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***Trigger Warning*** Sexual harassment, assault, mentions of rape, the hate-filled opinions of a sad man

So this brings me to my actual story, which I will keep quite short (jk lol).  I am renting a room in an apartment close to the city.  The guy who owns it rents out various rooms that he owns or leases and I happen to have an actual bedroom (compared to an attic or basement space converted into small bedroom) in the apartment itself.

I don’t know how to say this other than to say…he’s obsessed with rape.  From the moment I met him, without any prompting, he wanted always to talk about rape.  He self-identifies as a feminist, but so doesn’t everyone in Iceland, so I thought it was going to be the sort of good conversation about problems, solutions, struggles, structural lag, outrage, etc. that I typically have with feminists on the subject but NO.  Of course not.  I had to meet the guy who – with a straight face – told me that Hugh Hefner has done more for women than any other feminist activist.  He called Hugh Hefner a feminist activist. This is apparently not a completely new statement:

He proceeds to tell me that women who aren’t hurt or aren’t rape too violently are ruining the system for women who “truly need it” and that most of the time it’s just regretting a sexual encounter.  He harps on this constantly and claims that false reporting is very high and just women being bitches, essentially.  He also things that the holocaust death count is “overestimated” and said “Why do you think that happened in Germany? Do you think that the Jews were completely innocent and didn’t do anything to deserve it? They didn’t deserve it….the people were poor but not the Jews,” implying that the Jewish folk of Hitler’s era had forced the Nazi hand, really.

He called the removal of pork and peanuts from school menus “left wing radicalism” because the allergy is bull shit and the pork thing is for Muslims.  He hates Muslims. “They are the only real racists,” he says.  And he just SAYS these things like they are obvious facts and not completely rooted in hatred.  But he hates fossil fuels and guns…I’m so not used to those things going together.

So needless to say it’s been a struggle, and while we started out as amicable strangers, I had distanced myself greatly by the time my friend Tiffani came to visit in mid-September.   It’s awkward because he is always in the house and I was doing a lot of in-home stuff at the time, but I just shut my door and pretend to be dead so I don’t have to talk to him.

He only once before this period of time acted….more inappropriately?  He suggested that I massage him and I thought he was joking so replied with “yeah, ok, I’ll get right on that” in my most sarcastic voice ever.  The next day he asked again and I, more awkwardly, said no. He got angry and said something along the lines of “I don’t know why you would say you would do something and then not do it.”  It was awkward.

So my friend arrives and we spend a lovely week driving around the country and seeing all that we can see.  It was amazing.  We arrive back on a Saturday night and though we are tired we have plans to go into town and check out Reykjavik’s infamous nightlife.  They party until the early morning hours here meaning that you get into bed around 6 or 7am.

We made our dinner and sat at the table with my host and his guest.  He had been drinking very heavily even before we got home and while we were eating and preparing to go out he downed at least another half a bottle of vodka.   He began making a fool of himself and acting quite inappropriately toward my friend.  He sat so close to her that she was leaning away and started babbling drunk nonsense.

I went to my room to get dressed and when I came out she told me he had licked her earlobe without permission.  He then began asking each of us if we wanted to “French kiss” and when we hollered a resounding “NO” he would then stumble forward and try to catch us off guard.  The man is 42.  I had to intercept his face mere inches from my own and push him away at least ten times.  The friend – the only sober person – was having talks with him, hopefully about his behavior (they were in Icelandic) but he kept doing it.  It was disgusting.

His friend then offers to drive us all into town and we agree – it was our original plan and it would save us a 15 minute walk.  We figured my host would tire easily and go home or get separated from us or whatever.  We approached the first bar and were rejected because he was just. that. sloppy.  So we opted for the queer bar – Kiki bar – and began making our walk.  He continued acting like a child.  Sadly, none of this was particularly new to me, so things were going smoothly until he gave me a weird look and then ran up and grabbed my friend’s ass.  I shoved him by the shoulders into a nearby car just as a gut reaction.  He was startled but played it off and laughed.  We told him to fuck off with that bullshit and kept on our way.

