Who Is Looking Out for Our Young Women?

This Spotlight investigation is another reminder of how little we value the impact of sexual misconduct on young woman. Please read the full story on The Globe’s site.  A female student at Phillips Exeter Academy recounts the story of being sexually assaulted by a fellow student, who happened to be all-star athlete. She tells the schools minister, who encourages her to forgive the boy, and tells the boy to bring her baked goods every week for the rest of the year. The police are not notified and neither is her family.

” Chudi had violated school policies on sexual harassment and sexual misconduct “because he touched Michaella’s bottom and breast under her clothing after she expressed to him that she did not want to engage in sexual activity,” according to an e-mail Mischke later wrote to Michaella’s mother. “


  1. How would this have been treated if it was a male who was violated? What if a boy was sexually groped by another boy against his will? Would we encourage reconciliation? Would we have called the police? The parents? Would we say that the perpetrators punishment, should be to deliver f*** baked goods to the assaulted boy?
  2. Why do “we” as a culture place a higher value on the repercussions of the punishment on males, than we do on the repercussions the females experience as a result of being assaulted? We just saw this with the Stanford rape case where “Judge Persky’s explanation of his departure from the state guidelines included the statement that “a prison sentence would have a severe impact'”
  3. My next question is how would a woman have handled this situation between the students? In my opinion if the victim is female, then she should have an older, female handling the situations. Men have lost credibility to properly deter and punish other men for these actions. Enough is enough.
  4. People may want dismiss this case because there wasn’t penetration, but it’s time we all start thinking of women’s bodies, not as property –as they were legally classified once upon a time– but as an extension of another human soul. If you’re a grown man and someone sticks their hands down your pants and you ask them to stop, and they don’t, you’d be pissed. Yet, women are expected to tolerate a certain level of this kind of harassment, and are expected to get over it quickly.
  5. Sexual harassment is not the default charge for anything less than rape! How the school decided to classify unwanted groping as harassment is a view into the school’s priority to protect its image and its star athlete over this young woman. Assault is a physical attack, so it would seem someone touching you would be assault, not harassment. (Okay that wasn’t really a question…)

Earlier this week the NYT printed a expose, oped on the “Wall Street Bro Culture” and how it keeps women from advancing, it sets an expectation of sexual harassment as a part of the business and it hurts the performance of the firms. Here’s a snip it:

But most of the sexism on Wall Street occurs when women aren’t in the room. “Bro talk” produces a force field of disrespect and exclusion that makes it incredibly difficult for women to ascend the Wall Street ladder. When you create a culture where women are casually torn apart in conversation, how can you ever stomach promoting them, or working for them? There are many reasons that men still overwhelmingly populate trading floors and boardrooms, but this is one that has gotten too little attention.

A woman has never been the chief executive of a major investment bank. Only about 2 percent of hedge fund managers are women. During my years on Wall Street I never saw a woman run a trading or sales desk, which is the first step toward executive management.

Wall Street’s sexism isn’t just unethical — it’s bad for the industry’s bottom line. Studies show that investment groups that have more female managers perform better than those without them. In a culture that claims to value meritocracy, Wall Street is more like the Andover lacrosse team — meritocratic, perhaps, but only among a small subset of the population.

When young women are brave enough to come forward and ask for help after being sexually mistreated, we all have a duty to respond seriously. Young men are looking to older men for cues, and if the older men don’t set a good example in their own behavior and in their treatment of offenders, things will not improve.

For this minister, this man in a power position, to tell these young people to reconcile is vile. If she wants to forgive the alleged perpetrator, that’s her choice and one she should make on her own, not under pressure from a religious leader. And the idea that he should “repent” by bringing her baked goods, is just as gross. She’d been having panic attacks thinking about what this star athlete did to her –and it turns out other girls– and now he’s going to show up at her dorm room once a week, who in the world would recommend this? It seems almost like the minister wanted to punish her more, for saying anything about it.

As a parent, I would be furious if my child accused someone of sexual assault and NO ONE called to tell me about it. Exeter should be ashamed.

