Graduate student dating undergrad
*I would not wish this joyless and often agonizing orientation on anybody.* (10) Again I stress that I speak only for myself. A yard, once used for some kind of sport, lies seemingly deserted. A young woman, my height, we’re standing in the room looking at each other, no one else is in the room, she looks like me but her hair is longer and her cheeks are fuller and the scars on her arms are still visible. He shared explicit fantasies with me —despite my protests.
I doubt it is possible to generalize that rape makes people gay (or straight). High above her, in a near-future sky, one allosaurus and one magpie, each the size of a skyscraper, battle for extinction. I had also recently been hospitalized after a suicide attempt. Parents: you do not want your children to end up like me. He violated my flesh, my psyche, my sense of bodily integrity— despite knowing that I was *unwilling,* despite knowing that I was a virgin, despite knowing that I was incapacitated by mental illness.
All residents of this universe hold the following truth to be self-evident: Each person has the right to free consent. Does it matter that a few relationships were with men and that a few were with women? (8) I have been attracted to people of all sexes and gender identities. (See item 2.) But it is a fact that rape (among many other factors, including those mentioned above) had an impact on how I experience desire and act (or hesitate to act) upon my feelings. I say “supposed to be” because he spent more time sexually harassing and stalking me than he did advising me academically.
Living by this truth is to them as breathing is to us. (9) As the details above are meant to suggest, my sexuality is extremely complicated. Indeed it may be the case that “rape survivor” is one of my sexual orientations. Instead of discussing ideas, scholarship, or projects, he “mentored” me with insights such as “All men have rape fantasies, including your father.” (That is a line I will never forget.) He left me voice messages about overdosing on male enhancement pills.
Our anthologies still include holograms of jewel-like eyes, porcelain skin, ruby lips, hair like gold, and so on.“Over time the white men themselves modified the sonnet to make it accommodate topics other than male heterosexual desire. You can do anything.” —The 45th President of the United States of America (1) I cannot speak for others who have been raped. Please do not mistake anything I write here for a generalization.
The topics came to include blindness, time, spiders, God, the planets, applepicking, wine, prayer, computers, robots, politics, and the apocalypse. (2) The first crush I remember having: Ellen Degeneres.
He said that lots of people wanted to work with him and, given the academic pressure and job market, he would understand if I wanted to walk away.
It is possible to live one’s entire life inside a sonnet. All I knew was that she made my heart feel nervous and I wanted to see her face again. To this day I think of marriage as literally a foreign language. As a child I myself was devoutly Catholic and confused about my sexuality.
In preparing for the long stressful winters of phone calls and emails and MLA hotel rooms and campus visits and “professional” attire (my rapist liked to talk about grooming me, as if I were a pet—I remember how furious his reaction would be whenever I chose to wear glasses, look frumpy, or let lint appear on my clothing), I should have done this: And yet he could be vulnerable —alarmingly so. He sat next to me and—before I could do anything—weighted down my lap with his head. One of these consequences: the creation of the award mentioned above.
Once, in his house, during a meeting to discuss his course (for which I was a teaching assistant), he began to sob violently. “I miss my mother,” he cried over and over again on my lap.“When you use the word ‘rape’ to describe what happened to you—can you use a more subtle expression? You are an English language expert, Jennie, so I trust you must know how to discuss what happened without using that word. This graduate mentoring award is named after a man who abused his power, who refused to apologize for raping his student, who screamed at and terrified his student, who dropped by his student’s dorm unannounced causing the student to hide in her closet in the dark wondering “How long do I have to stay here? ”—whose ghost continues to haunt his student to this day. I admire the loyalty and gratitude that former students of Jay Fliegelman have demonstrated by creating this award.
The more she climbs, more and more flowers surround her. She is beyond the last thought at the end of the mind. One of the side effects (for me at least) of being violated: every time I feel desire, attraction, or any evidence of a libido, I automatically feel guilty. He had been in the profession and at Stanford for decades. Only from this temporal distance can I see so clearly his power and my powerlessness. I wouldn’t want to get Stanford into trouble, right?
I feel an obligation to cancel my body, delete, to make it disappear. Indeed, his own mentors and former dissertation advisers were still teaching and advising in the Stanford English department when I arrived as a 21-year-old first-year Ph. I should show how grateful and uncomplaining I am—after all, Stanford punished the professor by suspending him for two years without pay, right? There is no public record of what happened.—Not even a concise announcement describing the nature of Jay Fliegelman’s misconduct and punishment.