The Kiki bar is at the top of a set of stairs, so given his behavior we tried to force him up first.  He refused until we were forced to go up before him so my friend ascended while I turned to face him. I looked him dead in the eyes and I said “if you touch my ass I will punch you in the face.” He giggled and said okay so I turned to walk up and no sooner had I done so than I feel a pinch on the ass – so I turned back around and punched him in the fucking nose. He held his face a screamed “you bitch!” as I ran as fast as I could up the stairs.

I found my friend and told her but he was right behind me.  He seemed to sense that I was on the edge because he offered to buy us a drink to apologize.  We requested beers, trying to make the best of a bad situation, and he brought us two shots of a sort of licorice liquor they have here that he knew we hated.  He mumbled something about “let’s get drunk and get laid” and then asked again if we wanted to “French kiss.”  We screamed a big ole NO at him and he finally went away.  We saw him once more sulking against a wall somewhere and then he was gone.

We made it back to the house around 8:30am only to realize I had forgotten my key.  It took five or so minutes of laying on the buzzer to get him to open the door, but we got in.  He disappeared before we made it up the stairs.  We stayed in my room almost the entire day counting down the hours until we left for a week in Amsterdam.  We saw him once or twice and while he looked ashamed he never mentioned anything about what happened.

This made me angrier than anything.   I have avoided him almost entirely since then and was lucky enough to make a friend and confidant out of another of his guests.  I felt safe when my friend was here and would venture into the living room and kitchen occasionally, but he left and now I am alone again.  I don’t feel safe.  I left for one last trip, which was a huge relief, but I still have 12 days left here.

I looked into coming home early and moving out of this place but the finances don’t work out. I’ve already paid him can’t afford another place (if I can find one cheaper) without a refund.  That would probably require reporting him to the agency that does the renting.

He tried to talk to me occasionally when my new friend was still here but I’ve resorted to one word answers and not looking him in the eye.  I feel so uncomfortable.  I look out the window before I leave my room to see if he might be gone.  When his van isn’t parked outside I am overcome with a sense of relief – even if I don’t want to leave the room.  When I’m in the common area and I hear his van pull up I quickly finish everything I was doing to run into the room and shut my door.  I read, I write, I do yoga, and I go into town and visit my one good Icelandic friend.  But I do not feel safe here.

He’s afraid that I will write a bad review.  He came up to me and the new friend one day – out of the blue – and said “My daughter asked if I thought you would write a review on the rental page and I told her of course you would. She can’t wait to read it.”  USING HIS DAUGHTER – who is amazing and cool btw, to guilt me into not telling anyone what he did!!

And the saddest part of all is that I only just now decided that I would report him to the agency.  As with all of the similar situations I’ve been in it is easier to walk away and pretend it never happened.  It’s so hard to tell anyone the truth because you see what happens when you.  You see people torn apart in public and driven to the edge of their sanity.  No one believes you and everyone questions all the things *you* did wrong or should have done differently.  Everyone wonders why you waited – if you were really so scared why didn’t you do it sooner?  Money shouldn’t matter, they’ll say.  If it was so important you should have said something right away.

But they forget that this is just another in a long series of assaults, rapes, pieces of violence done onto me, my sisters, and the great faceless womyn of “us.”  We’re not even shocked by it anymore.  We’re not surprised and we even expect it.  And we know to keep quiet – or else.  Sometimes you get so tired of fighting. I’m exhausted. 

And that is what has brought me to the point of writing about this. This certainly isn’t the most violent thing that’s ever happened to me.  This isn’t the most impacting. It’s not the scariest and it’s not the bloodiest.  But it is the first in a long time. It is the first thing to shatter the illusion I’ve spent the last four years painstakingly rebuilding.  I had convinced myself that I was safe in this world and that I had some control again. Now. Now that I knew more, saw more, something.  I’d fooled myself into thinking it could never happen again and that I was back to being bulletproof and 20. 19. 13. 8.

Somehow it’s all back now.


