

Ephraim (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/22/2012 - 19:18

Unfortunately, people seem to be focusing on the post of one imbecile (who may or may not really be part of a campus sexual assault prevention organization) rather than the original story here.

I'd like to comment on the story itself.

I have not read every comment, so this may be redundant, but one important thing to remember when attempting to deal with college administrations in situations like this, is that they often deal with Angie's situation as "risk management" issues rather than confronting the facts on a human basis.

In fact, justice and the well-being of a student may frequently take a back set to lawsuit avoidance strategies.

Let's say that you are a dean and an incident like this arises. Rather than doing the "right thing", the first thing you may do as a dean is contact the college's legal counsel. There may even be a standard protocol which requires you to do this. The college's in-house counsel's mission is not to seek justice, but to protect the interests of the college corporation.

There are 2 ways a legal counsel may act to protect the college corporation:

1. ensure that the incident does not make it past the college border and become a part of the public record (damaging the college's reputation and ability to continue to receive students, donations, grants, etc.),

2. minimize the likelihood of a civil negligence lawsuit against the college corporation.

Both ends can be served by discouraging the student from filing a police report, from going to outside resources, etc. The #1 above is obvious: if the student doesn't file a police report, then the incident never gets into the public record. #2 is more subtle. If you don't file a police report, the likely success of a civil lawsuit against the school is reduced.

But it gets worse and more brutal. The likely success of a civil lawsuit against the school is further reduced if the student is committed to a mental health institution, which further undermines her credibility in any future legal action. Thus, the administration has a vested interest in sending security to the student's room and getting her to agree to check in to Cooley Dickinson under the false pretense that it is "voluntary" when in fact it is not.

Unfortunately, this is right out of the playbook of a despotic regime - demonize the victims or dissenters by forcing them into the mental health system to undermine their credibility.

If this sounds like something that "colleges wouldn't do," well...this is the age of risk management, and the major techniques of risk management are control of the message, avoidance of the legal system, setting up situations to deflect against lawsuits, to discredit whistleblowers, etc.

My point is that in situations like this, do not expect the college to be on your side, as their primary goal is not supporting and assisting the student, but protecting the continues existence of the college corporation against all threats.

Obviously, they need to put up a big facade of caring and looking out for your best interest, but doesn't it seem odd that their definition of "your best interest" happens to be the version that also absolves them of all blame, reduces liability for a negligence lawsuit, and keeps their name out of the public records and court systems?

It really is unfortunate, and it took me a couple decades for me to figure this all out (sadly), but notwithstanding the lofty rhetoric and the free t-shirts when you arrive on campus first year, you're really being cycled through a corporation for a few years, and any threats to the corporation are treated the same way as a corporation like Pepsi or WalMart would treat threats.

One difference is that WalMart and Pepsi are accountable to their stockholders and the SEC. Institutions such as Amherst can employ the less ethical techniques such as discouraging students from filing a police report or forcing them into mental health institutions, all without being held accountable.

Obviously me thought have no bearing on what happened here,but may help someone in the future: the college is ultimately not your friend or someone who will protect you. It will primarily protect itself.

The best course of action in situations like this is to go to an outside counseling service or the local police - NOT the college "system" which will immediately trigger all sorts of risk management procedures designed to shut you down, deflect you, mute you, demonize you, control you, etc.

Elise (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/22/2012 - 20:23

Well, I don't think I have anything to add to the raging discussion here. Everything i would have said has been, more or less, said.

However, I do want to say...

Angie, you are AWESOME! I am so proud of you for standing up for yourself and speaking the truth, loud and clear. Tell and tell and tell and tell. Love and Blessings to you and all your endeavors.

