“students seemed to be jumping to the conclusion that I was guilty of something”
A student activist publicly called me a rapist with no evidence. Here’s the toll it took on my life.
On December 12, my life changed forever.
I became aware that my name was on a “List of Men to Avoid,” compiled by a fellow student at Middlebury College, Elizabeth Dunn. It included the names of male students who had allegedly violated the boundaries of female students at Middlebury, based on accusations sent to Dunn on Facebook.
Each of the 36 names on the list was accompanied by a label in parentheses. Mine read “rapist.”
For the past two months, I’ve dealt with the social and psychological fallout of being anonymously branded a rapist on a small liberal arts campus.
I’ve wracked my brain to figure out what I could have done that a sex partner perceived as rape. I did everything Middlebury tells students to do in order to obtain sexual consent.
Most of my close female friends have abandoned me, and other friends continually make excuses to avoid me. I even considered suicide.
Other men named on this list told me they don’t want to speak out, even anonymously. They want to move on and forget that Elizabeth Dunn publicly branded them as purveyors of sexual violence without any evidence. It is a very fragile time emotionally for these students, and I respect their decisions to stay silent.
It is hard to describe what exactly I was feeling in the initial moments after seeing my name on a “List of Men to Avoid.” It was a mix of shock, anguish and anger, but also puzzlement: Why would someone feel the need to post this?
The next few days on campus were exhausting, to say the least. Many students seemed to be jumping to the conclusion that I was guilty of something. Every time I would leave my dorm, it felt as if all eyes were on me.
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