Op-Eds: #MeToo: Why I Didn’t Want Winthrop

The Harvard Crimson

April 25, 2019

By Phoebe H. Suh

Phoebe H. Suh ’22 lives in Weld Hall.

When a frenzied mob chanting, “Winthrop!” burst through my door on Housing Day, I should have been thrilled. After all, Winthrop House was the last House to be renovated before Lowell House. It’s close to the Yard and clean, without the roaches endemic to Eliot and Kirkland Houses. It’s not Mather House. In terms of living spaces, Winthrop is one of the most desirable Houses. And, to be fair, I was quite pleased not to be placed in the Quad. But I also felt a looming dread because of Winthrop Faculty Dean Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr., and his decision to defend former film producer Harvey Weinstein against numerous charges of sexual assault and misconduct.

My name is Phoebe, and I am a survivor of sexual assault.

My story is similar to many others. I was raped in September after a party, three weeks after first arriving on campus. I spoke to the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response and the Title IX Office. I filed for a No-Contact order against my rapist and received one.

But Harvard failed me in the month following my assault. The morning after I was raped, I went to University Health Services. They gave me emergency birth control but could not provide me a rape kit there; now I have no physical evidence that I was assaulted. And when I spoke to the Title IX Office, I learned that a formal investigation, an emotionally exhausting process in itself, could stretch for months. I walked away without filing for one, desperate to restore some measure of normalcy to my life and bring an end to a terrible experience that had already gone on for long enough.

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