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November 03, 2021 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily

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Content warning: This article contains
descriptions of sexual assault.
Editor’s note: The name Morgan is a
or two years now, I have watched
with pride as women and men
victimized by systems of abuse
brought their stories to the forefront
and forced the western world to
confront some of the incommodious
yet defining underpinnings of our
As a Black man, I’ve written about
the visceral emotions surrounding
an activist, I’ve spoken at protests
and worked on campaigns. As an
American, I’ve written about the
duality of loving this country while
hating much of our broken political
classism. However, as a survivor, I
have stayed silent.
See, my story is not one of
institutional abuse. It is not the
culmination of a steady stream of
harassment. It was not kept secret by
some cadre of powerful individuals
who conspired to silence me.
My story is mine, but it isn’t
unfamiliar on this campus. In fact,
it’s all too common.
inter semester, 2020.
I was at a party hosted
by one of my housemates. I didn’t
even think she’d show up; I wasn’t
sure that I wanted her to. I was still
reeling from a breakup but on Tinder
to pass the time. We had been talking
on-and-off for a couple of weeks,
mostly just vapid texts to pass the
time, really nothing but flirtation, so
I asked her to come to the party.
I was no saint. I was just bored and
wanted to get to know someone new.
An hour into the party, I was
casually sipping on a mixed drink,
helping my housemates set up a game
of stack cup when I heard the front
door burst open. I looked over to see
her visibly drunk, stumbling into my
Her friend held her hand as
Morgan walked over to me and
immediately grabbed my arm for
support. She asked me to make her
a drink and, when I told her that
I thought she should take a break,
began drinking from my cup. She
kept taking the drink from my hand,
despite my insistence that she stop.
Her friend went into the kitchen to
grab Morgan a beer.
I followed them into the kitchen,
worried about Morgan’s safety,
something for which her friend
clearly had little concern. While I
was turned away, talking to a friend,
she poured three shots behind my
back. Morgan handed me one, and
the three of us downed the vodka.
Then, as she began pouring another
round, I protested, saying things
like, “I don’t really want to get
drunk. I just want to talk. I’m really
uncomfortable with this.” However,
taunting me, calling me a “pussy,”
Morgan kept the drinks flowing
until I was so drunk I could barely
navigate my own house.
Then, she and her friend began
whispering. As my vision was
blurred, I couldn’t make out what
they were saying, but it seemed as
though the two were agreeing on
some sort of plan. Morgan came over
and, clearly attempting to flirt with
me, started stroking my arm. I leaned
away, not wanting to be touched
so publicly by a near stranger. Not
taking the hint, she leaned against
me more aggressively, asking if I had

Even in my drunken state, I knew
that I shouldn’t give her any, but she
badgered me, saying that it was the
only way to keep her from throwing
up, so I relented and took the two
into my bedroom. As I rummaged
around trying to find the brownie, I
vaguely heard the two whispering
again. Moments later, after I found
it, her friend said, “I’ll leave you two
alone,” leaving the room to play beer
pong mere feet from my first-floor
forcefully kissing me as I backed
away, trying to ground myself and
avoid doing something I’d regret. I
asked her to stop, but she took that
to mean that she should be more
aggressive, grabbing my shirt and
exploring my body with her hands.
I recoiled, which distracted her
enough to remember the brownie.
When she went for the brownie, I
thought that the situation was over.
Just one bad kiss, I thought to
myself. That was all. It’s going to be
However, I was wrong. She broke
the brownie in half, consuming
more weed at once than I had eaten
in the last two months. Then, she
stuck the other half in my mouth,
watching me intensely until I ate it.
I didn’t want to, but at some level,
I think I knew what was going
to happen would happen either
way, and, honestly, I didn’t want to
remember it.
After swallowing the brownie,
I made one last attempt, saying, “I
think we should go back to the party.”
She turned away from me to
lock my bedroom door, “I think we
She grabbed a condom from my
desk drawer, pulling my pants down.
My brain desperately tried to say
no, to refuse, but it was no longer in
control of my body. The intense fear
combined with the harsh effects
of intoxication immobilized me. In
other words, I had no control. I was
too scared, too alone.
I don’t remember much after that
except neon pink jungle juice spilled
on my sheets, the almost cruel smile
on her face and the blaring music
n the weeks after, I tried to get back
together with my ex-girlfriend
— in a feeble attempt to cope with
something about which I still have
tremendous guilt. Then, when the
pandemic took over my life and the
with my ex went up in flames, I
moved back in with my parents.
There, it was easy to retreat from the
world, so I did.
My family heard from me about
once a day when I needed to walk
upstairs for meals. My friends heard
less, if anything. Most days, I just sat
in my bedroom, sleeping 15 hours a
day and wishing I was dead for the
other nine. Things got better in May
when I tried to stop thinking about it,
choosing to delve into my three jobs.
However, as my 60-hour work weeks
wore on into June, I could not stop
thinking about that night.
For months, I had vivid dreams,
replaying it, and sometimes, I still
do wake up in a cold sweat with only
Morgan on my mind. It especially
didn’t help when I returned to Ann
Arbor and had to sleep in the room
where it happened, inches away
from the pink stain that is ingrained
in my mattress topper. The room felt
haunted, but honestly, so did I.
As an ally, it felt impossible that
amid the #MeToo movement, I had
been sexually assaulted by a woman.
Further, as a 6-foot-2 Black man, I
have been perceived as a danger for

