On Monday, October 24, The Harvard Crimson published a story detailing a “scouting report” written by members of the 2012 men’s soccer team regarding incoming female recruits on the women’s soccer team.
We are these women, we are not anonymous, and rather than having our comments taken, spun, and published behind the guise of a fake anonymity offered to us by numerous news outlets, we have decided to speak for ourselves.
When first notified of this “scouting report” each of us responded with surprise and confusion, but ultimately brushed off the news as if it didn’t really matter. As if we weren’t surprised men had spoken of us inappropriately. As if this kind of thing was just, “normal.”
The sad reality is that we have come to expect this kind of behavior from so many men, that it is so “normal” to us we often decide it is not worth our time or effort to dwell on. Yet as the media has taken advantage of the Harvard name once more, it has become increasingly difficult to evade the pervasiveness of this story, harder still to elude the abhorrent judgment of our peers and the outrageous Internet commentary of the public, and hardest to subdue the embarrassment, disgust, and pain we feel as a result.
In all, we do not pity ourselves, nor do we ache most because of the personal nature of this attack. More than anything, we are frustrated that this is a reality that all women have faced in the past and will continue to face throughout their lives. We feel hopeless because men who are supposed to be our brothers degrade us like this. We are appalled that female athletes who are told to feel empowered and proud of their abilities are so regularly reduced to a physical appearance. We are distraught that mothers having daughters almost a half century after getting equal rights have to worry about men’s entitlement to bodies that aren’t theirs. We are concerned for the future, because we know that the only way we can truly move past this culture is for the very men who perpetrate it to stop it in its tracks.
Having considered members of this team our close friends for the past four years, we are beyond hurt to realize these individuals could encourage, silently observe, or participate in this kind of behavior, and for more than four years have neglected to apologize until this week.
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