The security guards were bored. It was the first weekend of May 2010—a time when students at other universities were partying before finals. This, however, was Patrick Henry College (PHC), the elite evangelical school better known as “God’s Harvard.” Here, in sleepy Purcellville, Virginia, instead of police officers or rent-a-cops, the security guards were all upperclassmen. On a good Friday or Saturday night, they’d catch freshmen trying to sneak back onto campus after an evening visiting the monuments in nearby Washington, D.C. Mostly, though, they just double-checked that all the doors were locked. Patrick Henry College was founded in 2000, but you won’t find any bold, modern architecture on campus: Its buildings were designed in the federalist style to evoke an Ivy League school. Dress code is business casual during the week. Daily chapel is mandatory. Drinking, smoking, gambling, and dancing (outside of dance classes) aren’t allowed on campus—only wholesome, school-sanctioned hijinks, like the tradition of tossing newly engaged young men in the central retention pond known as Lake Bob: a “Bobtism.” The security guards saw quite a few Bobtisms. That May night, Adam Fisher and another guard watched the security monitors from their post. It was long past the 1 a.m. weekend curfew, a time when campus had the still and quiet feel of a small town hours after everyone has gone to bed. It seemed like any other night, but then Fisher’s colleague called out in excitement. He’d caught something on the monitors: the dim glow of brake lights, out there in the darkness. A car was pulling up to the campus entrance. Fisher and his partner headed out past the dorms, to the fields near the entry. By the time they arrived, the car was gone, and Claire Spear was lying in a field. There was grass in her long, red hair, and she was crying. (via Sexual Assault at Patrick Henry College, God’s Harvard | New Republic)
Multiple women have accused Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them. Cosby has repeatedly denied the allegations, and settled a 2006 lawsuit that included 13 accusers.
Newsweek spoke to one of those women, Tamara Green, a former trial attorney now living in Southern California who says Cosby assaulted her in the 1970s; she only came forward in 2005, after hearing about some of his other alleged victims. Green talked candidly about how her confession was a “career-ender,” and about how difficult it can be for women who accuse powerful men of sexual assault.
New California Bill Would Change Rules for Reporting Rapes on College Campuses
College officials would be forced to report all sexual violence and hate crimes to the police.
A 24-year-old woman who was visiting Dubai for business reported being raped and has since been sentenced to 16-months in jail for sex outside of marriage. The law in the UAE tilts quite far in favor of the attacker(s).
Rep. Jody Laubenberg, sponsor of Texas anti-abortion bill, reveals she isn’t quite sure what a rape kit is.
“In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out. The woman had five months to make that decision, at this point we are looking at a baby that is very far along in its development.”
A woman who was raped by her friend in India, and who is now dealing with a case in the High Court, is telling her story to the Women in the World audience. The lights are out. Her back is to the audience. And we don’t know her name. This is what the livestream looks like at the moment. She is doing this as a precautionary measure fearing backlash from her own people. Such a brave woman.
Dr. Mamphela Ramphele
has announced the creation of a new political party, Agad, and is running to be South Africa’s first female president. God speed.
Last February Landen Gambill decided to take action against her ex-boyfriend, who she says raped and stalked her throughout their long-term relationship. Now the 19-year-old is being threatened with possible expulsion from her college for creating an “intimidating” environment for her alleged abuser—and she’s gearing up to fight back.
Gambill was a freshman at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when she took her case to the school’s honor court—a judicial body made up of five undergraduates—trying to avoid the emotional toll of a criminal trial. At the time, she says, she hoped to simply get a no-contact order to keep her ex-boyfriend away from her. Instead, she says, she endured a hearing that spanned 28 hours, in which she claims she was grilled about why she didn’t leave her boyfriend sooner and was scolded for “showing emotion on her face.” Gambill says she was asked loaded questions like, “Why didn’t you break up with him?” and “Why didn’t you fight back harder?”
“I had really high expectations of UNC as a liberal university,” Gambill says. “[I thought] they were going to support me as a survivor and as someone who’s in a relationship with sexual abuse. I was totally let down.”
What’s worse, she says, a detailed account of the alleged abuse, which she had submitted as evidence, was given to her parents without her permission by a student representative—because, in Gambill’s words, he “ just thought they should know.”
Anuradha Roy writes about the tragic fatal rape in India, where crimes against women are routinely ignored (if not encouraged) by the ruling class:
Is it any surprise that the men brutalizing a woman with a rusted rod thought they could get away with it? They may not have known there were 300 potential or actual rapists making the laws, nor the precise numbers that show the conviction rate for rape dropping from 46 percent to 26 percent over the last 40 years. But they would have known that it’s a pretty safe bet to rape a woman, scoot, and start the cycle afresh. Fifty percent of India’s population lives with this knowledge: its women.
In such a world, what woman can survive harm? There is not a single female friend of mine who hasn’t been molested. It’s called “eve-teasing” here, conjuring up images of dalliance under apple trees. Even 20 years ago, our journeys to and from college were daily nausea. We were used to having men brush against our breasts, grope, catcall, leer, and press their erections against us when there was no escape in the crush of a crowded bus. Sharp hairpins and elbows came in handy, but otherwise there wasn’t much help. We couldn’t have gone to the police, we’d have been laughed right out of the station. Yet we considered ourselves lucky. There were other women, those that were allowed to be born at all—India comes out tops in the female foeticide ratings—who were being beaten or burned or sold or raped.
She remembers a home that looked fancy on the outside but ominous on the inside, a dark maze of bare chambers. She remembers the parade of men, one after the other, day by day, forcing her to have sex. She remembers contemplating death. She wasn’t yet 10 years old.
Her name is Sreypich Loch, and she was a slave in a Cambodian brothel. If she refused sex, she says, she would be beaten, shocked with an electric cord, denied food and water. “What else could I do?” she asks.
Loch, now around 20 years old, managed to escape that world and works today to rescue other girls. She helps grab them out of brothels, and she hosts a radio show in Phnom Penh, giving the girls a forum for their stories. It’s a groundbreaking effort for a young woman and former sex slave in this male-dominated society.
She hopes that by talking about her past, she will help people understand that slavery is alive and well. When people “hear the voice of the survivor,” she says on a recent visit to New York City, “we can help others.”
A powerful story in this week’s Newsweek. Read the whole thing.