Painful memoir: 12-step rape victim's book hits shelves

news-seccurobookLiz Seccuro's first book, a memoir of her 1984 rape and a two-decade later apology and prosecution, hit shelves January 3.

It's been five-and-a-half years since Liz Seccuro received the letter that changed her life, and this month, her story, which attracted international news coverage, is being told again–- this time in her own words.

Seccuro's memoir, Crash into Me, a 256-page "tale of bravery, rage and fortitude" according to Kirkus Reviews, hit stands on January 3 as a first-person account of the night in October 1984 when she was raped in a University of Virginia fraternity house and the later devastation wrought by her assailant's apology.

While the title of the book seems to have another Charlottesville connection–- Dave Matthews Band's 1996 hit song by the same name–- Seccuro denies musical inspiration. Instead, she says, "We were drawn to the idea of the past 'crashing' into the present, as well as my pastime of surfing, where one frequently crashes into the sand or another surfer if one isn't careful."

While the book retraces many details of the case already reported in media accounts, it also makes public another allegation: that Seccuro was gang raped, and that her two additional assailants–- Phi Kappa Psi fraternity brothers–- have never been prosecuted.

"The case is still open," says Seccuro, who adds, "it was a relief to tell the whole story and not just the sensationalized bits that the media, quite understandably, focused on." She notes that the book "reads more like a thriller than a memoir," and says the fact that the case remains open "only makes it more exciting and puzzling for the reader."

As first detailed in the Hook's January 12, 2006 cover story, "I harmed you: 21 years, 12 steps later, rape apology backfires," Seccuro received a letter from William N. Beebe in September 2005 seeking–-  as part of a 12-step program–- to make amends two decades after his assault. During an email correspondence between Seccuro and Beebe that spanned two months, a devastated Seccuro pleaded for an explanation of the night when, as a 17-year-old UVA first-year student and virgin, she attended a party at the Phi Psi fraternity house at the north end of Mad Bowl on Rugby Road.

Seccuro recalled drinking one beer, and then accepting a green drink that was described to her as "the house specialty." Quickly after consuming it, she writes, "the drink disoriented me," and as she searched for the friend with whom she arrived, she writes, she was hauled into a bedroom where Beebe forcibly held her on his lap while reading poetry. She recalls briefly escaping his grasp and kicking on a door where she believed a sympathetic fraternity brother was inside, but to no avail. She was once again dragged back to the room and raped. In her book, she alleges that attack was perpetrated by three men and that the fraternity was engaged in a cover-up by the following morning.

The allegation of gang rape is one about which Seccuro has long had suspicion–- but no clear memories. According to her book, the information was gleaned during the course of investigation by Charlottesville police, the Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney's office, and by the private investigator hired by Beebe's defense team. The book uses pseudonyms for suspects and witnesses, but identifies one potential witness as the son of a "much loved elected government official" and whose father was a "dear friend of George W. Bush."

Another target of Seccuro's book is the University of Virginia, which Seccuro says did little to help her find justice. Her effort to get a "rape kit" performed at UVA hospital failed, and she has repeatedly alleged that UVA's then dean of students discouraged her from pressing charges and instead suggested she transfer schools.

In 2004–- nearly 20 years after Seccuro's rape–- UVA students told similar stories of their assailants allowed to remain at school and of an administration that sought to keep the problem under wraps. The Hook's November 2004 cover story, "How UVA turns its back on rape," detailed the experience of Annie Hylton, whose unprosecuted rape prompted a 400-student protest and led to the rewriting of the school's sexual assault policies.

In Seccuro's case, after multiple emails, Beebe eventually admitted to raping her, opening the door to a prosecution. (Virginia has no statute of limitations on felonies.) Beebe pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of aggravated sexual battery in late 2006 and was sentenced to 10 years with all but 18 months suspended in March 2007. He  served six months in jail, and is now a registered sex offender living in Richmond and working for a business consulting firm. Reached at work, Beebe declined comment.

Seccuro says the book–- excerpted in this month's Marie Claire–- may be difficult to read, particularly for other rape survivors.

"I purposely did not sanitize the book," says Seccuro, noting an effort "to speak to an audience who may not know what rape can be like." In spite of the graphic descriptions, Seccuro says she hopes readers will be uplifted.  "Ultimately, she says, "the message is one of joy."


God Bless you Liz for your strength and inspiration to be a voice for victims everywhere.

I wonder how many other young innocent women have been offered Green or any other color "House Speciality drinks". Young women need to be wise.

Courtney, thank you for your dedication to women's causes. There are many of us who appreciate your bringing these stories to light.

