Monday, August 19, 2013

I'm Having A Rough Time Tonight

An hour or so ago an email hit my inbox from the West Point mail list of which I am a member.  That email linked to a blog post about a woman who said she left West Point because she had been raped.

At West Point, cadets are divided into 36 companies--Companies A through I each for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th regiments.  Each company had over 100 cadets, with approximately an equal number of each class (freshman through senior) in each company, minus attrition.  My class "scrambled" companies after our freshman year and spent our last three years at West Point in the same company.  You develop strong ties to people when you live and spend that much time with them.

The author of the blog post mentioned above was my classmate.  In my company.  I remember her well, and I remember when she left at the end of our junior year.

There are a couple things bothering me.  The first is that she called out her accused rapist by name.  Another classmate, but not one in our company.  That seems to cross a line to me.  A second problem I'm having is that there are some serious inaccuracies in her story.  Not different experiences or opinions, but actual incorrect statements.  I know them to be incorrect.  Yes, they're relatively minor, but why would someone need to lie to make a rape story worse?  Isn't the fact that it's rape bad enough?

When I read stories with known misstatements of fact in them, I question the entire piece.  I can't say she wasn't raped--how the heck would I know?--but I'm bothered by the inaccuracies in her story.

Now don't think for a moment that I have some rose-colored view of West Point.  I know that sexual assaults, and other forms of sexual misconduct, occurred during my time there.  I can think of two classmates who were forced to leave because of misconduct (short of rape).  And obviously I never heard of a rape there!

And I'm sure that two people can have very different experiences, but nothing in her story relates at all to the West Point I knew.  And then the inaccuracies--isn't rape bad enough?  Why make the rest of the story worse?

As I said, I knew the author.  She was my classmate, in my company.  The closest civilian counterpart would be, she was my "teammate" for two years until she resigned.  Her blog post bothers me deeply.  That's why I'm not posting anything else.


Anonymous said...

It's possible, that since it is years later, some of the side details are forgotten or misremembered... Especially if they are overshadowed by the trauma.

Not knowing the specifics makes this only a guess, of course.

Darren said...

I completely understand that. I could understand thinking one event happened before or after another--but not having to return a ring you had never received.

I've checked with a couple other women I know from my time there, and also a couple of men. One of the men has a daughter there now. The author's memory of the environment in the 80's doesn't jibe with what we remember at all. I think she painted us all with an undeservedly harsh brush.