When I hear people talk about UNC many people think of sunny quads, winning basketball teams, and stellar academics. This is no different among many of the students that attend the university either but the reality is that for many of us attending school here has not been an amazing experience. In fact it has be a very hard and arduous path and not something I am looking forward to recount to anyone in coming years. While people are doting on how beautiful the quad the quad is in the spring or how amazing their educational experience is here’s what I’ll be thinking of:

I’ll think about a university that seduces people of color with a promise that they will be included and represented here yet when they arrive they become tokens in classes full of “good white liberals” with tons of microaggressions. I’ll think about the white man who told me that black people don’t belong on this campus and about that white woman on the p2p who told me she had an intrinsic hate of black people. I’ll think about the other white woman who called the police on me for having a pocket knife and the elderly white man who turned down my help because I was black. I’ll think about all those white people who would move when I got on the bus and I’ll think about white people who cannot or will not listen to anything a person of color has to say and will do anything (and I mean anything) to derail conversations and make them about their guilt or hurt. I’ll think about the administration who has, on more than one occasion, told me that they weren’t surprised that I wasn’t succeeding at UNC because I was black and who told me that I should just be glad I’m still here and to stop worrying about succeeding.

I’ll also think about how incredibly hard everything at this university became once my depression hit rock bottom. I’ll think about how absence policies became the bane of my existence when I simply could not get out bed in the morning. I’ll think about how my depression has led me down a dismal path of hatred of everything administrative at carolina because trying to do anything is like jumping through burning hoops of fire in order to get it approved. I’ll think about how professors dismiss depression and anxiety as real mental health issues and who tell you that you should drop out if you can’t keep up. I’ll think about how “friends” called me lazy and unmotivated while shouting “stop the stigma of mental health” in the pit a day or two later. I’ll think about how once my knee started being in constant pain it became impossible for me to navigate this university because of the uneven bricks and the largeness of the campus. I’ll think about how that is further complicated by all the incredibly ableist people around me who told me that I was moving too slow or that told me to simply “work through the pain.” I’ll think about how all of this was said in the spirit of the “carolina way”.

when I remember UNC I’ll remember feeling like I never truly found a community of people because I was always shaving off little bits of myself to fit into different spaces. I’ll remember seeking “refuge” in a queer community that was full of people that perpetuated the same stereotypes that the sexual majority perpetuated. I’ll remember accepting wrong pronouns from certain friends, the wrong sexuality from other friends, and putting up with racist remarks from other friends because no one at Carolina could ever truly get it right. I’ll remember a certain air of elitism that came with attending Carolina and that made it okay for students here to put down students at other universities because their schools didn’t have the same prestige that Carolina had.

I’ll remember [white] sororities throwing racist parties and I’ll remember [white] fraternities turning away black people.

I’ll also remember the fact that this University (as well as many others) are in bed with college athletics and do not care about what that promotes.

I’ll remember its treatment of sexual assault survivors and I’ll remember it’s commitment to trying to shut those survivors up because it didn’t want to lose rank.

I don’t want to rain on anyone’s beautiful Carolina parade but to say that I love this place would be a huge overstatement. I have met great friends here and have enjoyed some of the opportunities that I have been afforded by attending this university but I will not let my experience go unheard.

It is high time we began listening to the experiences of marginalized people because often times they represent a flaw in our institutions and something that could be improved upon. If we listen to the experiences of those who haven’t had a stellar time at this university (and many other “elite” institutions) we may well began to see that these places have a lot of work to do in order to create environments that foster learning and growth for everyone at the university and not just a select few.

Addison E.


In the past several years we have seen incredible social movements spanning the globe in response to the still worsening economic crisis and punishing austerity measures that followed it. Young people, students, and workers are standing up to the abuses of a system bent on denying us a future. These forces, driven by greed, will continue a path of wealth accumulation for the few on the backs of the many. North Carolina is no different.

Wealthy right-wing donors bought the North Carolina legislature and put Tea Party conservatives in the driver’s seat of our state. Their program is clear: public education and services will face massive cuts, and the general welfare of our state will be undermined to benefit the richest few. From voting rights to women’s rights, those in power want to take us backwards. North Carolina families, students, and workers cannot afford this regressive agenda — and we will not accept it. It is more urgent than ever to build upon multi-issue, grassroots mobilization efforts in NC. Our state has a rich history of activism and resistance, and as in the past, students must serve as leaders in the fight for social justice. The time for organizing a powerful student movement is now!