It would be great if this woman's rapist went to prison and was gang raped himself so he could learn firsthand how it feels. Prisoners do not like rapists or sex offenders of any kind and go out of their way to make their lives a living hell. All of the frat rats involved belong behind bars! Unfortunately it sounds like the frat rats are politically connected with the very same party that is trying to make it easier for rapists-0-0rethugs, who else?

When Liz reported her rape to Dean Canavieri, she was led to believe that campus police had jurisdiction over her crime. THAT was not true; in fact, the reason Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo could arrest Beebe was because local police had jurisdiction of Phi Psi. I would hope that the women's groups in Charlottesville and on campus use Liz's book as an opportunity to educate young women about jurisdiction.

Many people living in the Commonwealth, to include most lawmakers, are under the assumption that local law enforcement has the jurisdiction to investigate any crime that occurs on a college campus. Unfortunately, that assumption is wrong. Campus police have jurisdictional rights for dormitories and classroom buildings. Unless the University or college transfers jurisdiction to local law enforcement, campus police retain jurisdiction.

It may be unpopular or politically incorrect to admit, but as the 2004 Hook article pointed out, campus police tend to turn a blind eye to campus rape crimes and treat them as administrative matters. They certainly did in 1984 to Liz's case, and continued to demonstrate that the way they handled cases in 2004. However, rape is a felony crime and should be investigated and handled as a felony crime.

Thank you for bringing attention to this. I partied at UVA during the 70s and was fine but know several women who were abused during that period. Nothing was done. Hopefully with a new dean, and the recent murders of women at UVA being brought to national attention, the cultural acceptance of violence towards women at UVA Cville has changed.

Too bad that two of the recent murders would not have happened if there had been greater concern about the safety of women at UVA. Well, at least Dean C is out helping the spread the good word on the health- giving properties of tobacco, rather than helping educate and protect young people. We know what his values really are.

I had a friend who was gang raped at that same fraternity in the early 1970's. She was not a virgin like Ms. Seccuro, but she was so traumatized that she left the University. The "Virginia Gentlemen" in that fraternity had a system whereby if one of them "scored" a victim they would hang her bra on the door handle of the room alerting their fraternity brothers of the "opportunity". When I came to the U I never stepped foot in that place. Glad Ms. Seccuro got some kind of relief after all these years.

Makes you wonder where some of these one-on-one and gang raping frat boys are now, 20-30 years later. Out there in the world, probably working at corporate-y white collar jobs (since they were frat boys at UVa) Probably married, probably have kids. (scary thought.) Probably don't even think about what they did all those years ago. Probably sociopaths with no remorse, going about their lives like they're upstanding white collar citizens, fooling the world.

Scary thought.

Liz, I am so proud of you, and I hope your book sells like crazy!

I'm still seeking justice. Meanwhile, it feels wonderful to blog about my own similar experience at the hands of "frat gentlemen".

UVAlum, thanks for reaffirming that gang rape "did" exist way back in the early 70's. Like Liz, I was drugged. There are skeptics who question the validity of knock-out drugs used during that era.

To Boooo:
Try 47 years ago :)

@ Angel Eyes - read the book and it has not much to do with the rehash of Beebe's apology or AA which was covered ad nauseum via all the news outlets. The author makes it clear this is about something bigger and that she has nothing against 12 steppers. That said, the step said "to make amends unless to do so would cause further harm." I think he caused further harm with that letter. I would posit that perhaps Mr. Beebe wishes he could undo raping the author. But the book is far more interesting with regard to the Others and the systemic lack of attention paid rape victims in our own backyard - not the Sudan, not the Congo. That's the story here.

@Angel - meant to say "I've read the book..." It sounds like I was imploring you to "read the book". Read, past tense. To clarify.

I guess the comment I tried to post was too "controversial" for this board, as it never made it to first base, but what I had stated was the juxtaposition between 12 steppers idea that "confession is good for the soul" and the harsh reality of Virginia law with its no statute of limitations for felonies. I'll bet Mr. Beebe looking at his portrait on the sex offenders registry wishes he could undo that particular choice to indulge in the 12 steppers expiation of sin ritual..

I heard Ms Securro speak at the Take Back the Night event last year. Truly a brave woman.
The rape culture at UVa frats was around long before the 70s,btw.It was very prevalent before co-education when they would import students from women's college for big party weekends, get them drunk and rape them. And of course there was no support system for victims in those days.

