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More letters and some responses
My motives (written November 1, 2000)
My motives have recently been misunderstood so I am attempting to clarify them.
First, as emotions and motives are intimately connected, I have many motives, just as I have many emotions.
Throughout this process my emotions have changed, and so have my motives. Some of those motives are undoubtedly "healthier" and more "noble" than others, yet it is difficult to separate them or even to continually identify them.
My motives may appear different to different people. I have not gone to great lengths to manipulate people's perceptions. What is most important to me is how I feel about what I am doing, not how others feel or what they might believe or assume. I feel quite secure with my inner compass, my sense of fairness, justice, etc.
I believe I hold myself to a higher standard than is the norm in American society. I also believe the objective facts will support this. This does not mean that I use the same standards of measurement as is common in the USA. I do not.
My standards are my own personal standards and my morals come from within. Lawrence Kohlberg wrote that the highest stage of moral development is moral autonomy, and I agree. In "Civil Disobedience" Thoreau spoke of the conscience of one as being a better guide than the opinions of the majority or of the state.
It is up to me to constantly reflect on my emotions and motives. One of the most powerful statements I have ever heard, in fact, is "Question your motives."
I still feel defensive about an attack on my motives, so I will say that I appreciate constructive feedback when it is offered with true empathy and compassion in a helping way. I believe my emotional intelligence is high enough to discern someone who is truly empathetic and compassionate from someone who merely says the words, or who might feel somewhat empathetic, but who feels other emotions more intensely.
So what are my motives for creating this website and contacting so many people? The foremost are to raise awareness, to inform, to motivate, to awaken. Next are to educate, model, influence, help and inspire. Next is to seek support -- emotional and tangible. Last are to punish, discredit, seek revenge and/or restitution. And somewhere mixed in is to cleanse and regain some of my lost power and self-esteem.
So if you question my motives, I ask that you consider my own direct expression of them rather than forming your own conclusions based on incomplete and unsubstantiated information.
For anyone who truly wishes to be helpful, instead of judging me, offer your suggestions on how I can better align my actions with these motives. Such feedback would be appreciated. And if you are confused about something, ask me. This seems simple enough. Cynically, I think perhaps it is too simple for some who have been over-educated, or perhaps those who are so insecure as to fear direct communication.
Manuel Smith said we have three forms of response to threats. Two are widely known: Fight or flight. He said the third is to verbally problem solve. I believe, then, that the more clear, direct and honest the communication, including communication of emotions, the faster the problems can be resolved. I have a chat box on my web page. It is anonymous. I am easy to talk to and a good listener. I have developed my own model of listening, in fact, which I believe I follow fairly well. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about my motives or anything else.
University of Florida - no time limit for reporting sexual abuse
According to our Affirmative Action Office (Vice Provost Hart) there is no time limit on reporting incidents that you described in your email. I have forwarded a copy of this email to Dr. Hart's office.
Corey A. King
Assistant Dean and
Director for Student Judicial Affairs
University of Florida
P202 Peabody Hall
PO Box 114075
Gainesville, FL 32611-4075
Letters and responses
October 19, 2000
I am a mother of two children and live in Hong Kong. My son is three and a
half year old and my daughter is one year old. I start to search
information on parental guidance via internet since last year. I do not
remember how I come to your website and bookmark it. When I revisit your
site today I learn that you came across so dreadful experience. You have my
There was a sexual abuse case months ago that shocked me. A swimming tutor
was convicted for sexual abuse several teenage girls who learnt swimming.
At least, one was pregnant and had abortion. They are only the tip of the
iceberg. I worry about these girls.
How can I as a parent to protect my children, and we to protect our next
generation from being sexually abuse? This is the next topic that I need to
search for information.
Thank you for writing.
It is a good question you ask. I am thinking of an answer for you.
My first thoughts are that to protect your children the most important thing
is to develop their self-esteem; their self-confidence.
But also, it is to teach them to trust their feelings.
And to express their feelings.
For example, if I would have been more "in touch" with my feelings, as we
say in English, in other words if I would have been more in the habit of
asking myself how I feel and putting a label on the feeling, then I think I
would have been more likely to stop the abuse before it got to such an
For example, I wonder now what might have happened if I would have gone to
the professor the next day after the first time he touched my leg in the
auditorium, and said, "I felt very uncomfortable with you touching my leg
This leads me to say now that it will help to teach your children to place a
high value on their feelings and on feelings in general. In most societies
feelings are not valued highly. The popularity of the term emotional
intelligence has helped raise their value and the research Mayer and Salovey
are doing has also helped.
