LTE: If I have a daughter who goes to UVM

Content warning: mentions of sexual violence

If I have a daughter who goes to UVM, I hope things will be different. 

I hope she won’t be catcalled by strangers downtown or followed home by a middle-aged man while she walks alone.

I hope she won’t be told, “by the way, make sure to cover your drink here.”

I hope she can just say “no” instead of lying and saying, “I’m sorry, I have a boyfriend,” with dead eyes and a forced smile.

I hope she will know only handshakes, and won’t unwillingly encounter the creepy lower-back touch. 

I hope the response to students waiting in the emergency room after being roofied won’t still be, “I’m sorry, we can’t do drug testing unless you think you might have been assaulted.”

I hope she won’t open her phone and see the latest on-campus news:

“Fraternity Brotherhood Survey: ‘If a member of a sorority accused one of my fraternity brothers of raping her, and he promised she was lying, I would believe him.’”

I hope she never has to see the pain in her friends’ eyes when they tell her: 

“He raped me last year, but I didn’t want to go through that whole process just to not be believed, you know?”

“He’s an athlete, it’s not like they would ever do anything about it anyways.”

“They said I have a good chance of winning my case because I was a virgin.”

“I reported it, but he ended up transferring. At least I don’t have to see him around anymore, I guess.”

I hope University administrators won’t still be asking: 

“Well, what were you wearing?”

“How much did you have to drink?”

“You know off-campus parties aren’t supposed to be happening, right?”

“Why didn’t you just go to the police?”

“You know, this has also been a really hard time for him, too.”

I hope she won’t be connected to other undergraduate women through the pain of frequently experiencing misogyny, violence, abuse and harassment. 

On second thought, I don’t think I could ever, in good conscience, send my daughter to UVM.