On February 16th 2013, The NC-Student Power Union will be holding a statewide organizing conference in Raleigh, North Carolina—our state capital. This conference will bring together leaders of social justice organizations, university faculty, and most importantly, students like us for a day of education, inspiration, and action.

Instead of accepting a future shaped by low wage jobs, racism, and a warming planet, our generation is coming together to demand a world with opportunity for all people and justice for our earth—a world without fear of deportation, crushing debt, or heterosexist discrimination. Join the movement on February 16th. Help build student voice and student power to reclaim our education and create the state we want to live in.

Register for the Conference Today.

Today at 10:30, UNC students, faculty, staff, North Carolina community members and representatives from the press began to assemble on the steps of Wilson Library to demonstrate the necessity that Governor Beverly Purdue pardon members of the Wilmington Ten in the final days of her administration.  Reverend Dr. William Barber of the North Carolina NAACP aptly described the rhetoric that has surrounded the case for forty years: clutching at straws of evidence that members of the Wilmington Ten broke any law has taken precedence over the fact that the prosecution for their case behaved illegally on multiple occasions.
This is unacceptable in light of the illegal actions known to have been committed by the prosecution during the 1972 case.  Prosecutor Stroud, who has recently been disbarred, feigned serious illness in order to cause a mistrial when he learned that the jury selected for the first Wilmington Ten trial was comprised of ten African Americans and two white men.  According to documents presented by Dr. Tim Tyson, which are currently housed in the Southern Historical Collection at Wilson Library, Stroud wrote “B” next to the names of black jurors, and included comments like “KKK Good” and “sensible Uncle Tom Type” in the margins.
There is also evidence that Stroud bribed three of the key witnesses, for example, by purchasing a minibike for one and offering another $40,000 to appear in a grand jury hearing.
Justice for political prisoners, for activists whose very struggle for freedom and justice is criminalized, for those who suffer from the abuse of state power, are all topics of concern for feminists.  The Civil Rights struggle continues today; social and economic injustices persist today, and are perpetuated in public schools, at “our” borders, in prisons.  Women are always implicated in the system, both as participants in and victims of egregious injustice done in the name of free trade and national security, both of which constitute a twentieth-century revision of White Men’s Rights demonstrations that occurred in Wilmington’s historic Hugh MacRae Park at the time of the Wilmington Ten trials.

I used to play in that park, y’all.  -Sarah-Kathryn Bryan

Shared by our friend Jeff DeLuca

I’ve gotten used to the drive between Chapel Hill, NC and Jupiter, FL. When I’m feeling awake, I split the 10-11 hour trek between an audiobook and tunes. Post-campaign life has left me more burned out than I could ever imagine, so blasting music was the only option today. Crossing the Florida border tells me I’m entering the last third of the trip, which tends to drag so I stopped off in Jacksonville for gas, coffee, and something slightly healthier to eat than the Bojangles I consumed in South Carolina earlier that morning.

I almost pulled into a Hess station until I noticed that the Valero next door was a full six cents/gallon cheaper. As I step up to the filling station, I notice quickly that I’m “across the lines”. (Jacksonville is still one of the most segregated cities in the country.) Feeling dirty for the racism and classism inherent in such uneasiness, I start filling my tank. It’s cloudy and there’s a mist in the air. There’s a white woman in a thin, worn but not ratty, black dress wandering around the lot. The dress was torn at the bottom like she’d been walking on it. It’s 60 degrees out, which is like 40 in North Carolina. She could have been 40 or 60 years old. I don’t know. But she’s shivering as she approaches my car from behind, her dress damp from the mist. Feebly but with an Oklahoma accent that could cut a prairie wind, she asks me: “Sir, I mean no disrespect at all…” I turn toward her, compelled by her humble request and a gut feeling that something was very immediately wrong about her situation. Then I saw the black spot under her right eye.

“My husband of seventeen years just up and left me with nothing but this”, she said as she lifted her dress and exposed her shoeless, cut-up feet. This is not a woman who lives outside.  I can’t imagine it had been more than 24 hours since the event. “I’m not even from here. I’m from Tulsa, Oklahoma and I have nowhere to go.” Shock is the not the word.