Erica Ward (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/22/2012 - 20:41

This article and even more so the comments bother me. There are three things going on here. The rape itself, the way the University treated her afterward, and the rape-enabling culture that sweeps these accusations under the rug. There is no question the university treated her despicably. But look a little closer to this rape and its relation to that rape-enabling culture. The writer deliberately tells us little about the circumstances of the rape. We know that it took place in a dorm room while there were people about and the rapist was an acquaintance, so we know she was not forcibly abducted and brought to the room, that she and he entered the room voluntarily. Then nothing until a few months later she goes to the administration and says she has been raped. By that time there is no possibility of finding any corroborating evidence. I am a woman. When she says she has been raped I tend to believe her, but I am old enough and have known enough men and women to know that women do not always tell the truth and men do not always lie. I have a girlfriend who, after a few drinks, will brag about lying through her teeth during a bitter divorce, in order to screw her scumbag husband who was cheating on her. I was not in that dorm room and I did not see what happened, and neither did any of those angry commentators who are so certain they know what happened. I believe her, but I know that without any witnesses or supporting evidence, there is absolutely no way the school could have legally punished the rapist. Certainly if she had reported it, it might have gotten swept under the rug, and going through a rape investigation is humiliating and may be futile. But because she did not report it when they could have run a rape kit on her, she make it certain he would escape punishment, and so in her own way she contributed to that culture that makes rape possible. We women are in a difficult bind. If we make a stand it will certainly be painful and humiliating and may well be futile, but unless we do so, nothing will change.

Devorah (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/22/2012 - 23:20

Thank you for surviving and flourishing. Thank you for telling your story which I read with such sadness. Human beings have the ability to create magnificent paintings and music and art, and to make war and unleash horrors on one another. What a beautiful and painful article Thank you for being brave.

Caitlin (not verified) says:
Tue, 10/23/2012 - 00:07

...for your bravery. For not giving up. For making yourself known, so that others can be encouraged to speak out against injustices. Thank you.

Sheri (not verified) says:
Tue, 10/23/2012 - 00:27


The worst is behind you, but never gone. What you have accomplished by speaking up, being published, is making a difference in present & future females lives as the ultimate in a parallel universe.

You are helping your future self from having an administration rape you a second, third and fourth time.

Thank you Biddy for stepping up to the plate of horrendous leftovers you have been served. With strong leadership, Amherst has the opportunity to shine as an example of wrong made right. Because Angie spoke up, and transparency was there to publish her words, change is on the horizon. The truth is, this school did start out as a school for gentlemen. A real gentleman would never do such a thing, and it seems that thought prevailed, since surely Amherst would never admit a rapist.

In a perfect world, this young male idiotic soul, would not be allowed to return to the scene of the crime. Can he be counseled that it would be in his best interest to never show up at reunions? It could be like the "advice/counsel" Angie received.

What about HIM? Does he then go on to do the same in his line of business? Is his style of business the same as his style of rape? Only in this, he has his Amherst degree plastered on his wall, and the signatures of those who encouraged him. The same ones who tried to erase the courage from her?

Biddy, you and your team can remember that part of your great diversity, is that of the female, entering into an environment originally masculine. I have met you. I KNOW that you are the right woman for the job.

Angie, keep healing, and speaking up. It does get better, but is a part of your fiber. Check in with, the Rape and Incest National Network. Your ability to share even more could serve you and others well. But also, you are not your rape. It is only one facet of your life, and like the cuts on a diamond, will make you sparkle even more as years and experiences add more brilliance to how your shape yourself.

I thank you- because of your story, I remembered I have the ability to help others. I jumped off the fence and signed up to volunteer with RAINN.

You are already living an incredible life, surfing thru some serious real world issues that make for incredible character. Keep on surfing and remember, living a wonderful life of meaning is the best antidote to other people's idiocies. Forgiveness is your friend, but don't let her convince you that change isn't possible.

Best Always,


Alex (not verified) says:
Tue, 10/23/2012 - 06:48

Stop having arguments on how to stop rape. Thats really not what I got out of this article. She barely mentions the actual rape so noone is able to determine if she was able to shout for help, if she was able to ask him to stop, etc etc etc. So stop assuming she didnt do all she could and stop assuming that the guy didnt know it was wrong and needs to be educated. Some people are evil. End of.