If I would have been raised to believe my feelings were important than here
is what might have happened. The professor might have invalidated my
feelings and tried to talk me out of them and into a relationship with him.
Then if I valued my own feelings I would remain loyal to them and they would
serve as a guide for me. I might have then told him, "I feel disrespected by
you now, because I have told you how I felt and you did not respect my
feelings. Instead, you tried to talk me out of them."
I might have said "I feel pressured by you."
If I had been more aware of my own feelings, I might have even said, "I feel
disgusted by the thought of your touching me."
But because I was not raised to express my feelings verbally, and because I
was raised to value grades more than feelings, I did not express disgust.
Had I expressed myself and then been invalidated by him, and
had I known the
importance of respect for feelings, I might have been sufficiently motivated
to tell some other people and take some action.
Another thing to help your children from getting in such a situation --
I believe that if I had a more open relationship with my family members or
another adult, I might have told someone. I read that abusers depend on
silence to keep abusing. But if I would have talked to my older sister
perhaps, who was at the university at the same time, perhaps she would have
taken action for me or with me.
But in our family we didn't talk about things like that. I am not sure
exactly why. But one thing I want to do is get more families and more adults
to talk with children about abuse. I guess it was too "scary" of a topic.
One of the best things you can do, I believe as a parent is to be a good
listener to your children. I believe they will naturally tell you things
unless they are afraid of how you will react. If they start to feel judged,
lectured to, etc. then they will stop telling you things.
If they were older, say teenagers, I would recommend you ask them
how much they feel judged by you on a scale of 0-10. Ask them
how much they feel lectured to.
It might help you to read my section on parenting very
carefully, so as you raise them you will be more conscious of some things
I would also suggest you express your fears directly to them. I think a few
words are more powerful than a long lecture. For example, "I am very afraid
that one day someone will try to take advantage of their power over you."
"I am afraid if it happens you won't tell me about it."
As they get older, listen more and talk less.
For older children I try to ask them what they would recommend to a friend if a friend told them they
were being pressured or harassed or abused. Most young people now have a
good sense of what to do. As they grow, help them think through the options. Don't just
tell them what to do. When I talk to teenagers my guideline is that I want
to talk 10% of the time and let them talk 90% of the time. I guide them with
my questions. I keep my responses short and always validating. I try never
to judge or give much advice. It seems this works like magic. Teens open up
to me and "pour their hearts out" - in other words they tell me things they
don't tell any other adults.
My sections on listening, validating and invalidating might be of particular
Well, best wishes.
Please tell me if this makes sense and tell me if there are any special
things about the Chinese culture which you think are relevant here.
Also, if you find some resources on how to help empower your children so
this won't happen to them, please let me know. I will add them to my web
PS I am sending you a full list of my "feeling words" - they will be good English practice for you and your kids!
Note- after I wrote this I came across these sites on protecting children from abuse
http://www.cs.utk.edu/~bartley/sacc/childAbuse.html (I would add under their list of things to do- Help the child express their feelings.)
October 29, 2000
While cleaning out my email tonight I ran across your message
sexual abuse. You've probably wondered about my silence on this
important, sensitive experience in your life. Don't know how I missed
this, but tonight is the first I've read about your experience. I had a
similar experience while in college, though not nearly so traumatic
because I ran before anything happened beyond some uncomfortable body
language. I couldn't sleep nights knowing my boss and would-be abuser
had keys to my dormitory room because of her position at the
university. I confided in the Dean who helped me quietly move to
another university. That's the way things were done thirty years ago.
I hope you are getting some responses that will help you resolve this
situation to your satisfaction.
Excerpts from one response (recvd 10/30)
I received your e-mail regarding the alleged sexual harassment by Maurice Garnier at IU in the 1970s. First, let me say that I am sympathetic to your cause. [I have omitted some personal details he or she shared]
With that said, .... I think that the way you are proceeding is clearly of a malicious intent. It is highly inappropriate for you to send e-mails to the entire faculty population and the entire graduate student population in the department.