my entire life. It sounded asinine
that a pretty, 5-foot-nothing white
girl had done anything to me. When
I told friends that I felt scared, I
saw that look of incredulity that
implicitly invalidates every aspect of
the story.
I mean, they’d met Morgan,
they saw me that night. Maybe I
had made the entire thing up in
my mind. I already felt crazy, but
my friends not believing me —
even without using the four-letter
r-word — sent me over the edge. I
stopped telling people, preferring to
spend my nights swiping on Tinder
and going on meaningless dates.
However, every time a date turned
sexual, I went physically numb,
frozen, verging on a panic attack,
haunted by Morgan.
In most cases, though, dating
proved to be a good distraction,
even if it was just that. A distraction.
Nothing was solved. I just smiled
outwardly for a couple more hours
a day while fortifying my inner
broke down my walls, and, last
November, told me candidly that
I had been sexually assaulted and
was in denial. Thrown back, I cried
for an hour, realizing how right she
was. Since that day, I have struggled
with finding a way to tell this story.
I realize that there is no perfect way
to do it, but I hope that this has been
Now, I want to be very clear. I
have no animus toward the brave
women who have brought down
abusers during the ongoing #MeToo
movement. In fact, I feel allied
with these women. I currently am
walking on the road they paved, so I
appreciate them immensely.
However, the sexual assault
undercovered. In the rare event that
it is discussed, it is too often either a
whataboutism deployed by abuser-
sympathizers or the punchline to a
crass prison joke.
That is unacceptable.
This issue is real and prevalent.
According to the National Crime
Victimization Survey, 38% of sexual
violence victims are men. And, while
much of this does occur in the prison
system, men in college are five times
more likely to experience sexual
violence than men their age who are
not in college.
See, the magic of movements like
#MeToo and Black Lives Matter
is that they sparked nationwide
movements have afforded us the
opportunity to learn about systemic
injustices so we can understand one
another better. Yet, there are still
dialogues left to be had, and I hope
this article provokes one.
I hope we grow to be more
conscious of our behavior. I hope
we become more respectful of one
another. But, most importantly, I
hope we learn to listen to others and
expand our own worldviews. The
simple fact is that not all men are
allies much like how not all women
are assaulters, but we all have the
capacity to learn.
We learn through statistics and
data just like we learn from our
consumed media, but the most
impactful learning is from one
another. I hope that this story is a
powerful step in the right direction
that provokes a broader conversation
on this campus and in our world. I am
grateful to the women who walked
before me, and I am hopeful for the
people of all genders who walk beside


Managing Editor

Stanford Lipsey Student Publications Building
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan since 1890.

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of The Daily’s Editorial Board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.