The article is about the lack of support and care the college gave. My god, its amazing that the establishment thought this was a good idea. Rape is hard to talk about so perhaps that was their safety net but now its out, I wouldnt be surprised if they saw a huge drop in intake. A college that almost encourages rape? Wow. And the follow up letter from the Dean. I dont know about the US, but there are charges in the UK for aiding rapists. That is what these people did.

I urge you all to get this article seen by the larger media. And now. With any luck, more people will step forward with names of attackers, and they will have their degrees suspended until a judge can determine the validity of the claims. Meanwhile, the entire higher staff of the college should be publicly disgraced for gross violation of trust and care. Just because its college doesnt mean the University isnt responsible for its students in the same way a school is.

From across the pond, I am sure I speak for all of us when I say that this girl, and all survivors, victims and students in general, male and female, have our whole hearted support in their search for justice and a better environment for the future. Good luck, and thank you for speaking out.

Anne (not verified) says:
Tue, 10/23/2012 - 14:14

In light of the fact that the rape wasn't reported for a full year after its supposed occurrence, in light of the fact that the roommates of the accused clearly haven't come forward reporting any strange behavior on her part on the night in question (or it would be mentioned, I'm sure), in light of the fact that there is no physical evidence whatsoever of this supposed rape...what would you have the school, the police, and the criminal justice system do in this case?

Put another way, are you really arguing for a system in which, despite lack of physical evidence, despite an excessive amount of time elapsing between the supposed crime and its reporting, despite lack of witnesses, a report of rape should be met with prosecution? Are you really suggesting tearing down our criminal justice system, and its foundation of innocent until proven guilty, in the case of rape?

What was this school to do? With regard to her being hospitalized, she admits making a suicidal statement. Had the school not acted on that statement, and had she actually attempted or succeeded at suicide, you would be up-in-arms about the school's lack of intervention. With regard to the rape accusation, in light of the complete and total lack of evidence or witnesses, and in light of the duration of time that passed before reporting, should they have immediately suspended the man? Do you not see how this is in total violation of the assumption of innocence until proven otherwise that is so critical to our freedom?

Amherst Alumna ... (not verified) says:
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 04:09

But I am an also alumna of Amherst College. Which has let this shit happen since co-education began. The reason that this incident hits a nerve is that, if you know the College, you know it wouldn't have mattered if she had all the corroborating evidence in the world.

John (not verified) says:
Tue, 10/23/2012 - 14:30

I really don't think we can teach psychopaths not to rape as some have suggested. I think we need to teach those who try to rape will face either deadly or freedom ending consequences 100% of the time. I don't know how to do that, but I doubt education will keep rapists from acting on their sick desires. Maybe years of therapy and drugs, but I don't think simply saying rape is bad guys so don't do it, will convince rapists not to rape. They know exactly what they are doing and that it is evil and that is exactly why they do it.

Rebecca Peterson (not verified) says:
Tue, 10/23/2012 - 16:25

THANKS to Angie Epifano for your courage to speak out in your eloquently written, heart-wrenching yet hopeful article! You are wonderful!
Students of Amherst College, here is a chance to begin healing and to rectify wrong attitudes about violence on women: Rise up and Dance! One Billion Rising is a worldwide movement that will take place on Feb 14, can organize an it for Angie! For all the women and girls! ENOUGH!

Hayden (not verified) says:
Tue, 10/23/2012 - 19:05

To the author of this piece,
Thank you a million times over for sharing your story. I was gay bashed on my campus last year; I got death threats, I was assaulted, I couldn't go anywhere without feeling like I was in jeopardy. The administration said there was nothing they could do without video evidence. I tried to kill myself and I was kicked out for being disruptive. Thank you so much for letting me know I am not crazy, I am not alone, and that I will survive. You are a beautiful person, and I commend you on your incredible bravery, perseverance, and self assurance. Please never be silent.

