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‘Raped at Yale’: Amanda Ruggeri on why she didn’t speak out

“Over the years, more than a dozen female friends have told me they were raped,” Amanda Ruggeri ’07 writes. “Not one of us reported it. None of us went public.”

This morning, Ruggeri broke that silence with an article on New York magazine’s website.

“When I was drugged and raped my sophomore year at Yale, I should have been ready to speak out,” she writes. “And yet . . . I did nothing. I did not press charges. I did not write an op-ed. I did not go to a Take Back the Night demonstration. I did not even tell my family.”

In a calm, factual tone, Ruggeri tells of going to a party on the Old Campus with a friend, the friend’s boyfriend, and a friend of the boyfriend. “We didn’t know anyone at the party, but at Yale, that never seemed to matter; everyone was safe, and everyone was welcoming.”

The safe and welcoming atmosphere evaporated after someone handed Ruggeri and her female friend shots that she believes were drugged. Both women blacked out.

The next morning, the friend’s boyfriend filled in the facts: after drinking the shot, Ruggeri couldn’t talk, couldn’t walk, fell down the stairs. Her companions carried her across the courtyard and left her with the boyfriend’s friend, who—despite her incoherence and bedwetting—had sex with her.

Ruggeri reported the rape to “a college official,” who handed her a Kleenex and a pamphlet outlining her options. She briefly imagined telling her story to a disciplinary committee, she writes. But “I knew I couldn’t do it. If one person, just one, voiced the thing I feared the most—that I had brought this, somehow, on myself—I would have crumbled.”

Since then, Ruggeri writes, she has heard similar stories over and over from women who also chose to keep their rapes a secret.

“In our senior year, I was in an all-female secret society,” she writes. “There were 13 of us. We were 21 years old. As each of us gave our ‘bios’ . . . I kept count. The number was four. And all four assaults had gone unreported, un-investigated, and uncounted.”

Ruggeri notes that, since she graduated, Yale has changed its system for handling complaints of sexual assault and harassment. But her article responds less to Yale’s campus climate than to a conservative critique of activists and politicians—including President Barack Obama—who are drawing attention to what one such critic, columnist George Will, calls “the supposed campus epidemic of rape.”

Thanks to recent actions on campus sexual violence by a White House task force and the federal education department, colleges are learning “that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate,” Will writes in the Washington Post.

Hence the headline on Ruggeri’s article: “I Was Raped, and I Stayed Silent About My ‘Coveted Status.’’’

“As it turns out,” she writes, “women don’t need conservative columnists telling us that the problem is really our campus, or hookup culture, or ourselves. We’ve internalized that way of thinking just fine.”


The Yale Alumni Magazine is published by Yale Alumni Publications Inc., an alumni-based nonprofit that is not run by Yale University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration.

Filed under sexual misconduct, Amanda Ruggeri, George Will


  • Martin Snapp
    Martin Snapp, 4:22pm June 12 2014 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    And I know of another sexual assault case that WAS reported, and Yale gave the perp a pass.

  • Sam
    Sam, 10:53am August 11 2014 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Our culture of Fun, Fashion, Food and FORNICATION is indicative of our nihilistic values. We're going to crumble through our progeny.

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