The boys will be boys excuse doesn’t fly anymore. Boys and men can learn to control their behavior, and if they’re smart they’ll realize they will get a lot more action if they treat women with respect than if they degrade them.

Here are excerpts from The Boston Globe:

In the weeks after the October encounter, outside authorities knew nothing of the case — school officials didn’t contact them. They didn’t even call the senior’s mother, who was furious to have heard nothing from Exeter, or ask whether the family wanted to report the episode to the police.

And they never told her parents that Michaella wasn’t the only student to accuse the boy, a 6-foot-8 track star, of trying to grope her in the church basement that fall.


The allegations came at a critical moment. In late August, Exeter alumnus Zoha Qamar had published a column on the women’s blog Jezebel that criticized Exeter deans for turning a blind eye to sexual assault on the campus.

In the wake of that piece and the felony sexual assault conviction of Owen Labrie, a student at St. Paul’s in Concord, Exeter’s new school leader, Lisa MacFarlane, wrote to parents on Sept. 4 that the school is “acutely aware” of the “important and troubling questions” the trial raised for all schools. Exeter, she promised, is committed to addressing issues of consent and sexual assault.

But in the October meeting with the deans, Michaella felt uneasy about whether the school could adequately protect her. Near the end of the conversation, Cosgrove tried to reassure the students: “The good news is you don’t have to report this to the police because there was no penetration,” he said, according to Michaella’s recollection.

Michaella acknowledges that there was no sexual penetration. In fact, the evening had started out innocently when Chudi — until then a casual friend — invited her to the church to keep him company on his birthday while he was working a campus job. But Michaella was sure what happened in that basement was more than sexual harassment.

The school didn’t see it that way. The dean of students, in her e-mail months later to Michaella’s mother, said the school “determined that his actions with Michaella and the other female student constituted sexual harassment according to our school’s policy . . . Dean Cosgrove and I took decisive action in response to Chudi’s behaviors within the guidelines of our school’s policies.”

The distinction is important. Sexual assault, defined as “nonconsensual sexual contact and/or penetration” must be reported to local law enforcement, according to Exeter’s school handbook, but not sexual harassment.


Michaella talks about the agreement that Chudi should bring her his homemade bread once a week:

“I was so ashamed of it,” Michaella said. “I was being reminded once a week that he assaulted me.”

Chudi seemed to resent it as well and eventually stopped making the weekly deliveries.

Michaella’s mother, Andrea, meanwhile, was outraged.

“I was beside myself. But I didn’t want Exeter to retaliate against her either,” she said of Michaella, her first child to attend boarding school. “You don’t know what to do. My child was in their care. I was worried about her life.”

Mischke, the dean of students, later criticized the bread diplomacy in an e-mail to Michaella’s mother. “This actually was more harmful than good since it caused Chudi and Michaella to intersect on campus more regularly than necessary and did not really serve to rebuild anything. Dean Cosgrove and I were disappointed to learn of this arrangement.”


Twice, she asked for transportation to visit outside counselors at Haven, a group that specializes in helping victims of sexual assault or abuse. But the school never arranged the rides.

Things came to a head on April 15, after Exeter hosted a performance of “SLUT: The Play,” which follows the journey of a 16-year-old who is assaulted by a group of friends.

Michaella started having a panic attack near the end of the show. A friend who was present said Michaella cried uncontrollably before bolting out early.

A few days later, Michaella brought three friends to a meeting with Cosgrove, dean of residential life. She had a blunt message: the school’s response to the assault on her was insufficient.

Having suffered no significant repercussions, she said, Chudi had no reason to think he had done anything significantly wrong.

On April 21, Chudi had been featured in the student newspaper as the Exonian’s Athlete of the Week. Track teammates lauded the senior as “an inspiring captain” and “a natural-born leader.”

A talented shot putter — he had come in 11th at nationals — Chudi planned to attend the University of Pennsylvania and compete on the school’s track and field team this fall, the article reported.

Michaella thought Chudi should have been stripped of his leadership roles in the fall.


Read the rest of the piece on the Globe’s site.






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