Julian Barnard
Zack Blumberg
Brittany Bowman
Elizabeth Cook
Brandon Cowit

Jess D’Agostino
Andrew Gerace
Shubhum Giroti
Krystal Hur
Jessie Mitchell

Gabrijela Skoko
Evan Stern
Elayna Swift
Jack Tumpowsky
Joel Weiner

While delineating the variety
of stressors students are facing
is important, it is also critical to
analyze resources the University
of Michigan provides and pressure
the University to adequately support
students who are struggling with
stress and mental illness.
The University offers Counseling
and Psychological Services (CAPS)
for students dealing with mental
health crises, but the program is
limited. There is not a solidified
framework for long-term help, as
CAPS has a goal of ‘graduating’
students in 4 to 8 weeks. What’s
more, the CAPS waiting list usually
grows during high-stress times,
meaning students can’t access help
when they need it most. Since so
many of students’ stressors stem from
issues related to the University, the
University has both the responsibility
and the capability — with a $17
billion endowment — to establish an
adequate support system.
University Health Services, so they
cannot receive therapy outside of
the University. Other students have
to consider leaving their regular
therapists if they can no longer afford
a copay for each session, but currently
CAPS cannot substitute the depth
and breadth involved in longer-
term therapy programs offered by
care is beneficial for some students,
many students have chronic stress
that cannot be resolved in 4 to 8
weeks. The University has not
responded to this specific reality in
a comprehensive and effective way.
As of now, CAPS best serves as an
intermediary step toward longer-
term help.
However, for some students,
having a longer-term relationship
with CAPS could be beneficial;
specifically, CAPS counselors have
extensive experience with student
issues and are accessible due to their
on-campus location. Therefore, the
University should explore programs
that would allow students with the
most need to continue to see CAPS
counselors for a longer period of
Broekhuizen discussed the status
of CAPS and other mental health

resources in an email to The
Michigan Daily.
counselors and other resources to
their service offerings for several
years now,” Broekhuizen wrote.
“All of CAPS services are free to any
student enrolled at U-M. The same is
true for Wellness Coaching.”
She also shared data on the rates
of individual counseling sessions. Of
students who came to CAPS seeking
counseling, 81.1% of students only
received one to five sessions. Only
18.9% of cases received additional
counseling, with only 0.7% of cases
receiving over 21 sessions.
According to Broekhuizen, these
0.7% of cases often include students
who “do not have any insurance or
are underinsured or insurance is not
provided in the state of Michigan
… do not have transportation or
schedules that allow for off campus
referrals.” This small fraction of cases
represents that, while some students
are receiving long-term support,
there should likely be an expansion of
access for these types of cases.
Giving 31,000 students access
a challenge, but the University
with demonstrated needs, such as
financial or transportation-based
needs. Additionally, funding longer-
term mental health care for students
could reduce the current strain on
CAPS for acute mental health crises.
University could address these issues
and make services more accessible
to students. For instance, accessing
health insurance is very difficult
for many low-income students.
An annual health insurance plan
for domestic students through the
University is $1,929, which is cost-
prohibitive for many. Based on the
there should be a strong system in
place to ensure students who cannot
afford health insurance are given
the same access to care, whether
that care includes three counseling
sessions or thirty.
On Aug. 30, 2021, the University
comprehensive action to transform

being needs of students can be
holistically addressed.” The efforts
recommended by the Student Mental
Review committee includes creating
of faculty, staff and students” to
address the needs of all students,
“strengthening the continuum of
care” and ensuring resources are
accessible and visible. While it is
unclear when the recommendations
suggested in the announcement
will be implemented, it is a step in
a positive direction. In addition to
implementing these suggestions, the
University could begin emphasizing
physical health and wellbeing more.
Upon arriving at college for the
first time, many are met with brand
new levels of independence. For
some, important day-to-day tasks
such as cooking, cleaning or taking
care of oneself in other ways may be
unfamiliar. Additionally, some may
come to campus already dealing with
body image issues and unhealthy
relationships with food.
That said, one step toward
improving mental and physical
health of students could include the
aimed at helping students afford
food. Increasing awareness of the
Maize and Blue Cupboard would
help students experiencing food
as well as many other factors, can
exacerbate mental health issues,
so the University’s approach must
consider them in mental health
services and policy. Taking these
proactive steps toward increasing
access and awareness to services,
whether it be programs to aid basic
needs or support mental health
issues, will improve and benefit
students and the campus as a whole.
struggling with a variety of issues
related to the institution itself,
COVID-19, worsening mental health
and financial burdens. To better
support students, the University’s
administration must form a longer-
term care infrastructure within
CAPS, as well as additional support
for students regarding nutrition
education, food insecurity, financial
instability and general wellness.

As a man, ally and survivor: #MeToo

The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
8 — Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Opinion Columnist

Music and memory

Opinion Columnist

It happened when I was sitting in a
café on South University Avenue. Four
days before my EECS 281 midterm,
three friends at the table, two slices of
grilled cheese and one turmeric latte
that painfully reminded me of home
and my mother. That’s when, as I
began working on this piece, the music
system at the café played a familiar
tune. The sound of the xylophone,
followed by the subtle strumming of
the guitar and finally a flourish of the
drums took over my senses and filled
the air around me. I braced myself as
the first words of the song approached
and I pulled out the memory of Zach
Sobiech from the depths of my brain.
Stories are what fuel me. Real
stories about real people. I don’t just
enjoy them; I actively seek them out
because they are what make most
experiences worthwhile for me.
“Clouds” by Zach Sobiech is one
such song, a song incomplete without