Concerned Reader (not verified) says:
Tue, 10/23/2012 - 21:50

Everyone seems to be having a really great time self-righteously bashing the kid who suggested that perhaps, circumstances permitting, assuming that she could, it might have been a good idea to call for help. We don't know what actually happened as the author does not (understandably) provide details. We do not know, as some commenter assume, that the perpetrator verbally threatened her, covered her mouth, beat her, or did anything else that either prevented her from calling out for help to students outside the door. Now let's hypothetically assume that this was not the case, and that the victim could in fact have called out. I think all would agree that the chances would have gone up considerably that the rape would have been prevented or stopped. This is a fact. This is not victim-blaming. Nobody is suggesting that the victim is to blame for this crime. Nowhere is it being suggested that the rapist should not be punished for his crime. However, it seems eminently reasonable advice that if you are worried that you are about to be raped, and there is the opportunity to call out for assistance (I believe rape whistles are carried by millions specifically for this purpose), you should. Obviously not in all cases will you have the ability to. This isn't victim blaming. It's the same as saying "if someone is breaking into your house you should call the police if you can". Again, its more than likely that the author did NOT have the ability to call out for help for whatever reason. However, why are we piling onto the kid who says calling for help is a good idea when possibly? Seems misguided.
The other aspect of his comment which is drawing a lot of criticism was his suggestion that perhaps the rapist was unaware that he was committing a crime. This seems completely off-base given that the he was "holding down" the victim. The very fact that he felt the need to hold her down suggests to a reasonable person that she was struggling and that the sex certainly was unequivocally not consensual. The author of the comment certainly should have read a little more carefully here before making such claims. However, this being said, his more general point that an assertive no could go a long way towards preventing rapes, seems again to be sound advice. Again, looking at this case, if what the author says is true about being held down it seems pretty obvious that this individual knew precisely what he was doing (what a scumbag). However, I think we'll all agree that not all rapes are violent, not all rapes involve the overt use of force or threat of force and that at times consent (or lack thereof) is not entirely clear. Yes, it is the responsibility of the male to ask for consent, but thinking realistically about this subject, there ARE instances in which an individual does NOT overtly say "no" and the other individual mistakenly assumes consent. Is it unlikely? Yes, of course. But does it happen from time to time? Almost certainly. Once again it seems eminently reasonable advice that if a person does not consent, if it is possible, he or she should say so in no uncertain terms, and, if possible, leave the area. "No means no" only works if you actually say "no." Is it victim blaming to say this? No more so than it is victim blaming to say to the victim of a robbery, "if you want to reduce the chances of this happening in the future, you could invest in an alarm system." Once again, prior to everyone flipping out and accusing me of either being a rapist, a rapist sympathizer or a "victim-blamer", recall that my only (admittedly obvious) point is that when possible, declaring non-consent unequivocally and, failing that, calling for help when possible are good ideas, and that saying that the original poster is evil for stating so is totally off base. In no way am I assuming that it actually WAS possible for the victim in this particular case to call for help, and it certainly seems that she clearly did not consent. Heart goes out to the victim.

Veronica Nandut... (not verified) says:
Wed, 10/24/2012 - 04:43

Can anyone imagine that the victim has failed to graduate from her first choice college because of the disgusting rape? I hope her support group will help her to heal, and to complete her studies. The perpetrator should face justice, though valuable evidence has been lost because of the time lag between rape incident and her first report of the fact to authorities. I appreciate her courage to persue her healing and to speak out. Fellow ladies, however shameful and painful it is, the best thing to do in case of rape is to report to authorities and have a medical exam done within 72 hours after the fact. The consenquencies of rape CANNOT be erased through silence. Silence only deepens the hurt and lowers self esteem. I thank God that in this case, suicide never happened. The end result could have been worse. Take care.

anon (not verified) says:
Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:36

I am just sending a message of love and support to all those who speak put about sexual violence. Angie Epifano, you are an amazing woman for making this decision and writing this account.

