News

Residents Demand Answers at Council Meeting on Police Killing of Sayed Faisal

News

Bob Odenkirk Named Hasty Pudding Man of the Year

News

Harvard Kennedy School Dean Reverses Course, Will Name Ken Roth Fellow

News

Ex-Provost, Harvard Corporation Member Will Investigate Stanford President’s Scientific Misconduct Allegations

News

Harvard Medical School Drops Out of U.S. News Rankings

Panel Examines Ways To Support Rape Victims

By Philip M. Rubin

More than 50 students and administrators attended a seminar on rape at the Cronkhite Graduate Center last night and listened to panelists explain the University's policies and procedures for helping victims of rape.

Prompted in part by a rape in the Science Center last December, the discussion was intended to "provide more programs to create a network of women for things like moral support and career counseling," said Joan S. Soble '77, the chair of the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association (RCAA) which sponsored the seminar.

Members of four Harvard agencies described the types of support their groups offer to women who have been raped, but the panelists also conceded that there were shortcomings in the University's procedures for helping victims.

Nadja Gould, a clinical social worker for University Health Services (UHS) for the past 12 years, described the psychological state of most rape victims.

"Often in the Emergency Room a woman is calm, but this is really a state of psychological numbing and dissociation," Gould said.

According to Gould, UHS workers try to help victims through the various phases of the recovery process, which are often marked by feelings of hostility and overdependence.

Lt. Larry Murphy of the Harvard Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division said that in addition to investigating rape cases, officers also try to be sensitive to the needs of the victim.

"Because it's traumatic, the same officers stay with the victim at all times," said Murphy, noting the relief victims often show at seeing a familiar face.

Janet A. Viggiani, the assistant dean for co-education and the senior tutor of Adams House, said that while "only a handful" of Radcliffe students reportbeing raped each year, the number of rapes oncampus could be much higher. Only one out of fivewomen nationwide report being raped, she said.

Viggiani also said she favors "informal"treatment, including counseling by adjunctadvisers and senior tutors, and discouragesvictims from seeking a "formal" response fromHarvard's Administrative Board.

"I can't believe anyone in a moment of crisiswould walk up the horrible steps in UniversityHall and go through those awful green doors thatall look like they're locked," Viggiani said.

In addition to the flaws in the University'sprocedures for helping victims, the problem isalso increased by the fact that Harvard studentsare naive about rape on campus, said Liz M. Clyma'90, who attended the seminar.

"A lot of people don't understand it's not verysafe in Cambridge," Clyma said. "Also, although wethink of rape as only occuring at drunkenDartmouth frat parties, it happens at Harvardtoo."

Andrea A. Goldman '90, one of the panel membersand a co-director of Response, a campus rapehotline, blamed some cases of date rape on thesocial "ineptitude" of many Harvard students

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags