The female Harvard soccer players who were the subject of a sexually explicit “scouting report” by a male player in 2012 are speaking out.
The report, which appeared to be an annual tradition, described each female recruit in lewd terms, assigning them numerical scores and including photographs. It was then circulated among all members of the men’s soccer team. (Until recently, the report was still available to the public through Google Groups.)
Days after the incident was reported by the Harvard Crimson, the six female recruits penned an emotional op-ed for the Harvard student paper titled “Stronger Together,” beginning by saying that they were not especially surprised by the report.
“When first notified of this ‘scouting report’ each of us responded with surprise and confusion, but ultimately brushed off the news as if it didn’t really matter,” the women wrote. “The sad reality is that we have come to expect this kind of behavior from so many men, that it is so ‘normal’ to us we often decide it is not worth our time or effort to dwell on.”
While the female soccer players wrote that they felt “embarrassment, disgust, and pain,” the group’s main objective in penning the column was to unite in order to stamp out this type of blatant sexism.
“We are human beings and we should be treated with dignity. We want your help in combatting this. We need your help in preventing this. We cannot change the past, but we are asking you to help us now and in the future,” they wrote.
The op-ed also hinted at the politics of the 2016 presidential election, at one point hitting at so-called “locker room talk” — the phrase Donald Trump used in defense of making lewd comments in 2005.
“‘Locker room talk’ is not an excuse because this is not limited to athletic teams,” the Harvard women wrote. “The whole world is the locker room.”
The title of the piece, “Stronger Together,” also seems to pay homage to Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogan. The women also used the phrase in a powerful crux of their op-ed.
“We know as teammates that we rise to the occasion, that we are stronger together, and that we will not tolerate anything less than respect for women that we care for more than ourselves,” the women wrote.
All six women — Brooke Dickens, Kelsey Clayman, Alika Keene, Emily Mosbacher, Lauren Varela, and Haley Washburn — graduated from Harvard in 2016, according to the Crimson.
Harvard students and officials have widely condemned the sexist behavior after the report was published last week.