Harvey Kaltsas '69 (not verified) says:
Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:03

I attended Amherst College from 1965-69, when it was an all male college, and the only rape we ever heard about on campus was "The Rape of the Lock" by Alexander Pope. I can't think of a single male classmate at the time who would have countenanced the rape of a woman. A rapist would have been thought of with the same disgust as we now consider Jerry Sandusky. That such behavior exists today at Amherst is totally reprehensible and indicative of the degradation of morals in our society as a whole. That the Amherst College administration treated Angie in the way that it purportedly did is also reprehensible, and it signals the need for a fundamental change in attitude and actions among both administrators and students. I appreciate and applaud Angie's honesty and courage in speaking out, which remind me of the Serenity Prayer used in AA:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference."

Attitudes about rape at Amherst and in the world at large can and must be changed. I trust that Amherst President Biddy Martin and the entire college community have the wisdom to know this.

Darci McFarland (not verified) says:
Thu, 10/25/2012 - 00:48


First, thank you so much for sharing your story. As a fellow rape survivor, I know how difficult that is.

Also, I'm a grad student at Texas Woman's University, and I'm writing a book on sexual assault specifically on college campuses. I was hoping you'd be interested in being a part of it and collaborating! I'm hoping to include several stories from sexual assault survivors concerning their assault and how it was handled within the University. My email is , and I would love to hear from you! This is such an important, pressing issue, and it's critical that it's addressed instead of swept under the rug.

Love and Solidarity,
Darci McFarland

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Thu, 10/25/2012 - 04:31

Dear Angie,

Thank you so much for your courage in sharing this story. I know that nothing can ever change what you went through, but I hope that your brave choice to speak out can help to change the future for coming generations of young women at Amherst and even other colleges. I am so sorry that you had such terrible experiences, but I am so glad that you decided to bring these issues into the open. Amherst College needed to hear this. I hope that wherever you go, you find the success, respect, and support that you clearly deserve.

an Amherst graduate

drmsecon (not verified) says:
Thu, 10/25/2012 - 12:11

The author of this article is incredibly brave. Amhers is incredibly self serving - and unfortunately, eminently typical. Two decades ago, I was a PhD student at The New School in NYC. A student (not me thank heavens) was sexually assaulted and sued the school. There was a committee, and protestations of further action by the school. However, the policy the school adopted after a year or two of discussion was pretty worthless. It DID NOT recommend that the victim go to the police or seek immediate medical care to get a rape kit done and it soft pedaled the definition of rape. No, the policy placed the interests of the school first and recommended that the victim contact campus security, but that was it. To this day the New School policy STILL does not recommend actual help for a victim of sexual assault, the policy is written solely to protect the legal interests of the school. The process itself is nonsense and a quick read shows that a distraught victim is simply going to get caught up in bureacracy and the perpetrator will never be prosecuted. Sadly, the New School, Amherst and most other colleges focus solely on protecting their reputation and do nothing to protect students from actually being assaulted, and nothing to prosecute and get rid of perpetrators.

Johnathan Cache (not verified) says:
Thu, 10/25/2012 - 13:28

I read the presidents response, meetings, studies, policy changes, it's all bullshit.
The inaction and legal guilt found of Virginia Tech's President after the Cho shooting, has him still in office.
Nothing less than turning the entire process over to the State Police, Prosecutor or Attorney General will do.
Nothing will change, previous rapist still go free with their degrees, having horrifyingly violated the code of conduct they were required to maintain in order to remain at and graduate from the school.

The school won't spend a dime to prosecute those that violate their rules, so the state has to step in and do the job.
Let's see the school prosecute any rapist publicly - just one; strip their degree for violating the rules, make them pay for their crimes, not just legally, but socially. They abused the system of openness and trust at Amherst, they don't deserve to be a graduate - period.

These steps are what is right, what is required, what is justice.

