So (upon our Editor-in-Chief's sage advice) I figure newsroom is the right place to talk a bit more about the the thinking behind the “Shut Up and Pay” piece, as well as provide some additional material for context to our readers.
This was a survivor's account that for reasons of length and flow was left out of the main piece. I'm adding it here because I think it is relevant to the issues raised by the story. What disturbs me most about Leah Rubin's story is its similarity to Liz Willette's, even though they took place 15 years apart, after more than one cycle of ostensible “reform” at ASU.
Major trigger warning, obviously:
By 1996, Leah Rubin had made a life at ASU. She paid the bills by working on-campus and at a local photo store. She did reporting and graphic design for The Appalachian student newspaper, participated in voter drives, helped LGBT and feminist causes, and even found time to play in a local band, the feminazis.
One night, after drinking more than normal, a friend took her back home. After he left, two men who lived in the same building, and whom she'd turned down multiple times before, tried to get in the apartment. The next thing she knew she woke up in her living room floor, her shirt gone, boots still on, body battered. Near dawn, she went to ASU's infirmary.
“I remember just curling up in a ball on a bed,” she says. “It was just a vacant building...no one to talk to.” Returning to her apartment building, she knocked on the door of the men who raped her. One answered, and swore it was his roommate, not him, then instead said that she had invited them in, and wanted it.
She lit a cigarette in front of him, and held it “straight onto my arm until it went out, and [I] could smell my skin burning.” He shouted at her to stop, “and I said 'no, I won't stop, but at least I can say no now because what you did to me last night – well, you didn’t give me the choice did you?'”
The police told Rubin that because she was intoxicated, she couldn't press charges.
This is, of course, completely false: sex with someone too drunk to give their consent is always rape. They took her to the hospital for an examination, then left her in the police car. She says recalls no aid, no comfort, from law enforcement or the university.
“I was stunned at how basically I was going to have to battle through this myself.” She kept insisting to the police that she wanted to press charges. Later, she talked to an assistant district attorney, some senior police officers, and a judge, who told her they wouldn't proceed. She angrily asked them if this was how they treated their wives and daughters, and stormed out.
She still has a burn scar on her left forearm.
It's worth noting that Rubin credits the university's counselors with saving her life as she recovered from the trauma, but says otherwise she received no support.