To the Editor: I was first introduced to Victim Support back in early April. It was just after my ex-boyfriend (we'll call him "George") had threatened to "hurt" me. Since last fall, I was in an abusive relationship. Much of the time, George verbally abused me. There were times when I when I believed my name was "bitch" or "whore." There were even times when I questioned whether I belonged at Penn because I was constantly hearing names like "stupid" or "dumb ass." For a while, I believed that I was mentally unstable and enrolled in therapy because George insisted I was a "crazy bitch." George had a tongue that cut deeper than any knife. I often felt threatened, and retaliated with throwing him out of my car or apartment. Sometimes, arguments escalated into fights; I am 5'5" and George is over 6 feet, 200 pounds. I never had a chance. The last fight ended when I woke up on the floor of his apartment. George often justified his abusive behavior by saying to me that I got what I deserved because I didn't know how to respect him. During this time, I had no one to talk to. I was embarrassed to talk to friends because as a nurse, I thought I should be able to assess and avoid an abuser. In addition, George and I had the same circle of peers, to which he told "she's fatal" or "I want to end this with her, but I'm afraid that crazy bitch can' t handle it." Even today, I get strange looks from those people. I was afraid to talk to my family because I came from a family where domestic violence was common, and no one likes to talk about it. I even went as far as to turn to George's mother for help, in hopes that I could get a clearer understanding of what made him tick. He too, came from an abusive family, and had a volatile relationship with his mother. Finally, as a black female, I was concerned about exposing my problems to anyone on campus for fear of perpetuating racial stereotyping and generalizations about black couples. And after having read Makes Me Wanna Holler by Nathan McCall, I certainly didn't want to be the cause of a black man's downfall. In desperation, I reached out and called Victim Support. I have attended several colleges and universities, but never have I seen a support system for victims like the one here at Penn. Chief Maureen Rush talked to me and made me feel supported. She gave me accurate information on domestic violence, and supported me in the decisions I made regarding my safety. The last fight George and I had was after I decided not to go near him again. Victim Support did not scold me for not following through on my initial decision; instead they continued to support me and advise me in making safe decisions. Jenelle Johnson quickly and courteously found help for me. Sgt. Tammy Watson sat up one night past midnight and talked to me, when she should have been in bed. Sgt. Watson made me realize that abuse is cyclical, and it can be stopped. I had begun to believe that I was crazy and out of control; she reminded me that George's behavior was not my fault. Sgt.Watson even went as far as making an appointment for me in Student Health to make sure my injuries weren't serious. In conclusion, I wanted to publicly thank Victim Support. I also wanted to alert women at Penn that we don't have to tolerate abuse from a partner. Abuse, in the form of name calling, belittling or physical harm, should not be a part of any relationship. Abuse must be combated by public awareness, women-focused therapy and support groups, and use of agencies like Victim Support. The ending of my relationship with George was extremely difficult, and I don't think I will ever be the same. Nevertheless, the existence of Victim Support is a constant reminder that I will be OK . Kathleen Jennings Nursing Doctoral Candidate Helpless in Wharton To the Editor: It is fortunate that when Wharton was named the top business school in the country the undergraduate advising system was not one of the factors considered. I have always heard about students getting lost in the shuffle in a large university such as ours, but the incompetence of the Wharton undergraduate advising system is disgraceful. After problems with the advising system and advisors themselves all year, my conception was totally confirmed in my recent dealings with Eleni Litt, senior associate director of Undergraduate Advising. I met with her to try to resolve a problem that had been caused by another one of the associate directors. She clearly outlined my options and told me to petition the Executive Committee so that they could correct a previous mistake by one of their own. I followed all of her advice and waited for a response. After two weeks, I went to see her again. I was informed that I had been withdrawn from a class that I did not want to be withdrawn from in order for her to cover all of her previous mistakes. When I confronted her with all of her errors and contradictions, she suddenly had no answers and began to treat me like a small child. She did not have any answers as to why she had told me to petition the Executive Committee which ended up exacerbating my previous problem. She then told me that she had never told me to petition the Executive Committee. This is extremely strange since I am in possession of a letter