Don't donate to Amherst's Foundation, don't apply to go to Amherst, don't stop petitioning them until they start prosecuting the rapists on their campus.

mIm Amherst like they mIm their students.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 07:57

Why in the world should an EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION do the job of law enforcement?! We cannot expect a college to take the law into their own hands. If someone is convicted of rape, he should not get his diploma, but before that I thought that we still lived in a society of innocent until proven guilty!

Parent of survivor (not verified) says:
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 18:32

A college such as Amherst is legally required by Title IX legislation to respond to, investigate, and provide a grievance procedure for all complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence on it's campus, as well as provide for a safe environment from it. Please refer to the following link for more information: and the more detailed Dear Colleague letter: or fact sheet:
A student may, as well, contact police and press charges in the legal system, however this is an expensive and lengthy undertaking. Most perpetrators will have graduated before a court decision is reached leaving the victim to suffer with attending classes on the same campus or to withdraw from the school. The students are not required to go through the school's disciplinary process but it is clearly to their advantage. A students rights under Title IX are invaluable in these situations provided the school has in place an effective sexual misconduct policy and the resources and desire to enforce it.

TC (not verified) says:
Thu, 10/25/2012 - 14:52

As the victim of a false rape allegation made by a mentally unstable woman I can tell you that to assume as fact this woman was raped is dangerous and disturbing. As much as you want to feel for this woman and believe that she was suppressing her feelings - she said nothing for a year, was completely productive for a semester, and worked with the alleged rapist 8 months later and immediately before making the accusations. This is a very difficult case to say the least and I'm am absolutely certain the individuals commenting here are underestimating the emotional damage done by a false accusation. You are treated like an animal and lose everything. I wish all the best and hopefully the truth in this case can be known.

Veronique (not verified) says:
Thu, 10/25/2012 - 16:12

I am confused. Why do colleges make victims go through the college to deal with sexual assault? How is a disciplinary hearing appropriate? Why don't they call the police? If someone was murdered, would a faculty advisor simply withhold the killer's diploma for two years? I'm baffled here.

Parent of survivor (not verified) says:
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 18:29

A college such as Amherst is legally required by Title IX legislation to respond to, investigate, and provide a grievance procedure for all complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence on it's campus, as well as provide for a safe environment from it. Please refer to the following link for more information: and the more detailed Dear Colleague letter: or fact sheet:
A student may, as well, contact police and press charges in the legal system, however this is an expensive and lengthy undertaking. Most perpetrators will have graduated before a court decision is reached leaving the victim to suffer with attending classes on the same campus or to withdraw from the school. The students are not required to go through the school's disciplinary process but it is clearly to their advantage. A students rights under Title IX are invaluable in these situations provided the school has in place an effective sexual misconduct policy and the resources and desire to enforce it.

TheBiboSez (not verified) says:
Thu, 10/25/2012 - 22:31

Any woman who wears clothing is also victim blaming - you see, if a women isn't nude in public, then she is claiming some agency in stopping herself from being raped by covering her body to protect it from men. She has failed to grasp men bad/women good, and that all onus and agency is on men to not be so rapy.

Women are helpless, fragile flowers. They can't do anything, so they shouldn't, lest they accidentally victim-blame.

Men are powerful, irresistable forces; what they say, goes, and what they do, rules.

God forbid that we empower women to the point where they equal men in agency and responsibility. That might make us real feminists, or something.

Nicholas D. Rosen (not verified) says:
Thu, 10/25/2012 - 23:37

I was graduated from Amherst in 1985 (I barely escaped being expelled), and while I don't know for sure that this is a fair and balanced account, it seems all too plausible based on my experience with Amherst's deans back then. The refusal to listen, and the smarmy certainty of the administrators that they know just how to run other people's lives and fix their alleged psychological problems, really ring true.

stephen (not verified) says:
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 00:26

I am truly sorry for what happened to you and the insensitivity shown to you by everyone. However you must know that there is really nothing they could do. Reporting it that far after the fact would almost certainly do no good unless he confessed, and he seems to be a psychopath so he's not going to do that. I cannot believe such a terrible person was admitted to Amherst and graduated with honors, but I guess psychos really do exist everywhere.

