We couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce a new voice to the So Sue Me blog, and that’s the voice of Rebecca Bohanan, a brilliant grad student at New York University, attending the Dramatic Writing program on a Tisch Fellowship for the Arts. Rebecca received her BA in Screenwriting from Chapman University in Orange, CA. This summer, she biked 700 miles down the West Coast, and she’s just now mustered enough courage to attempt bicycling through the streets of Manhattan. Rebecca regrettably, or perhaps luckily, doesn’t have much experience with the law… Except for her ongoing lawsuit against Justin Timberlake, for his failure to recognize her contribution in bringing sexy back.
As you’ll see in the coming weeks, Rebecca’s a big thinker — she’s not just posing to look pretty in the New York Public Library (that happened purely by accident… and because happens to be a stunner) — so we’ve asked her to give her opinion on various legal stories that are making news. She’ll introduce subjects and the Epstein sisters will occasionally jump to add other opinions and/or legal responses. The thoughts and ideas Intern Rebecca presents here will be her own and won’t necessarily reflect what Amy or I believe, which is to say feel free to cheer her, argue with her and retweet her musings, but don’t assume because it’s on this blog that it’s legal advice we’re giving to you. (And if that sounds like a disclaimer, yep, b-i-n-g-o.)
So without further ado, Rebecca Bohanan:
Intern Rebecca here, with some tricky questions on college roommates.
As a second year grad student, I’ve spent the last six years living with people who aren’t my immediate family. There have been great times, and there have been frustrating times – like the time I bought a pack of Oreos, only to come home to find the empty packaging in the trash, or the time my roommate borrowed my car, only to crash it (equally as upsetting at the Oreos).
Possibly the most trying situation, however, was a year I refer to as SEXGATE 2006 – The Raging Hormone Hootenanny. Long story short, my roommate (and former friend) liked to have sex with her boyfriend while I was in the room. Didn’t matter if I was doing my homework, socializing with my own friends, or even sleeping. At a reasonable hour. Like 4 AM. Nothing fazed this girl!
We had many chats with each other, and with our RA, but nothing ever changed. It’s a free country, I’m told, so I guess people are free to have sex whenever they want? Or isn’t there something in the law that protects roommates from having their space infringed upon by unwanted sex?
My confusion over my legal rights came rushing back to me this week when I heard the heartbreaking story of Rutgers college freshman Tyler Clementi. The 18-year-old committed suicide after his roommate streamed video of Tyler and another male having sex live to the Internet. Twice! Tyler left a message in a chat room, saying, “I don’t want to report him and then have nothing happen except him getting pissed at me.”
I understand exactly how Tyler felt, and, though I do not in any way want to defend his actions, I can also feel a little bit for Tyler’s roommate, Dharun Ravi. When you leap head first into the real world, without much guidance on “adult issues,” it can be hard to know what’s right and wrong, what you’re entitled to and what you’re not. If you’re sharing a room with someone, each of you should be able to have sex in your room whenever you want to… right? Or is it that no one can have sex? Or what’s the difference? And when things get complicated, who can you really turn to for help, when campus RA’s can’t do much?
Certainly one should never ever turn to streaming live to the Internet, but what can you do when you feel a stranger in your own home, either from invasion of privacy or invasion of sex?