Do You Care About Injustice?

Today at my old college there was a protest over a professor getting fired after he was accused of sexual assault. They don’t believe the girl who reported him – but why is this what these students care about. This an only this. I don’t even know if this man is or isn’t guilty – but what I do know is that the college ignored injustice for years. So why now?

Where were these protests when I was dismissed from the college after reporting a sexual assault? Where were these protests when the boy was found not guilty even though he admitted it and I had proof? Where were these protests when the boy was allowed to stay on campus if he wrote a paper on the sanctity of marriage. Where were the protests when a serial rapist was allowed to graduate? Where were the protests when administration stayed silent?

Where were these protests when this college refused to take our sexual assaults seriously. 

Is it just because you cared more for this professor than you did for any of the students? Because you don’t care about assault survivors? 

Bethany 

The Truth of the Monster

I thought I had found the man, third time’s the charm right?

You looked at me with something in your eyes – something other than lust.

Wanting something more than domination, manipulation, and control.

But you ripped me apart, leaving a bloody mess.

 

I became yours for the taking – I felt dirty.

You never asked for consent and you didn’t stop when I said no.

Only physical force saved me – my physical force.

Once again I was violated by a man who wanted to be a pastor.

 

I blamed myself for every girl after me – every one who you hurt next.

But I wouldn’t let the monster of what you did escape from my lips.

I wouldn’t let the bile rise up – I swallowed it down.

I prayed that the others are fine and that no more will be hurt.

 

I justified what you did to me and to them.

Over and over I justified the things you did.

But then some days my head is clear from your grasp.

And I know – I know that what you did can’t be justified.

 

So one day my mind was crystal clear.

And I made my choice in that clarity.

Phone calls were made and cars were borrowed.

A long night in the police station after hours.

 

So I told – I opened my mouth and the monster came out.

The dark mess came out slowly, then all at once, like bile I couldn’t keep down.

I told the police but I didn’t want charges.

I wanted a record for those after me, for those who might come.

 

But then I went back and I told home – our home – yours and mine.

Because even there I needed there to be a something for those to come after me.

I knew there were some to come – I was the frontrunner.

I was the trailblazer for those hurt by you.

 

I told and the monster came out in our home.

Bile rising up – tears pouring out.

I spoke those words you begged me not to.

The truth burned out – I don’t know if even I could have stopped them.

 

In the end even you – even you admitted it.

No punishments happened to you, not a single one.

And I was the one who received the backlash.

Maybe that was the truth of the monster.

Bethany

Don’t Get Too Close: It’s Dark Inside

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When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide
Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

– Imagine Dragons

So my anger and pain finally caught up to me and I wrote “to” the guy who sexually assaulted me and who I tried to get justice against. I feel like a horrible person. I feel crazy. I feel ridiculous. But this is what’s inside. My pain and my horrid disgusting inability to forgive. My problem with playing victim. My demons. So here they are; no more hiding.

