Obsessing about fellow student?

Originally Published: April 19, 1994 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: June 12, 2012
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Dear Alice,

I am a student at the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Recently, I have become obsessive with a fellow classmate. I think she is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. I have done nothing for the past few months but masturbate just thinking about her. I was wondering if there is anything I can do to make me forget her. I have become so obsessed with her that I am contemplating raping her.

—Contorted fantasies

Dear Contorted fantasies,

You’ve reached out for help and that takes courage. It’s a great first step, but it’s highly recommended that you reach out to a counselor soon — to address the obsessive thoughts you’ve been having and your desires to rape this woman. Columbia students can make an appointment at Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) by calling x4-2468. If you would rather see a non-Columbia therapist, consider reaching out to a professional associated with one of the following organizations: American Psychological Association, National Association of Social Workers, or American Psychiatric Association. If you come to a point where you feel you are at risk of harming yourself or others, call for immediate help by dialing 911.

Let’s focus on the obvious here. Rape is a crime and it is punishable by law. In addition, Columbia University does not tolerate any kind of gender-based misconduct, which includes sexual assault and rape. The repercussions to such an act are serious — if you were to act out your fantasies, you could face dismissal from Columbia University in addition to a prison sentence. Please also keep in mind that there are other behaviors which could have negative and long-term consequences. Some of these include:

  • Unwelcome touching, kissing, hugging, or massaging.
  • Pressure for or forced sexual activity.
  • Inappropriate sexual innuendoes or humor.
  • Videotaping and photographing someone or people without consent.
  • Sexual explicit profanity
  • Use of email, the Internet, or forms of digital media to facilitate any of the above referenced behavior.

Outside of being charged criminally for these acts, Columbia students face additional repercussions. For a more comprehensive look please view the full Gender-Based Misconduct Policies for Students (including Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Gender-based Harassment Policies and Procedures).

You didn’t mention whether you have an ongoing relationship with this person. Do you see her regularly? Have you contacted this person or initiated conversation? Do you email or call? It might be best to avoid contact until you speak with a counselor and clarify your own feelings towards her.

Again, you made a gigantic positive first step by writing to Alice. Now, take the next (and possibly more difficult) step and get support. You owe it to yourself, this woman, and both your futures.

Alice