Frat rats (as you call them) are actually freshmen pledges who are "nurtured" into a position of power by upper classmen and ALUMS. Shocking as it may seem, the ALUMS can inclue "grandfathers". Also, here's something I found from Sigma Pi Fraternity ââ?¬â?? UC at Irvine:

"Did You Know... • 71% of those listed in the "Who's Who in America" belong to a fraternity. • 100% of the Astronauts on Apollo 11 were fraternity men. • 85% of the Fortune 500 Executives belong to a fraternity. • 40 of the 47 Supreme Court Justices since 1910 have belonged to a fraternity. • 76% of Congressmen and Senators are fraternity men. • All but 2 Vice-Presidents and 2 Presidents since 1825 have been members of Greek Organizations. • 63% of the Presidents Cabinet since 1900 belong to a fraternity. • 43/50 of the top US Corporations are headed by fraternity men. • Greek Alumni make up 65% of American Doctors. • Greek Alumni make up 78% of American Lawyers. • Greeks volunteer approximately 850,000 community service hours per year."

How telling is that! And how frightening!

Has anything changed since Jim Dickinson pulled off his infamous gang rape of 1962?

Seriously? WTH is the House thinking?

What could the redefinition of rape mean for women?.

"Both reproductive rights and the definition of rape could change with the introduction of a U.S. House bill by New Jersey Republican Chris Smith."

The word "forcible" is one small part of this legislation. The bigger issue is reproductive rights of women who have already been victimized and are vulnerable to the many systems at work here. Sure, it can be argued that the word is not worth all of the outcry. However, to the young woman who has been drugged or date raped, the minor girl who has been manipulated by a man of legal age, or the many other individual cases where a female has been sexually assaulted where force cannot be seen or perhaps even proven, this is big, scary, threatening phrasing.

Before this moves forward, perhaps we need to ask whether Roe v. Wade is being chipped away through this bill, and who will pay the price -- not just for abortions that follow rape, but for the blows to women's health care, rights, and the ability to recover from crimes committed against women.

Did the Dave Matthews Band get royalties for the book title?

Liz Securro is such a publicity hound.

The Hook has already deleted comments noting that the woman has never donated any of the green money derived from this situation to any local crisis centers available to help women.

A great story would note whether Securro has ever done ANYTHING besides seek media attention for herself.

Who could have imagined that she would achieve the impossible: make someone almost feel sorry for the perpetrator? Almost.

Securro is one of the most unsympathetic victims in the long, sad history of human beings hurting each other.

I am truly sorry for what the author experienced while a student and for anyone who has had to live through a similar experience.

In this case and many others that occur on a college campus, let us work to eliminate the "glorification" of drinking alcohol and all the trappings that go along with it . Don't our young people deserve better?

Liz Seccuro is one of the bravest survivors I have ever met, and been a rock of support in my life. Her title of her book is about how the rape affected her; not Dave Matthews. To say so is extremely ignorant. She is not a publicity hound. She is not a money hound. You don't know her. I do. If you watch her PBS interview, you may just learn something. She has forgiven, but not forgotten how rape dramatically affected her life. She has dedicated her time to help other survivors in very profound ways that inspire healing. I would suggest you learn a bit more about her before you judge her.

Liz Seccuro is one of the bravest survivors I have ever met, and been a rock of support in my life. Her title of her book is about how the rape affected her; not Dave Matthews. To say so is extremely ignorant. She is not a publicity hound. She is not a money hound. You don't know her. I do. If you watch her PBS interview, you may just learn something. She has forgiven, but not forgotten how rape dramatically affected her life. She has dedicated her time to help other survivors in very profound ways that inspire healing. I would suggest you learn a bit more about her before you judge her.

What I see is a woman who is not so much "brave" but on who has not healed, who allows this long ago event to continue to define her life. When we have healed, we can let go. I understand her anger and pain. He was naive to think that his apology would cause her anything but rage. But resulting from that he did do some prison time. Has this helped her any? Apparently not. And now I see that instead of working to let this go she is pursuing a gang rape scenario, and is in search of more perpetrators. I know we each have our own process and it is what it is, but I wish she had people in her life who were counseling her to actually Heal this wound. The reality is that a huge percentage of people have faced various levels of abuse, most with no accounting at all. Letting it define one's life, wearing a scarlet "R" (for rape) is ultimately a choice. I hope one day she can make a different choice, and find peace in this life. Peace, people.

@teresa. Let's work to eliminate rape. I understand the connection between alcohol and rape. But it is possible to get hammered and not rape. People will rape with or without alcohol. To choose alcohol as the primary problem here with the rape a byproduct is unproductive and borders on victim blaming. I'd argue that our rape culture contributes to drinking culture more than the other way around. For power obsessed people the rape is the prize not the buzz of alcohol.