Letters to Carson: Day 1 through Day 40

#ProjectBandTogether

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So a wonderful person started this thing called #projectbandtogether because one of her friends was bullied for wearing a headband. This hashtag is a way for the stories of those who have been bullied to share their stories and know that they are not alone. I also wanted to let people know that I won’t be returning to Houghton College. This explains some of that.
So I’m here to tell you mine, and maybe some will think it’s over sharing. I don’t think so. I want people to know that these things happen. These things happen in college. They happen from a young age. They can affect you. I honestly cannot remember a time in my life that I was not struggling with bullying. I also love headbands so this project is definitely something I wanted to be involved in, although it took me quite awhile to type this up because I’m at camp. So here it goes, it’s a long one friends.
I can’t even remember what the earliest instance was. Whether it was my “best friend” making fun of me and telling me I was fat, ugly, annoying, unlovable, and making me self-conscious about the size of my breasts, or older guys making fun of my wild hair. Some would go as far as to tell me that I was “uglier than a horse’s ass” even though I didn’t know them well. Older boys at my brother’s soccer games would shove me around and poured Gatorade down my shirt while calling me ugly. No matter what age I can always remember guys and girls telling me I looked like shit.
Sometimes this would go as far as to include the people who liked me. People who liked me even just as friends were laughed at because they liked me. My childhood “best friend” would manipulate situations and friendships for a worse outcome for me. Often this included her lying to people and trying to date every guy I liked, in turn this lost me a lot of friends and thought that I just wasn’t good enough.
It didn’t stop there with friends though. I would call emotional abuse an extreme extent of bullying, which is something I experienced from some of my exes. One would constantly tell me I was ugly and that no one other than him would ever love me. I was often told by him how lucky I was to have him. When he left he told me I was only worth my breasts. He was degrading, sexist, and verbally abusive. His next girlfriend constantly posted about me, calling me ugly and crazy, and got my old youth group to join in as well. They named the youth group bus the “I hate Bethany Bus.”
So I left that friend group. It helped that I moved, and I thought everything was great. It was for awhile, I met a great guy and we started dating. The problem was after our relationship that the bullying and abuse appeared. He was abusive and malicious, putting me down in every way, and mess with my mental instability. At the end he told me had been trying to get me to kill myself. Why? To see if he could.
So I’ve faced a lot. And though I’ve faced a lot of bullying – never have I experienced it quite like I did while at Houghton College.
Walking into Houghton College I was bullied. I was bullied for the guy I had dated who was a local. I was bullied and gossiped about for the action I took against him with my college. Then…Yik Yak happened. If you don’t know what Yik Yak is, it’s a lovely location based app for college students to post anonymously. Sounds like a grand idea yeah? Nothing could possibly go wrong. Right?
Freshman year I picked up what we call a yik yak name, “Red.” Which makes it easier for people to pick you out on campus (it helps that Houghton is small and I’m one of the few people with red hair.) This name was originally started up by someone being nice to me – but very quickly did I become one of the people Houghton’s Yik Yak focused on – and not in a good way. The posts varied from talking about how ugly I was, how annoying I was, how weirdly I walked, what a bitch I was, how I needed to leave campus, how fat I was, and a couple times talking about and making fun of me being raped and my sexual assault. I was called damaged goods. I was called a liar. I was told to kill myself.
There were times I was afraid to leave my room. There were times I was too embarrassed to leave my room. There were times I would get depressed. There were times I would get suicidal.
I’m here to tell you that this is not okay. I have not had it the worst – not by a long shot. That is not okay. No one should hate themselves. No one should be subjected to destructive words. No one should reach a point where they want to stop living.
But I’m getting through it. I’m doing things that I need to do to be healthy. I’m trying to cope. I’m trying to separate myself from the toxic things. But I need you all to know something.
There are good people. You need these people.There are people who will support you. There are people who will fight for you. It is not an easy thing to overcome on your own. I don’t know if I could have done it without my friends.
While circumstances outside of my control are holding me back from returning to Houghton next semester, my friends have encouraged me to do what’s best for me. My friends do not want me to return to Houghton, because they know the toll it’s taken on me. (Spoiler! one of them is Liv) They know how toxic Houghton and some of it’s students were to me. My friends have fought for me through every step of the way. They have protected me and held me up. I would not be here without them, even the little things have saved me. I don’t even think they know how much their little things were huge to me. Asking me to eat with them? A hug? Being complimented? It meant the world to me.
Be like them. Be the person who protects others. Be the person who helps. Be the person who encourages. Be the person that stops bullying it’s tracks.
-Bethany

One, Two, Three

One, two, three. Every single one. 


1.
I loved you.

Manipulation was your game. You were good.


Sitting and waiting. Talking. With baited breath I waited for you to ask me out. It was perfect. A godly boy asking me out in the church. So I waited for the question.

“Can I feel you?”

No. No you can’t. No. I screamed. I shouted.

But instead I was silent. I was 14 and you were 17. I was embarrassed. Scared.

But under the cross your hands slid up.
Before I had ever even been kissed.

And I cried. You saw it.

But you drove me home and wouldn’t take me back to my grandparents house until I gave you what you wanted.


A year of tying up my will. A year of strangling my self worth.