its story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a
perfectly fine song on its own, but my
connection to it goes all the way back
to my seventh grade English teacher,
Ms. Radha — the person who told me
about Zach Sobiech’s story. I often find
myself relating songs to people I’ve
known. Sometimes it’s expected and
sometimes it comes out of nowhere,
like today. I hadn’t thought about Ms.
Radha for years, and as I approached
two months in Ann Arbor, it felt good
reminiscing about home. And when I
reminisce, I usually do it to music.
The impact music has on our
emotions and actions is very well
documented and many researchers
cite its positive effects. Music therapy
is a common practice, not only to deal
with excess stress, depression and
other mental health issues, but even
disorders relating to memory loss. Few
would argue against music’s ability to
influence our thoughts and actions. I,
for one, have never underestimated its
ability to perfectly match my mental
energy in any situation. Sometimes
it’s before a soccer game to pump me

up, and sometimes it’s after a long
day of work and being around people
when I just want a moment to myself.
I always considered these personal
moments as crucial, but only recently,
as I moved away from the place I grew
up and the people I grew up with, did
I realize that they weren’t personal
moments at all. What I remember
most about them is the people that
were around me at the time. It’s not
rocket science, I know. You listen to
a song with a cousin all night during
your family trip and it becomes your
ringtone, or a classmate introduces
you to a song and it becomes both of
your newest obsession, or you go to
a concert with a friend and that one
moment when everyone’s got their
flashlights on remains etched in your
memory forever. It happens all the
time and it is a very special feeling.
But at this point, if you’re wondering,
“What’s the big deal?” I wouldn’t
blame you. I’m not claiming that I’ve
made an extraordinary discovery —
strong memories associated with a
song and the people you heard it with

is a common phenomenon, but when
“Clouds” played on the speaker in that
café, it felt different. It wasn’t just me
recalling an old memory, it felt more
significant than that. So let’s get into it.
Songs and people can each make
us feel something and, sometimes,
those two lines can intersect. Songs
are relatable and sentimental, and
sometimes they’re pretty good at
being memorable — not unlike people.
I’ve always been a big advocate of
the idea that I am a product of the
experiences I have shared with
countless people across the world,
and, regardless of whether I see them
every day or have only met them
once, my story is made up of the tiny
bits that each and every one of them
left behind. How amazing would it
be if those tiny bits, the things people
made us feel, aren’t moments that
only exist in the past, but are moments
that can be relived? I am here to tell
you that it’s possible. All you need is
the right song. “Clouds’” is one such
song. I always thought I connected
it to Ms. Radha simply because she

told me about it, but maybe it’s more
than that. “Clouds” is a song about
finding light in dark times. It’s a song
about hope. Tomorrow might not go
as we planned or expected, but what
everybody needs is hope and there
will always be somebody who can give
us that. Ms. Radha gave me the hope
that I could be a better person at a time
when I needed it. There is not a sliver
of doubt in my head that I would not
be who I am today without her and
although she only taught me for one
year, she made me a stronger person.
It made me feel more powerful and
more confident. It’s not just the lyrics
that make me feel empowered. It’s
Zach Sobiech’s story, Ms. Radha and
the memory of this song that lives on,
reinforced twofold every time I hear
it, especially when it plays out of the
blue in the basement of a café.
What I realized while sitting in
that café is that music isn’t about
glorifying the past, it’s about recreating
an emotion you once felt and bringing
it back to the present so that you can
feel it again. As much as science might

have you believe otherwise, the past
can be revisited, and music is as good a
time machine as any. Yes, very often we
relate songs to people because we share
a memory with them, but reliving
the emotions that memory evokes is
what enables us to keep that memory
alive. So, when a song reminds me of
the time we kayaked in the freezing
waters of North India or the time we
stayed up all night in that one hotel in
Beijing or the time we sang that very
song while doing karaoke for the first
time, I’ll savor those moments. We
might never have heard it before or we
might’ve played it on loop every day.
The song might have no connection
to us or it might be the song we sang
together every day — it doesn’t matter.
All I know is that it makes me feel like
you’re around, and sometimes, in that
very moment, that’s all I need.
You know when people sometimes
say, “I wish I could experience
something for the first time again?”
You can. I’ve been doing it all my life.
I just needed some grilled cheese and
an old song to realize it.

From The Daily: UMich should expand
long-term counseling through CAPS

s we collectively face midterms, it has become increasingly clear that
many students are experiencing burnout, pandemic fatigue and an
increase in mental health issues. These issues can easily be compounded
by the growing exposure of sexual misconduct spanning decades on campus,
tension over COVID-19 policies and recurrent issues with landlords.

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