@sittinginthesun. Wow more victim blaming. It is possible that she was in fact gang raped. Also why is she under any obligation to heal from this? If you get paralyzed in a car accident and lose the ability to walk for the rest of your life no one would dare accuse you of not healing after 30 years of not being able to walk.

Someone above made the following comment:

"What I see is a woman who is not so much "brave" but on who has not healed, who allows this long ago event to continue to define her life."

And your point is?

SittingInTheSun is spot-on.

Securro allows one event to be the defining moment of her life, which is her choice but still sad.

Also, and this won;t be a popular observation, the only reason her book found a publisher and the only reason this story might be rturned into a TV-movie-of-the-week is because of the weird factor. By that, I mean a recovering alcoholic makes an Internet confession to a crime from 25 years ago, resulting in much media attention and legal rigamarole. He tries to get the charges dropped, fails, cops a plea, gets a sentence instead, serves it, and is released. Were it not for the whole 12-steps angle, this would not have been covered so relentlessly by the news media.

We can debate endlessly about whether it should be covered in such a sensationalistic way.

We might also make the argument that every rape case deserves equal merit, equal news coverage and equal efforts to bring perpetrators to justice. Because it does.

But that's not what this situation is about. If it were, justice has already run its course.

What's left? A professional victim milking this story for a dollar. Any halfwit with an Internet connection can Google the woman's name and book her to give a speech -- for a fee -- buy her book, read her blog and learn about her...Every. Next. Move.

Is Securro brave? Hard to say. Is Securro making money off this? No question.

This is someone getting addicted to attention and who appears to get a bad jonesing when the fix isn't forthcoming.

But to be clear: nobody's blaming a 17-year-old victim. Anyone who has followed this story knows full well that Securro has been front and center under the limelight every chance she gets. Very Andy Warhol. 15 minutes. Tick tock.

Once again, these comments are full of harsh judgment on a person many of you have not met. She has every right to be angry after how her Alma Mater out right lied to her and the injsutice she suffered. Mrs. Seccuro is not addicted to attention. She is one of the kindest women I have ever met who has made it her mission to help other survivors. To that, I say, thank you Liz and all you have done to help the survivor community!

She's the victim of a sexual assault. While she may be profiting personally she is also raising awareness which is necessary as long as these crimes continue.

You might be right about the sensationalist aspect of the coverage of this case and the 12-step angle, but she didn't ask to be raped nor to be contacted by this guy all those years later. Once he took those actions, her reaction and society's reaction is beyond his control.

I say she's free to do whatever she likes with her life's story and if you find fault with what she's doing, so what? Clearly raising awareness of sexual assault is more important than your minor quibbling over whether or not she's addicted to attention.

Maybe what she's doing is part of the healing process for her. Maybe she's processing her rage by keeping this guy's name front and center of her public life. Good for her, I say.

Don't forget: he's the perpetrator of a terrible, terrible crime and didn't get punished for decades. He's got a good job now and probably a decent life, which is more than what most young perpetrators could hope for.

And good for her for taking this sack of lemons and making lemonade. She's raising awareness of sexual assault and profiting financially as well.

Again, I say good for her.

Again, again the blame the victim. Plus there is a really nasty subtext here from some commentators that Ms Seccuro is revelling in this. This just get over it, and someone has been punished already, ignores the central fact of rape. You dont get over it. It would be very iluminating to find how the men would react if this had happened to them when they were 17 or younger. If you feel a little bit sorry for the perp--hope you dont have any young women at home in your family--I feel a lot sorry for them.

Maybe some of you naysayers are a little bit guilty?

I "enjoyed" the most you-can't blame-the victim rape that can be imagined.

I was home alone.

I left a (you can't get there or see it except through concrete block) window open.

I was raped, in my own bed, by someone who's never been prosecuted for my rape, twenty years and three thousand miles ago.

If Liz Securo wants to jump up and down and denounce the Pope and I-don't-care-who-else and make four ga-zillion dollars off of her rape: THANK YOU, LIZ!

In many important ways, I will never be "over" my rape. Of course, not, it defines a part of who I am today. In many important ways, I will never be impacted by my rape. Of course not, Of course I'm impacted by everything that happens to me, why should rape be excepted or promoted above all the other things that impact me...?