Then finally you asked me that day, November, cold and snowy, in the back of your car, if I wanted to have sex with you.

No! No. You’ve taken too much. Let me have this. I screamed. I shouted.

But instead I was silent. I was 15 and you were 18. You told me…if you asked I wasn’t allowed to say no. I didn’t say no. But I never said yes. And you knew. We had talked about it. You knew I didn’t want it.

The webs you spun in my mind were so vast I still haven’t untangled them. I was unlovable and lucky to have you. You’d leave me.

I was dead inside after that day.


Slut. Whore. Liar. Attention seeking.

I tried to speak up. I did.

But I was told that I couldn’t be raped by my boyfriend. That it couldn’t happen by the hands of a man who wanted to be a pastor.


I confronted you. Told you exactly what you did to me.

You called it non-consensual sex. You said rape was a heavy word.
It’s a heavy thing: what you did to me.
It’s something that won’t leave my shoulders. It’ll weigh me down.

You told me you loved me. But your love was not patient or kind. You kept a record of every wrong I did. You manipulated me and controlled my every action. You lashed out with anger every second you could. And I was your punching bag.

So I wonder, do you love her, the way you loved me?

God I hope not, I hope you truly are changed. I tried to speak up. I tried to speak out. But she didn’t believe me.

I hope I did my part. Because I can’t imagine her being married to the abusive man I dated.


2.
All you are is abuse.

You were kind once. Maybe it was part of your game.

Games. You were good at those. Do you remember? Like the one you played with me for months? Manipulating and twisting. Changing and hurting. That game you played? You called it “I want you to kill yourself.”

You admitted it.

You’ve admitted a lot to me. Like how you only wanted me for my body. That you wanted me to “enjoy when we are fucking and shut up when we aren’t.”

Because that’s all I was to you. I was no friend. Not even a person. Just an object to find release with.

You knew I wanted more. That I loved you. You knew my past. So you lied. You played those games.

There was that time when you hit me. You said it was an accident. My bloody lip and the space between us didn’t agree.

Do you remember the other games you played? My favorite was the one where you begged me for things and then told everyone I threw myself at you. I said no. I said no so many times. But you knew how I felt about you. You used it against me. You wanted to break me. In the end I allowed it. That was my fault. I was wrapped around your finger.


I tried to tell, you know. I tried to tell about all of it. Of course you did. That’s when you tried to destroy me. You lost control over me, so you tried to hurt me. But still, I tried to tell. It worked…maybe.

Can you call it working when I’m called a slut and liar? Did it really work when society thinks I spoke up just to get back at you? 


You are abuse.

And I forgive you.

But I haven’t forgiven myself for the fear you left me with. Nor do I find it easy forgive those who blindly ran to your aid. I find it hard to forgive my destruction.

But I forgive you.


3.
I didn’t just want you. I wanted to marry you.

I thought I found the man. For once a man who appreciated me and my intelligence. Who looked at me and saw beauty. Not treating me like a doll. Not telling me to “enjoy when we are fucking and shut up when we aren’t”

Looking at me with eyes filled with something other than lust. Wanting me around for something other than domination, manipulation, and control.

But you ripped that from me leaving a bloody mess. For the third time I’d lost. You looked at me like I was for you. Like I was yours for the taking. I felt dirty.

You didn’t ask for consent. You didn’t stop when I said no. Only physical force saved me.

I saved me, but I couldn’t save the faith and trust I had in people. I couldn’t really stop myself from feeling violated. Violated by the man who wants to be a pastor.


I blame myself for every girl after me. But still I couldn’t let the monster escape from my lips. I couldn’t hurt you. I couldn’t tell. I still justify what you did. I justify what you did to me, and I pray that the other girls are fine.


But then some days my head is clear from your grasp and I know. I know it can’t be justified.


So one day I made my choice. Phone calls were made. Cars were borrowed. All pushing me to one long night in the police station after hours.

I told. I opened my mouth and the monster came out.
The dark mess came out slowly, then all at once. Like bile I couldn’t keep down.
I told. I told the police. I didn’t want charges. I wanted a record for those who came after me.