....it is clearly inappropriate for us, members of the IU sociology community, to respond to such allegations....we are in no way connected to these incidents.
Does this mean that we are not sympathetic to your
concerns? Of course not. Does this mean that we are
defending Maurice? Of course not. Does this mean that
we are taking part in the "bureaucratic bullshit" that,
as you suggest, is IU? Of course not. What it does
mean is that, as a community of professionals, we are trying to
act as such. As a community of professionals, we are trying
to stay out of a situation which we SHOULD stay out of. We
are NOT connected to this situation. It is unprofessional
for us to become engaged in a situation where we do not know the
truth...where we do not have the facts...where we do not know all
of the actors involved. Further, this is a very personal
set of allegations. This kind of matter should not be
settled in such a public way.
As a graduate student I knew nothing of the situation until I received your bizarre e-mail. ... There is no proof of the events. As far as I know, there is no pending legal case. As far as I know, there is no current investigation. Thus, why was I drawn into this situation? I have come to the conclusion that I have been drawn into this situation because, regardless of whether your allegations are true or false, they clearly embarrass Dr. Garnier in front of his colleagues. Thus, I believe you sent the e-mail to us (the grad students) in order to embarrass him. In my opinion, that is malicious.
Once again, I would like to reiterate that I am sympathetic to your concerns. If these allegations are in fact true, then my heart goes out to you. I can only hope that you will get the proper professional help and obtain the ability to move forward in your life. However, I must also reiterate that the manner in which you are proceeding diminishes the credibility of these allegations. From my point of view, that of an objective observer, it appears as though you are trying to embarrass Dr. Garnier in front of his colleagues. Why else would you bring so many innocent people with no knowledge of the events into the mix? I am not defending Dr. Garnier as I do not know him in any capacity. However, I am in no position to offer anything to this situation and would urge you to leave me, and other people with no knowledge of this situation, out of the mix. This is something that should be handled by an official investigation or legal proceeding...not something that should be handled in the court of public opinion.
An IU Sociology Grad Student
My feelings after reading this (and doing my little analysis below), sarcastic, defensive, labeled, misunderstood, disrespected, falsely accused, lectured to, shouted at, judged, advised, debative, combative, incredulous, amused, affirmed, educated, informed, appreciative, cynical, superior, compassionate, understanding, helped, clever, childish, unempathetic, judgmental, creative, rebellious, defiant, nonconforming, and "highly inappropriate," mocked, mocking, resentful, intimidating, harmless, mischievious, (that is the way I spell it), playful, analytical, satisfied
Numerical analysis of actual letter:
Number of "should"s = 4
- "professional" and "unprofessional") = 4
- "bizarre" = 1
- "inappropriate = 2
- "malicious" = 2
Number of "I think"s = 1
Number of "of course not"s = 3
Number of all cap words = 2
Number of "I feel" sentences = 0
November 1, 2000
Good morning (UK time...) Steve; I've just finished
reading your site. I'm so sorry that this happened to
you. You seem to be dealing with it now very thoughtfully
and with a great deal of self-awareness. I don't know much
about abuse, although I did do some work last year on the North
Wales Child Abuse Inquiry for the NSPCC (National Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Children). This was an inquiry
into sexual and physical abuse in children's homes over three
decades. I'm shocked that the university has imposed a
limit on the length of time a survivor might need to make such
allegations. In the case of the North Wales inquiry, adults
were finally able to speak out about their suffering sometimes
thirty years after the event.
I don't know if you will find this useful, but the NSPCC has a website at http://www.nspcc.org.uk/homepage/. Their work relates more to children than students but they undertake extensive research into sexual and physical abuse.
I wish I could say or do something to lessen this ordeal for you; I'll be thinking of you and hope you find the support you need to achieve closure.
Thanks for taking a look at my site. I know it is a bit overwhelming.
I appreciate when people at least acknowledge it and offer a few words of
support. Sometimes it is a very lonely struggle.
Thanks for that link - I took a quick look and got a little teary eyed
thinking about kids being abused. A little too close to home I guess right
now, but I will take another look later. It looks like a good resource.
Say, what are you doing up so early!!!
It is 10:30 here in north america!
PS if you ever want to chat for a minute I have a chat box on my home page.
It is fun!