It's my job, as a woman, to never drink too much (lest I be raped or beaten or killed or all-of-the-above), AND IF ONLY ALL OF YOU OTHER PEOPLE WOULD TEACH YOUR DAUGHTERS THAT THEY'LL BE UNDERPAID, AND RAPED, AND BEATEN, AND KILLED, BECAUSE THEY WORE THE WRONG T-SHIRT TO THE WRONG CONCERT WITH THE WRONG RE-ADMITTANCE POLICY, well, we guys wouldn't have to figure all that out and and we guys could continue to make 33% more than you "girls" for the same work, because we're (almost-certainly) white and male and entitled....

Almost all of you need to shut up, And (statistically), I'll live longer than you. On less. Unless I was married to a "real earner" (a man) for more than 10 years... then I'll get some (really-baroque-math-here) portion of "his" earnings when I retire.

Rape is simultaneously personal and wholly societal. We have 'people' and we have 'women'. Raise your hand if you noticed that 'people' only equates to men. Do some math, and figure out that we have more women than men almost all the time (infant death rates +war fatalities as we now know them+life expectancy). Raise your hand if you have any idea that 'people' are more routinely Liz than Beebe and his twelve step program whose "amends" step led him to a (very small amount, many decades later) of jail time. Which his twelve step program should also have led him to expect.

What's wrong with the rest of us?

You can raise awareness, but at some point you have to "help" the cause. Other rape survivors are sick of her story, too because she does nothing to help them. It's still all about her, and not the cause. But she doesn't seem to care -- she's a UVA grad, and UVA 101 is "love thyself above all others".

It would be nice if people, such as the book's author, would kindly refrain from calling the rapees "survivors," as, generally speaking, a raping is not lethal.

@Steven Latimer: first, you're simply wrong. Rape can and has been lethal in hundreds of cases all over the world. Secondly, how can a rape victim--any more than a cancer victim--know in the moment whether or not she or he will live through what is happening? Thirdly, one need not have had an experience that was "lethal" in order to have survived--for example, we do not differentiate between the survivors of a plane crash in which the plane ran into a wall prior to take off and those who were on a transatlantic flight when it went down. Survivor is a term of respect afforded to victims of sexual assault, because they have been through a traumatic thing--we don't get to call the shots on what that was like, anymore than we can claim to know the experience of a plane crash survivor in the moment.

Latimer, Meh, et al: You all are participating in secondary victimizing Ms. Securro, is that what you really want to be doing or is this your intent? Because unless you've been a victim of rape, or another life threatening crime, I really doubt you have a dog in this fight. Who cares if she calls herself a survivor? The Jews who lived through Nazi Germany are survivors, would you deny them this word to describe the living hell they did indeed survive? What would you prefer her to call herself Latimer? To parse words here is really ludicrous and inflammatory imo Sir.
Rape can be life threatening, but it is always soul killing, soul threatening. It inflicts a scar that never goes away. If this woman is not healed then perhaps kindly pray for her that she does. It is not her fault that she is not: "over this" crime. IMO she was secondarily victimized by UVA and all the administrators that turned their backs on her. That and by those who would slam her now while she is putting her voice and experience into action and words. What she does with her earnings is no one's business, and people are free to purchase her book or not.
Snow: you don't speak for all rape survivors, so why presume you do? I am one, from many years ago where also the men perpetrating the crime had more influence than I, since I was a younger teenager and I am grateful Ms. Securro is now able to give voice to her crime and trauma. I take a measure of vicarious pleasure that she is doing something I cannot.
Many of you all bashing Ms. Securro sound like a rapists' apologist and this speaks volumes about you all.
Thank you Courtney for all you do to make this community aware and informed, and to do it so well.

@Steven Latimer: And do you think we should call the rapists "Lucky"? Attitudes like yours are why we cannot educate the community about the felony crime of rape. Your mind is already made up and you are not listening to the message.

@ Barbara Myer:

Woweee. What a tirade you spew. When is your book coming out?

For whatever reason, there are a number of people commenting here that seem to be upset at rape victims that speak out. I wonder why that is?

To Steven Latimer,Whee and the other nay sayers, first most rape victims ARE referred to as survivors (except for the ones who are killed in the process, they are referred to a murder victims murder trumps rape as a crime), and second, this is indeed life changing. For your own education, talk to a couple of rape experiencers (if you dont think they are survivors). Even try talking to men or boys who have been raped. You two may not be too sympathetic to teh rape of women or female minors (you certainly dont sound sympathetic ) but talk to a couple of male experiencers of rape. Also listen to the long term effects of rape on them. I only know one man who was raped as a boy in a foreign country. His parents hushed it up. The neighbors didnt know, but he became extremely aggressive, sexually active in his mid teams and was finally shot by a younger family member for molesting his own sister. The family was destroyed. Not too good a job of getting over it, was it? The feelings of powerlessness and rage must be overwhelming. Worse yet to have experienced rape in an environment where your experience is ignored (UVA) or endorsed (PP fraternity), and to have to see your attackers on the grounds must be soul searing. Again for those of you naysers (who all sound like men), talk to a guy this has happened to. And my condolances to the women in your families, hopefully they dont have to depend on your suppport if anything ever happens to them.