Also, is it true that rapists even when found guilty have less punishment than thieves? Are they not being prosecuted by actual police, and if so what the hell? Amherst if this is actually true then your administration is tainting the school to a profound degree. In any case from what I read if half of it is true there are several firings that need to be made.

uk student (not verified) says:
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 15:01

A brave and heart-wrenching account. I have been in a similar situation, reacted in a similar way, and never had the courage to take formal action. I explained my circumstances to a university tutor, who listened in carefully and recommended that i visit the university counselling service. Your article explains why i never took his advice. It articulates every emotion that my mind struggles to comprehend, rationalize and accept. My friends don't fully understand, but after reading this article, i suspect that you might. With love, from an absolutely freezing city in the uk. x

Jo (not verified) says:
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 16:51

This was written beautifully and conveyed your story extraordinarily well. I'm so sad that you had to endure something so horrible, but I'm happy that you have been gifted with a rare kind of strength that will help not only yourself, but other survivors, too. Thank you for courageously sharing it.

Anon (not verified) says:
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 18:08

Please allow me to recommend women's colleges. These are institutions that are run for women by (for the most part) women. While sexual assaults are known to happen, the policies in place are for the protection and support of the students, the women, and not the perpetrators.

So, if rape is acceptable at Amherst, if you get together half a dozen women, track the perpetrator down and punch him for awhile (perhaps while holding him down) (Oh, was that a "No! Please stop!" I'm not sure I heard that), do the women have to write an essay too?

anonymous (not verified) says:
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 18:11

What this young woman experience at Amherst is no different from what young women have been living through at colleges and universities across the country for more than 30 years. Ever since the leftist ideology, coupled with tenure, snaked into the Academy, it has become corrupted by a narcissistic culture of self-aggrandizement, self-importance, self-gratification, and unbelievable arrogance. A cesspool of epic proportion in which stuff like this is the coin of the realm...

Ella Brians (not verified) says:
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 20:12

As an Amherst alumna, I am appalled by this story. I am particularly horrified by the administration's repeated decisions to restrict the _academic_ work of a student whose only fault was to report that she was the victim of a violent crime. As someone from an "underprivileged" rural background, I know what the opportunity to study abroad may have meant to her. While many at Amherst have spent their lives taking vacations in the four corners of the world, for some of us study abroad was the first opportunity to travel beyond the United States and promised to fulfill long held dreams of contact with languages and cultures we had studied but never been able to experience first hand. I am appalled, also, that the administration would refuse to let Ms. Epifano write an honors thesis or take Five College Courses—what could this possibly accomplish save to shrink her academic and intellectual horizons? It's difficult to imagine the possible justification for this decision. Where is the remotest connection to the crime—of which this student is the victim, not the perpetrator?
I can all too easily imagine a college administration mishandling and failing to properly handle a report of rape. I cannot imagine any school—Amherst above all—punishing the victim by denying her the very opportunities on which the institution prides itself (and which I'm sure the administration happily congratulated itself would "compensate" for this student's "underprivileged" and "poor" background).
Shame on Amherst.

anonymous (not verified) says:
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 22:08

No, sorry, there ARE heroes and villains here. Spare us the fatuous self-help spew. You know what's important besides healing? Justice. Making sure rapists don't reoffend. And victims don't need to "look at what went wrong, think about why it went wrong and really commit ourselves to doing better next time" -- BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG.

Steve DeLapp '67 (not verified) says:
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 22:42

Until all identified, and currently unidentified, Amherst student rapists are charged, convicted, and locked up, Amherst has failed in its obligation to protect all students from external and internal crime and psychological trauma and protect the wider community from sexual predators.

In sports, where the goal is to "score," all play is legal, unless a referee blows the whistle. Players have no say in whether or not an infraction of the rules has been committed, and weak referees with allow a lot of rule infractions to take place.