But then I went home and I told.

Our home. Yours and mine. Because I needed there to be something for those to come after me, because I knew they were coming. I was the front-runner.

I told. The monster came out in our home.
Bile rising up. Tears pouring out.
I spoke those words you begged me not to.

In the end even you.
Even you admitted it.

And I was the one who received the backlash.



One, two, three.
Every damn one. I don’t know what healthy looks like.
One, two, three. Three strikes. I’m out.


Or I thought I was.

But maybe now I’ve grown. I’m out of their games, but I’m not out of my own.

I am stronger than what happened. I am stronger than my broken past. One day I will stand up, full and tall, free of the weight, free of the fear, and free of the bile, that these men left me with.

My story isn’t over yet. I haven’t reached my strongest. I haven’t broken.
My story isn’t over and I’ll be damned if I let it end like this.

One, two, three.
I’m not out of the game yet.


This is a story that outlines my three relationships I’ve been in. Everything in this is true, and while it’s not prettily written it’s something I wrote to read aloud during Take Back the Night. I’m hoping this story will continue to grow with me and have a better ending with more of a resolve. 

Thanks for reading!

-April 16th, 2016

Hey guys, so some of you may have noticed, and some of you may have never read this before, but I added more to my story. Since writing this in April I did some more things and it changed the ending of my story a bit. I really wanted to at least get some of it finished before this November as it’s the anniversary of a couple different things for me. I’ve reached a point in my life where I realized these instances do not define my future, but they do explain a lot of who I am. I don’t need to explain myself to anyone, but I do want to share these things with people. So many of my friends who have read it said they can relate to it and honestly that’s part of why I’m sharing it. 

I am not a perfect person. I have not written my wrongdoings and I do have them – but this originally started as therapy for me. If you want to know all my faults, feel free to ask about them. No side was perfect.

So honestly, thank you for reading. Welcome to my mind.

-October 26th, 2016

Bethany

 

The Sorrow Estate (Debut Album and Funding)

Hey everyone,

So my friend Laura Johnson has a debut album coming out on May 1st. Here’s the deal though, she needs your help. She needs some help with funding. However you can choose a perk to go along with your contribution, but every dollar counts! I would encourage you to check out her Facebook page as her voice is amazing.

For a sort of “show” that my school puts on once a semester she sang “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. I just have to say she killed it.

Please fund her! She is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet!

Bethany

College, Yik Yak and Twitter

I’m so done with my college. So so done. To start it all of some people at my college started Twitter accounts to post “gossip” (but basically it was all slander and just plain lies.) They accused someone of rape (or it sounds like they accused the accuser of accusing of rape.) Which these girls came forward and said they never accused him of rape (they’re like best friends so why would they lie? And why would they publicly defend him if it was true?)

Then the person running the account posting screenshots of who had been sending them “tips” (information? Gossip? I dunno it seemed like gossip girl to me.)

And wowwie. A friend of mine send it something awful about my roommate and her guy friend, and something horrible about me. Neither of which were TRUE but they had some truth to them..

So basically now everyone knows  some guy tried to get me to kill myself for months…so now I feel like I’m going to viewed like a crazy person.

Oh and the best part of it all? Apparently people think it’s me who started these pages. Like the the heck. It’s going around that it was me? I’m pretty sure the person who hates me on yik yak started it and now it’s gotten out of control. Like do people not realize what these rumors can do to people? Even baseless accusations can ruin my standing at this college… I’m sick of people talking badly about me. I’m sick of rumors I can’t do anything to stop.

Gotta love college..Right.

Bethany

Reverse Racism Does Not Exist

So earlier today my first article came out in my student newspaper The Houghton Star. I’ve received a fair amount of negative backlash but I still think it’s important.

Firstly, I want to make it known that I realize that I personally do not have to deal with thinking about my race constantly. In America, whiteness is viewed as the default. Since I’m white, I don’t have to deal with any sort of discrimination or racism. Therefore, I may not be the best authority in this matter, but I have the opportunity to present the problems inherent in the phrase “reverse racism.”