Are any of you on these postings Phi Kappa Psi fraternity brothers?

BBC News Nov 2008
Stoning victim 'begged for mercy'

A young woman recently stoned to death in Somalia first pleaded for her life, a witness has told the BBC.

"Don't kill me, don't kill me," she said, according to the man who wanted to remain anonymous. A few minutes later, more than 50 men threw stones.

Human rights group Amnesty International says the victim was a 13-year-old girl who had been raped.

Initial reports had said she was a 23-year-old woman who had confessed to adultery before a Sharia court.

Numerous eye-witnesses say she was forced into a hole, buried up to her neck then pelted with stones until she died in front of more than 1,000 people last week

Is Charlottesville located in Somalia??

Bones and rags in a field

That’s what we have come to

The bonemaker did this

He took a living breathing person and made bones

And rags

No breath, no life, no future, no love

And he is out there

Ready to make new bones

In a new field

Go wahoo

Nice to see that the support system in Cville hasnt changed

Don't forget you apologists for rape in Cville that there are several current unsolved murders and rapes that have taken place in your idyllic town. Don't forget that there are rumors about an xpolice officer who was a security guard at that concert. Don't forget the string of unsoved murders (of women of course) around Cville.

Subject: Blame the girl

Yes let’s just blame the girl.
It’s the girl’s fault
She shouldn’t have been beautiful
She shouldn’t have been at a concert
Wearing makeup
And a skirt
She was asking for it
They all ask for it
That way when the body is found it becomes their fault
Or the friends
Or the parents
Never the killer’s
No, he was giving her what she asked for
So in America in 2009
If you are a woman don’t go out alone
Don’t go to public events alone
Don’t walk after dark alone
If you are pretty or young,
Because if something happens to you
Remember you asked for it
Thst’s what the world will say
Not that you are/were beautiful
full of live
Waiting to burst onto life’s arena
Waiting for your first real love
your father walking you down the aisle
Your children
No, you are a tri-dimensional flesh cartoon
An object of hostile desire
An object to be destroyed
We talk about the Taliban
With girl/woman murderers in our midst
But as we can see, in America
in 1009 and 2010 you can always find people to say
She asked for it

@ cat.

All seriousness aside, your prose is gawdawful. Adjust those meds, already.

to the cat...

A real sophisticated rejoinder on every level. Which fraternity do you belong to?

Geez, comments have been reduced to doggerel verse again.

I doubt if Liz Securro will make a ton of money from her book, if thats what is twisting some folks knickers here.
It came out in January. Checked the UVa library catalog yesterday, they still don't have it. Wonder when.
cat, your verse is delightful. Very much like something that would have turned up in the earliest days of Second Wave of feminism(1968-70s), when issues like these were first getting talked about.When people thought there just might be hope for a better world. Nice to know some have not given up even yet.

I have read this time and again but I never get it. Why does UVA try to hush up rape victims? What's in it for them to lose?

Cat, the first one brought tears to my eyes.Charlottesville, for better or for worse, has been defined by Morgan Harrington.

@ cat

Are you a shut-in?

Your rantings on this thread alone comprise 25 percent of the posts, including your five consecutive posts this morning.

I agree with the earlier poster: the poetry sucks hard wind.

Amused no not a shut in. I'm a relative of a murdered girl who is who was born in cville and was raped and murdered in cville recently. I have seen first hand how it tears apart a family and how many people blamed her for going to a concert and ignored the fact that someone selected her, dragged her off, broke her bones while she was alive, and dumped her body in a field. Its a bit disheartening when people living in the very city where her unsolved murder occurred, joke about raped people in Charlottesville as in the posts above, and continue to blame women for their rapes and for their murders. UVA evidently has had a long standing rape-tolerent policy as illustrated in Ms Seccuro's book. You are right about my posts this morning, UVAs policy is changing they say, but some of your C'ville culture as reflected in these posts has not. You are also correct, I dont write well, but what is terrifying is that that is all you see, and you attack. You dont say anything about the rape victims or the murder victims. What about them? Finally you are right I have spent too much time on this and may have offended some of you by my writing. There is still an unsolved murderer in Cville, he or they are still out there. Too late for the girls who were killed in Cville, recently but not too late to change the rape accepting climate. Not posting again here. Hope nothing like this ever ever happens to a member of your family.

