Skip to content

On Rape, Date Rape, and What Sensible, Well-Mannered Girls Do

 

Jonathan Kozol

In about 1995, I was writing a profile of the education writer Jonathan Kozol (Death at an Early Age, Savage Inequalities) for the alternative weekly Cleveland Edition. I was and am a big fan. I had read all his books and admired his firebrand, keep-the-faith advocacy for poor children in poor schools in poor neighborhoods. I was in my forties at this point, and Kozol was around sixty.

When I was making arrangements through his publisher, I was told that I should meet Kozol in his hotel room in the old Stouffers Inn on the Square in downtown Cleveland. Excited and nervous, I dropped my kids off at a friend’s and made my way downtown and up to Kozol’s room.

We sat for an hour or so at a small table in his suite and discussed education and current events. I recall Kozol’s pointedly complimenting my wardrobe selection—a blue sweater and matching blue print skirt, which, if you know me, you know my mother-in-law purchased for me. This compliment made me uncomfortable, but very, very slightly uncomfortable, mostly because he described it as the kind of outfit someone might have worn in the sixties. I had no idea what he meant, but, since Jonathan Kozol probably values most everything from the sixties, I assumed he meant it in the best way.

He offered me nothing to drink, but if he had, I would have accepted it. I could have had a glass of spiked wine or drugged cappuccino and who knows how I would have ended up. But it seems silly to me, and would have seemed silly at the time, to think that something bad could have happened to me in that room.

Reflecting on this experience, I can’t glibly say that other women shouldn’t have gone to famous men’s homes or hotel rooms.  I’m a cautious, sensible person. I’m not a gold digger, and I’m not blinded by ambition. I was trusting, and fortunately for me Jonathan Kozol either didn’t find me appealing or was not a sociopathic serial rapist.

 

2 Comments

  1. Jamie Kaplan wrote:

    Do you remember the time Kozol spoke at Trinity, and I got beat out by you to interview him? I had even called him to arrange it.

    Monday, December 15, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink
  2. Kathy wrote:

    I don’t remember that! Sorry, Jamie!

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *
*
*