I fumbled around my car looking for change, until I remembered the cash I had in my pocket. I asked her if I could help her get in touch with a women’s shelter. She already had. The beds were all full. I wasn’t surprised, but heartbroken for her all over again. As I gave her my last six dollars she teared up and taking me in her arms she kissed me on the neck. She was so genuine about it. Some would victim blame and say she was probably a drug addict, an alcoholic, or a nutcase. None of those would change the fact that she was left for dead by the man she gave her life to. A man who had the power to leave her with nothing on the streets of Jacksonville, 1100 miles and a $211 Greyhound ticket from home, three days before Thanksgiving, and did. I wish I had been with it enough to hug her back the way I would have liked to. To talk to her for a minute and get a better sense of her story. She disappeared down the street before I could think of another course of action.

I went inside the Food Mart, still totally in shock, and got my coffee and banana before getting back on the road. I turned on Tracy Chapman’s self-titled first album so it wasn’t long before the tears came. (You should listen to “Why?” after reading this.) I wondered what the woman I just met would do and if I could have or should have tried to do more for her. I’ll never know her name. Nor she mine. I’ll never know if she made it back to Tulsa, or if that was even the goal. I don’t know where she’s sleeping tonight or if she has dry clothes. I know violence though. I certainly know men’s violence, as generations of it have steered my personal narrative in ways I’ve only recently become mature enough to understand.

I am wondering exactly how many women are in the same situation I saw today, maybe within blocks of that Valero. I’m thinking too about those women filling the beds of crisis centers and women’s shelters across America. (Congress still hasn’t renewed the Violence Against Women Act.) I’m thinking I couldn’t care less about rich white men and their wannabes who don’t want to pay for the resources necessary to help survivors of interpersonal violence. I’m thinking about my own privilege (white, male, cisgender, able-bodied, not impoverished) and how lucky I am to know I’m sleeping under a roof in a warm bed tonight. I’m thinking about the unknown power of our decisions, even the decision of one gas station over another, and the unanticipated renogation of perspectives through personal connection. But mostly, I’m wondering if she’s ok.

Seven months after nationwide actions against budget cuts and tuition hikes on March 4th, the National Day to Defend Public Education, the struggle continues. The economic crisis has resulted in the university’s crisis of priorities and the students are fighting back.

The Board of Trustees raised in-state tuition by 24% in the past year and they want to lift the cap on tuition increases, while over four thousand class sections have been cut since 2007.  Over 300 facilities workers have been laid off, yet nine levels of management supervision remain. Our situation at UNC-CH is just one example of downward trends across the country in public education.

Another day of national action has been planned for October 7th.

Women, and especially women of color, have historically been denied access to public education and continue to be marginalized in various academic departments, such as the Sciences.  UNC-CH undergraduate studies were desegregated in 1955, but the first African-American woman did not attend the university until 1963.

Academic departments focused on women, people of color, and LGBTQ folks feel the effects of budgets cuts disproportionately.  Centers that serve women and other oppressed groups such as the Women’s Center and the American Indian Center are the first to have their budget slashed when cuts are made. While at UNC-CH the “average” budget cut to the hardest-hit centers was 17%, the total cut for the Carolina Women’s Center was 25%.

Housekeepers, a workforce that is comprised overwhelmingly of women of color, continue to be fired and laid off, despite the fact that Bain and Co. found that UNC needs to hire more housekeepers.  The workers who remain take on an increased workload but receive no subsequent increase in pay, and administrators enact dehumanizing rules such as the no-sitting policies which infantalizes these workers and puts their health at risk all in the name of increased efficiency.

While housekeepers are paid the lowest salaries, administrators’ salaries continue to increase. Chancellor Thorp makes $420,000 per year (15 times that of the average housekeeper and 11 times that of the median North Carolina household income) and a committee of the UNC system’s governing board suggested that the new UNC system president Tom Ross — the eighth white man to assume the position — should make $550,000 a year, a 15% increase from Bowles’ salary.

As feminists, we will not stand idly by as sexism, heterosexism, racism and capitalism work to dismantle the public education that students fought hard to access and improve.  Join us on October 7th to defend public education at 3pm at the State Capitol building in Raleigh where we will rally and march with groups from across the state.