Bethany SchoonoverRGBLet me be blunt: reverse racism does not exist. It may help to begin by defining what racism is. When a race has the position of power over minority races and, purposefully or not, uses this power in a way that negatively affects these minorities — that is  racism. When anything is said or done that affects a minority race as a whole negatively — that is  racism. Racism is negative comments that further negative and harmful stereotypes about minorities. Racism is refusing to hire someone because of their race. Racism is the high incarceration rates and low graduation rates among people of color. Sometimes, sadly, racism is violence and hate crimes.

These things are undeniable examples of racism, but comments, such as “white people can’t dance” aren’t racist . Hating someone because they are white is not racism. These things are better understood as “racial prejudice.” Racial prejudice exists purely on an individual level, unlike racism, which also operates on institutional and cultural levels. While saying “white people don’t like spicy food” might hurt an individual’s feelings, it can’t really do any cultural or institutional harm. There is no power behind statements like that.

bethanyNeither racism nor racial prejudice is acceptable. As Christians, we are called to love one another and embrace our unity in Christ. This is why the apostle Paul wrote that “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) We should therefore criticize any kind of prejudice that is grounded in race. While on this earth, it is perfectly great for people to celebrate their racial background — however, in Christ we are the same.

White Americans must realize that we do not face racism on an institutional scale. Perhaps we occasionally face racial prejudice or insensitive jokes, but our racial background does not seriously limit our opportunities for success or impair our lives in any meaningful way. The problem with calling out “reverse racism” is that it silences and devalues those who face true racism. So please, don’t buy into the myth of “reverse racism” when what you’re actually speaking about is racial prejudice.

 

If you want to read it on the official site or leave a comment you can go to the online Houghton Star.

Bethany

The Houghton Star and Sexual Harassment

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So my college has recently implemented a new training on what to do if you see someone being harassed or if you yourself are being harassed. Because it was new it was up to my college’s newspaper (The Houghton Star) to get the college’s view on it. However when my friend brought me the newspaper on Friday afternoon I was pissed.

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To me this was so offensive because does it matter? Does it matter if it’s 1 or 100? In addition some of these people who said these comments knew people on campus who had been sexually harassed or assaulted at the college. The other comments on here (some of them) I was also super pissed about…so I decided to write a letter to the editor.

Dear Editor,

While maybe this is not what a letter to the editor is usually about, I still wanted to address those on the Word on the Street section who disagreed with the sexual assault survey.

To those who found it annoying or thought that it came at the wrong time: I understand. I agree that the timing was poorly placed. I won’t lie, when I saw it I knew that the training would be viewed as another stressor. But I’ll also tell the hard truth, as someone who has dealt with sexual assault both on and off campus – I was ecstatic.

Was it annoying?  I’m sure. Was it something to make the campus safer? Yessir. Would I take making the campus safer of not having something that I viewed as annoying? Most definitely.

To those who find that this training  won’t change anything: I need you to hear that sometimes it’s not just a matter of the heart. Sometimes it’s a lack of education on the topic. I know of several instances that could have been prevented if only the perpetrator was more educated. So maybe this wasn’t the best implementation of educating Houghton, but people do need to be educated.

To those who questioned its usefulness: was it as effective as it should be? No. But it was a step in the right direction. I am trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, that you don’t hear about what goes on within the Houghton Bubble. I hear about a lot of stories, but maybe you’ve heard of none to one. However if you’ve heard of just one, that shouldn’t matter. Whether it’s one instance or ten, shouldn’t we be doing something to stop and prevent it? As someone who has dealt with sexual assault at the college I feel like asking if the campus needed to be educated devalued any singular instance. Does it need to be a multitude? Isn’t one instance enough? Shouldn’t we stop and prevent it before that happens?

Houghton is safer than most campuses – but it is not safe. No matter what there’s always room for improvement so I commend Houghton for taking a step in the right direction.

Bethany Schoonover ‘18

Since writing this I’ve had several girls come up to me and thank me for being so brave and also because they’ve been harassed themselves on campus.

If you want to see the online version of my campus’ paper just click on this link.

Bethany