This is a comment by Martin Robbins on the post “The Death of Innocence at Amherst College“.
“As a now retired academic administrator, I have recently become personally aware of the problems faced by male victims of sexual violence. My grandson was one such victim while attending Amherst College.
“Amherst’s response to the assault was far less than expected and required, given the traumatic impact of the event. In fact, I am not sure they even knew how to handle the whole event and ended up washing their hands of it. They tried to turn a serious problem of sexual assault into a drinking problem.
“The perpetrator is either now back on the Amherst campus or will be returning next semester.
“Female victims of campus sexual assault are well aware of the kind of mindless, indifferent and cruel treatment they often receive from campus administrators. Fortunately, this is changing, slowly at best. But for male victims, that does not appear to be the case.
“In this case, the victim, my grandson, ended up committing suicide. A tragic end to a tragic event. In his long note before killing himself, he had this to say about Amherst and how they responded to his suicide:
Even absent the natural collapse, the sexual assault was too much. There was no adequate form of preparation available for that, and no repair afterwards. What began as an earnest effort to help on the part of Amherst became an emotionless hand washing. In those places that I should have received help, I saw none. I suppose there are many possible reasons for this but, in the end, I am still here and so too is that night. I hold no ill will nor do I place an iota of blame upon my family. I blame a society that remains unwilling to address sexual assault and rape. One that pays some abject form of lip service to the idea of sexual crimes while working its hardest to marginalize victims. One where the first question a college president can pose is ‘Have you handled your drinking problem?’
“Before his suicide, he asked me whether I thought Amherst would have handled the assault any differently if he had been a female victim. Unfortunately, I told him I believed they would have handled it differently. But, I am not sure they would have done any better if the victim were a woman rather than a man.
“This is a sad ending to a sad story that has become all too common at American colleges and universities.”
Photo credit: Flickr / NealeA