Despite the thousands who marched with the NAACP against the proposal to re-segregate the Wake County school system this past weekend, the protests led by Enloe High School students outside the school board meeting, and the fact Wake County has been recognized for the successes of its income-based schooling assignments, the school board voted 5-4 last night to re-segregate its schools.

The switch to neighborhood schooling assignments will manifest as a class and racial segregation, against the successes that the income-based assignments have created. Wake County’s SAT scores were on average, “58 points above the national average and 83 points above the state average.” When it comes to EOC proficiency, in 2008 the district scored 7.9% higher than the state.

For more information on Wake’s successes see this NYT article:

Web editor of Carolina Parent, Odile Fredericks, summed up this push towards re-segregation by saying, “yesterday I realized what ‘neighborhood schools’ mean. They mean that children whose parents have less economic means will be clustered together at school. They mean that children will have less exposure to people who come from walks of life different than their own. They mean we parents are ultimately going to take care of our own children, and leave those less fortunate to their own resources.”

Arguments for re-segregating the schools included the fact that buses provide transportation for students to schools further away, and that parents, especially low-income, may have difficulties reaching the schools. Yet in a poll taken, an astounding 94% of people were happy with their school placement, no matter how far from their home it was.

It was made clear last night that it is not the low-income and families of color that were in support of the new school system. Parent Dawn Bartlett said, “I’m completely in favor of neighborhood and community schools. It will allow me to volunteer in a school that’s not 20 miles away.” Bartlett’s statement, accompanied by clusters of older white men dressed in suits with large red stickers reading “I support the new school system,” made it painfully clear who the new school system is meant to benefit.

The Wake County school system is the second largest in the state. Not only will this school board decision negatively affect children in this county, but it will set a precedent for the re-segregation of school systems around the state. Racism is different today than it was half a century ago. It is more discreet, disguised by terms like “forced busing” and “neighborhood schools.” Yet it is no less dangerous than the Jim Crow laws of America’s discriminatory past.

Thankfully the decision is not yet finalized. We cannot allow conservative reactionaries to undermine the progress that has been made.  Come out on Tuesday March 16th for the final vote and make it known, Wake County will not be re-segregated!

In solidarity,

Laurel and Lauren

For more information on this push towards re-segregation, see this NYT article:

Every week, check for our This Week in Feminism post – a list of the most current strides in feminism and instances of sexism and racism and class inequality, from a rotating round of co-collaborators.  Do you have a link you think would be appropriate for this section? Please feel free to leave it in the comments.Right on the tails of our event last night on Crisis Pregnancy Centers, many of this week’s links are about reproductive rights being cut across the country and world.

— Jessica & Eva

This Saturday is HKonJ – Historic Thousands on Jones St – a huge rally in Raleigh, NC put together by the NAACP and attended by progressive activists across the State.

Apex mayor’s op-ed piece on why the Town Council unanimously voted to stop coverage for abortions in town employee’s insurance plans.

Project HOPE publishes a new study with findings confirming that “…immigrants are not contributing disproportionately to high health care costs in public programs such as Medicaid.”

Eviction has become typical in the lives of poor black women – a piece on this new reality for people in lower income neighborhoods.

A Camarillo, CA hospital has banned midwives from delivering babies – are women-centered practices not welcome?

A proposed bill in Utah will make it a crime for a woman to have a miscarriage, and make induced abortion a crime in some instances.

Lousiana ordered to issue a birth certificate naming a same-sex couple as the parents of their adopted child.

New anti-abortion billboards in Atlanta boldy proclaim “Black Children Are An Endangered Species”.

Marjan Kahlor is the first woman to represent Iran in the Winter Olympics.

Kenya poised to constitutionally ban abortion.

Feminist Students United (FSU) is a progressive feminist organization which affirms that no form of oppression can be overcome until all aspects of racism, classism, sexism, and heterosexism are dismantled. We acknowledge intersecting identities and strive to be mindful of these intersections in all our work. We endeavor to create an environment which is non-hierarchical and supportive in nature, and we work to bring about change in our community through education, outreach, direct action and community organizing.

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