I admire Liz's courage in writing this book, which looks excellent. Thank you for sharing this. Reminds me of Jin Kyu Robertson Ph.D.'s incredible testimony of overcoming domestic abuse and becoming an Army major in her book, Major Dream: From Immigrant Housemaid to Harvard Ph.D. It is stories like these that show us women can conquer amazing obstacles and be successful.

cat I am with you.

Cat, so am I


If you are Morgan's mom or relative, let me tell you that Morgan lives in our minds and hearts and we hope dearly that one day the killer will be caught and put to justice and that your family will get the peace it deserves, InshAllah (an Arabic phrase for "if God wills").

I am wondering if all the women raped in UVA fraternity houses, or elsewhere in Charlottesville, will start coming out of the woodwork now. When I was at UVA in the late eighties, a close friend of mine was raped and another close friend experienced an attempted rape, both at the hands of students. I knew other women who had suffered the same. I hope this books emboldens alumnae and present students to come forward and tell their stories. It is inspirational to all UVA women that someone has shown such courage.

Bravo to the author, and thanks, from a grateful alumna.

@grateful alumna: These women have been telling their stories for years! They've been featured on CBS Early Morning Show, Dateline, hundreds of stories in the CAV Daily and The Hook, Richmond TV, etc, etc ... They have not been silent! But now, with Liz's book and the attention of the General Assembly (HB2490) we now have the opportunity once again to get additional attention focused on this problem. If any alumna wish to help, please send a letter to Delegate Paula Miller and let her know that you support her efforts on HB 2490 - and if you want to share your stories, contact Liz or me at . your letters will be maintained with the strictest of confidence, but your voice will assist us in fixing this decade long problem. maybe we cannot turn your situation around, but we can fight for you to make sure that it does not happen to anyone else!

To Steven Latimer:

sur·vi·vor   /sərˈvaɪvər/ Show Spelled
[ser-vahy-ver] Show IPA

1. a person or thing that survives.
2. Law . the one of two or more designated persons, as joint tenants or others having a joint interest, who outlives the other or others.
3. a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks.


Do not let the ignorance of some deter you from your message. There are many who support you, support the Harringtons, support victims like Liz and Morgan and others. Your tenacity and strength is important to anyone who needs a voice.

As for the idiots who attack those who defend womens rights, lets just say there are some of us who have taken self defense, carry mace and tasers who would love to meet you and educate you on the morals and importance of respect that your mama's never taught you.

By the way, Steven Latimer,

Are you the same?

Liberty for whom may I ask????

Name: Steven Latimer
Location: Charlottesville, Va, United States
I am a 20-something with a math degree. Interested in politics and advancing liberty.

This is like arguing about abortion or some other hot button issue. I believe and will not be dissuaded that there should be a clear time related statute of limitations for all crimes except murder, as would have been the case most everywhere in the world, here too, until fairly recently. People change with time and life moves on, so that it becomes rather absurd when middle age people gather to throw brickbats over something that happened when they were adolescents. It wouldn't surprise me if there really was a gang rape in that incident, but venture to say the other parties are not so soft headed as to volunteer to have their lives ruined, though it may be they don't even remember it themselves. I have known, and still do know, many women who were raped far more traumatically, as in at knife point, but they've healed and moved on. This poor woman should as well and maybe she would have if this jerk hadn't felt the need to seek solace and maybe forgiveness in confession. It really doesn't help much when this ritual plays out.

By the same token and for similar reasons, I think it's silly to keep dragging Alzheimers afflicted octogenarians , in wheelchairs, into court to face other similarly afflicted people who are all part of a moral passion play instigated by other people not even born, and in some cases whose parents weren't even born yet, at the time when one was a 20 year old guard and the other an inmate at some prison camp in Poland back in 1943. I'm sure this last will result in my being flamed...

As a member of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, and a person who lived in the house at the time of the incident for which Mr. Beebe was charged with rape, I feel compelled to comment.

On that night, Will Beebe, myself, and another fraternity brother went to a concert in Richmond and didn’t get back to the house until 12:00 or 1:00am. The party was winding down but there were still some people milling about. Being almost 30 years ago, it’s hard to be sure of all the exact details but I do remember Will Beebe opening the door to his room and letting a girl walk in. She wasn’t being pulled in and there were several other people in the hall at the time. Many of the fraternity brothers who lived in the house, including myself, were questioned by investigators from the C’ville police department and a private investigator. Several of the former residents of the house were likely to receive subpoenas if the case were to go to trial. I received a subpoena for something called a “Rape Shield Hearing” and had to testify in front of the judge and the attorneys involved in the case. Reporters from the Hook were there but not allowed in. These hearings are closed to the public. Shortly after that hearing the commonwealth’s attorney offered the plea deal to Mr. Beebe. Although he plead guilty (and is now a registered sex offender and likely to be misrepresented in Mrs. Seccuro’s new book) I believe he is innocent.