and answering machine message from her in which she specifically tells me to take this course of action. It is bad enough that the undergraduate advisors do not know much about undergraduate academic policies, but it is even worse when they will not admit their mistakes and correct them. This is not an isolated incident. Many undergraduates are thoroughly disgusted with their advising and this recent experience of mine with the senior associate director is clear evidence of the pitiful state of Wharton undergraduate advising. I realize that the University is trying to save money with administrative cutbacks, but having incompetent advisors is not worth it. Jonathan Miller Wharton '98 Social Responsibility or Marketing? To the Editor: On Monday April 10, I went to Irvine Auditorium to hear Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream speak on social responsibility. What I heard there sickened me so much that I almost couldn't eat the free ice cream they were distributing at the door. Jerry began the presentation by telling the story of their success, how they started with $12,000 in a run down old building, took on Pillsbury's Haagen-Daz and became a large and successful company. This was very impressive. They have a great product. They have marketed it very well and they should be very proud of their achievements. Then Ben started talking about social responsibility at Ben and Jerry's -- also very impressive. They give a lot of money to charity and they have very effectively integrated social responsibility into their business practices. They should have stopped there. They didn't. Instead ice cream multi-millionaire Ben Cohen went on to attack corporate America as being completely devoid of social responsibility and of using its immense power to oppress those in need. He stated overtly that Ben and Jerry's was one of the only companies in America with any sense of responsibility to the community. I thought these claims deserved a little scrutiny, so I decided to look and see what other companies were doing. Then I thought, let's make this easy for Ben and Jerry. Let's not look at someone like the Nature Company. Let's find a big corporation that's really profit driven. How about a bank? How about PNC? Certainly if anyone is devoid of social responsibility, it should be big, bad, money hungry PNC, right? WRONG! Last year PNC gave $2.6 million to charitable causes. The PNC Foundation made gifts to over 150 organizations and matched PNC employee's charitable gifts dollar for dollar up to $2,500. PNC's support of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's 39th Street Primary Care Center helps ensure that much-needed primary care is provided to thousands of Philadelphia children and PNC encourages its employees to volunteer their time to the community through its PATHFINDERS program. This is not meant to diminish all that Ben and Jerry's has done. But it does show that Ben and Jerry aren't really doing that much more than many other companies. They're just exploiting it more in their marketing. Next Ben attacked the U.S. government. He claimed that the government was planning to balance the budget on the backs of the poor by cutting necessary social programs when it should be cutting the military because national defense makes up by far the largest part of the budget. This claim didn't seem quite right to me. So, I got on the Internet and found Bill Clinton's actual 1994 budget. Here are the numbers: Expenditures for national defense in 1994 totaled $282 billion and are scheduled to decline to $255 billion by 1998. Social Security, Medicare and entitlement programs had a total 1994 budget of $629 billion and are scheduled to grow to $776 billion by 1998. Hey Ben, has it ever occurred to you to do some research before you go spouting off around the country? It probably also never occurred to you that cutting the military would mean economic devastation to the many towns where the military is the primary employer and that military cuts would curtail missions such as Somalia and Haiti, both of which were designed to help impoverished people around the world. And I guess you've forgotten that it was the military that was sent in to help the victims of Hurricane Andrew and the Los Angeles earthquake. You're right Ben, who needs the military? Nobel prize winning economist Milton Friedman wrote that an action is not an act of social responsibility if it benefits the corporation. Ben and Jerry have argued that you can be socially responsible and still benefit your corporation. I agree with them and applaud Ben and Jerry's and all the other companies who support their communities. However, I believe that Ben and Jerry have mixed their acts of social responsibility with lies and propaganda in order to build a marketing appeal to their audience. In fact, I have to seriously question their motives. Do they really believe any of what they're saying or is it all marketing? Has marketing become the primary motive, with social responsibility being a by-product because it is less expensive than advertising? You decide. I have to go. My Haagen-Daz is melting. Barry Weisblatt Wharton graduate studentComments powered by Disqus
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