Dating is not a game. The goal is not to "score." Without chaperons women are too often left alone to act as referees, when men are not going to act civilly. Amherst College is never going to take on the role of chaperons, but it is obligated to make sure all students know the rules and the laws and accept the importance of good sportsmanship and create a safe and reassuring presence when good sportsmanship is lacking.

The black eye given to the College cannot be undone. But with the supposedly immense financial and intellectual resources of the College, the school has an obligation to lead in developing a national standard promoting good student "sportsmanship" and to assure potential victims that the school will provide emotional, physical, and legal support will help them recover.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 23:39

Anon Friday 12:44: "Keep in mind many men would beat up a rapist, should they catch him in the act." Sure, unless it's their best buddy, in which case they'll make excuses like "She was a slut."

Also, threatening to beat up rapists doesn't help rape victims find justice and doesn't address rape culture. It just makes you look like an Internet Tough Guy.

Susan Rankin, if you can't train your son not to rape women, he shouldn't be permitted around them.

And, no, "girls" don't have to be trained to "make their intentions very clear." Boys have to be trained to take women's and girls' bodily autonomy seriously.

"Rev. Dr. E.J. Moss," shut up and sit down. I'm sure you think that as a "man of god" (that is, a charlatan) you know it all, but maybe you ought to stop telling "ladies" what to do and start telling MEN what NOT to do.

Anon Saturday 13:49: Maybe Angie should have just locked herself into her dorm room and never associated with men at all, whether they be fellow students, professors, administrators, or facilities workers. That would have kept her safe, right?

Feminist Rag, as someone who actually functions thanks to "brain-damaging psych drugs," kindly keep your tinfoil-hat rants to yourself, kthx.

Erica Ward, your comment is a perfect example of the "rape-enabling culture" you claim to decry. Your girlfriend has nothing in common with Angie except gender. Why bring her up?

John, most rapists aren't psychopaths. The profile of the average rapist is that of a pretty normal man who was encultured to believe that sex is something to be "gotten from" women rather than an activity to be enjoyed with women.

Concern Troll, uh, I mean, Concerned Reader, thanks for your "I'm not blaming the victim, but...." comment... but you are. You have no idea how you would react in the same situation unless you have been in that situation.

Harvey Kaltsas, have you not read the comments left by women in the early years of co-education at Amherst about the misogyny they faced? I'm sure you think that "back in the good old days," all men were "gentlemen," but that's garbage. Rape wasn't talked about as a social and political issue at all. It was considered the woman's fault.

TC, Angie did not name her rapist, nor any of the administrators who failed her. She has nothing to gain by lying.

TheBiboSez, I really doubt you're a woman. If you are, you're pretty sad.

As for the idiot on this page screaming about "leftism".... uhhhhh, not that all leftie men are safe to be around, but rape and misogyny are "family values"; i.e., conservative ones, as the Republican Party has been making clear this election season.

Disgusted advocate (not verified) says:
Sat, 10/27/2012 - 00:43

If rape were all about a lack of communication, the number of women raping men would be equally staggering. Everyone who believes they are an expert in this field, but are offering advice that shows they know nothing about grooming, or the cycle of violence, or an imbalance of power, should really start reading. You are doing a disservice to the victims you should be helping. A women is often not able of communicating. Ever heard of fight, flight or freeze? Please take a break from your work and educate yourself. You're doing more harm than good.

Yvette (not verified) says:
Sat, 10/27/2012 - 01:49

Congratulations to the Amherst Student staff in charge of publishing this. You are the only soul(s) of decency in this case.

Ed (not verified) says:
Sat, 10/27/2012 - 05:37

I went to Amherst for one year thirty years ago.

It sounds to me from this woman's report like nothing much has changed.

Stella Huerfano (not verified) says:
Sat, 10/27/2012 - 09:06

The girl author should organize a well put together law suit against Amherst College. After she gets all he life straight up, she should organize a foundation where all the survivors of Amherst College do the same. They should do all of this right away!!! and never sell of to the administrators.