I also believe Mrs. Seccuro was victimized that night (perhaps after drinking too much and passing out on a couch in a public space) but don’t have the kind of “first hand” information to be an effective witness. Obviously it’s much harder to prosecute a case that is 25 years old. And if the administration at UVA somehow dissuaded an aggressive pursuit of the case at the time, then that’s a separate issue.

For the one or two people who might still be reading this thread… consider that the information reported and/or otherwise published is not necessarily complete. And though I’ve had only a handful of conversations with Will Beebe since 1984, I am honored to consider him a friend.

@Buck:A rape occurred in your house that night and you are just as much at fault for trying to rationalize it as the men who committed the crime.

Any student who knows of a crime and covers it up should also be punished. Your inference that she walked in that room of her own free will after being drugged does not absolve your friend of his part in the crime. But you didn't stop there - your snide comment "perhaps after drinking too much and passing out on a couch in a public space" infers "hey, she drank too much -- what did she expect?"

Ladies, do not be intimidated by Buck's tone and blame leveled upon the victim. That's standard behavior of a bully meant to intimidate you. That's the same attitude and demeanor the cops and the administration have. that's what young women have to fight against in order to get the administration to take rape crimes seriously.

Rape is a FELONY crime and those who commit rape, and those who assist with a cover up, have no place or right to be on a college campus.

From the MSNBC story, because it came up first on google:

'In an exchange of e-mails that ensued, Beebe wrote: “I want to make clear that I’m not intentionally minimizing the fact of having raped you. I did.” '

Buck W: you couldn't be a more perfect example of how almost all of us contribute to a social climate where rape is OK if you tried. You're just certain he couldn't have done it and she was drinking, and he's a nice guy, and who really remembers what went on all those years ago...

I continue to be astonished that we needed (and still need) civil rights legislation and pay equity legislation and that I'm not working on the moon. Surely the cave and the saber tooth tiger and the neighboring tribe competing for the same resources cannot remain the epitome of what we can expect of ourselves. When, if ever, will we humans get around to the point where we no longer squander the next human being in line to 'protect' our tribe? We all just keep abusing and losing human energy that we really could use and that would actually contribute to our well-being.

Wow. Now I'm doing a bad Rodney King impersonation.

I'm frustrated. I'm aghast. I'm exhausted.

I am curious Buck W if you have daughters? How would you feel/react towards a guy who admitted to raping your virgin daughter who believed that her "friends" or upstanding young gentlemen at a party would protect her virtue not prey on it??

More importantly, how would you handle your daughter who was traumatized and forever haunted by the rape. taking her innocence and trust from all men?

Cat- God bless you.

To those who have commented here minimizing the brutality and ugliness of rape, I am speechless. When did you lose your hearts and souls?

Buck's comments are interesting. Too bad we don't have more of the earlier information. It might provide more of a complete picture of what actually happened. Not saying there wasn't a rape, just that the story changed a few times. Are the only transcripts included from the sentencing hearing in the book?

I think everyone has the wrong idea. It is awful to have this happen to anyone. However as a christian I can help but feel sorry that when this letter of forgiveness was sent Liz did not give forgiveness. It seems this book and sending the rapist to jail was maybe a way of revenge. Forgiveness is letting go and trusting that God will take care of the rest.

I think it's worth noting that the accused did a reprehensible thing, not to dismiss it in any way, but that he also owned up to his actions later in life, asked for forgiveness, served his time, a sentence that the legal system gave him, not one that he chose for himself, and lives with the stigma of his decision to this day, amplified by all of the attention from the book.... So I think it is OK to have some measure of sympathy for him, and I say this as a former victim of abuse myself... He will continue to have to live with this thing, so I get where some of the above comments are coming from.... I personally want him to know that there are people out there who are proud of him for who he is now.... with enough strength on the part of both victims and reformed perpetrators, we can continue to discuss this huge issue and destroy the culture that enables it to thrive....

Buck -- Your blame-the-victim take on this is disgusting. Bruises, blood, cuts...this was not consensual sex.

Buck -- Your blame-the-victim take on this is disgusting. Bruises, blood, cuts...this was not consensual sex.