Heather Nagami

Conclusion and Findings

Before the law sits a gatekeeper.  To this gatekeeper comes a woman
who asks to gain entry into the law.  But the gatekeeper says that he
cannot grant her entry at the moment. 

The woman thinks about it and then states, “No.  I will gain entry now.” 
The gate to the law stands open, as always, and the woman
struts through the gate into the inside.

            The Gatekeeper finds the rapist and his version of the events
            to be more credible than the version put forward by the woman.

            The Gatekeeper believes it more likely than not that during
            the parties’ sexual encounter, the rapist had clear non-verbal consent
            based upon the woman’s actions and responsiveness as described by the rapist.

The woman has expected such difficulties, yet still:
The law should be accessible to everyone, she thinks.

            Although the woman tells the Gatekeeper that she was fearful
            of speaking up during the encounter, the Gatekeeper questions
            whether she was sincerely afraid.  She, in fact, physically slapped
            the rapist immediately after the alleged incident.  How
            could a woman physically slap a man whom she feared?

            The woman is noted by the Gatekeeper to be well-spoken
            and verbally skilled at expressing her opinions. The Gatekeeper
            also notes that after the alleged rape, the woman engaged in intimate
            phone calls and texts.  The Gatekeeper does not believe that a woman
            who participates in such activities could also be a woman who has fear. 
            How could such a woman be silenced? Is such a woman
            even capable of being raped?

The woman has expected such difficulties, yet still…

The gatekeeper sees that the woman is walking away.  “You know,” shouts
the gatekeeper, unsure if the woman can hear him, “this entrance
was assigned only to you!  Now I’m going to close it!”

The woman hears the gatekeeper but pays no mind. 
The law should be accessible to everyone, she thinks.

This poem includes excerpts from Franz Kafka’s “Before the Law” and “Conclusion and Findings” from the Title IX Report from the 2016 investigation of the sexual assault of Catalina Ouyang at Washington University in St. Louis.