An NMU Sexual Assault Victim Was Told She Wasn't Allowed To Talk To Her Peers About Her Suicidal Thoughts
NYMag- In the winter of 2015, a student at Northern Michigan University named Katerina Klawes sought out help at the university’s counseling office. She had been sexually assaulted in July of 2014 and wanted to talk about her experiences with a professional. On March 25, 2015, she got an alarming email from Mary Brundage, associate dean of students at NMU, which read, in part, as follows:
I received a report that others are worried about your well-being. I’d like to meet with you to discuss your options for support and see what I can do to help …
Our self-destructive policy is currently under review, as stated on top of the policy, so it is important that you know a couple of things. First, you will not be removed as a student for seeking help from the appropriate resources. You can use any of the resources listed below without worry. Second, Engaging in any discussion of suicidal or self-destructive thoughts or actions with other students interferes with, or can hinder, their pursuit of education and community. It is important that you refrain from discussing these issues with other students and use the appropriate resources listed below. If you involve other students in suicidal or self-destructive thoughts or actions you will face disciplinary action. My hope is that, knowing exactly what could result in discipline, you can avoid putting yourself in that position.
Some might think that seeing one of your friends bleeding out after swan diving from a 4th floor dormitory window would have a more detrimental effect on the future of a student's education than having a conversation that could potentially prevent that from happening. It's a good thing that Mary Brundage isn't one of those people. Could you imagine the ramifications of a sexual assault victim dragging her peers GPA's down one open, honest discussion at a time? Talk about an unnecessary inconvenience! One day your just having a couple grain alcohol cocktails together and the next your roommate is trying to talk about the personal problems that have her on the verge of making your room a single? Who does this girl think she is? Doesn't she know that college is for binge drinking and efficiency cramming? There's no time to learn about how shitty the world can be outside of the classroom. People go to school to become smarter, not become more well rounded individuals that better relate to others with unique, sometimes traumatizing experiences. Last time I checked accepting that life is full of a bunch of awful shit that has very real consequences wasn't on the syllabus, so why should Kat's floormates have to fit it into their all-too-crowded itinerary?
Plus, everyone knows that the ONLY way to cure the depression induced by non-consensual sex is by talking to a school psychologist that is a relative stranger for at least the first few visits. What help could a nurturing, understanding friend provide in a situation like that? Why do you think 'Third Eye Blind' "wished" that the person would step back from that ledge? Obviously because actually doing something about it would have been futile. Northern Michigan is a community, and the best type of neighbor is one who leaves you the fuck alone. I certainly hope Kat doesn't forget that, because we wouldn't want the Dean Of Students to be forced into suspending her after graciously letting her stay in school and giving her oh-so-many opportunities to regain her mental health.
P.S. Maybe the most cold-blooded "take care" ever thoughtlessly thrown into a signature. This letter basically reads...
Hold all your dark, potentially fatal feelings inside except for when you're in scheduled visits with the practitioner of my choosing.
Try not to die,