An Open Letter to Vice Media’s Natasha VC and to Anyone Else Who Thinks I’m Lying

Last week, I published an article on xoJane that got a hell of a lot more attention than I expected. The story was about my decision to beat up my rapist.

Shortly afterwards, Natasha Vargas-Cooper of Vice Media posted this on Twitter.

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Natasha writes about women’s issues. She has 11,000 Twitter followers. And she publicly suggested that my story was a lie.

This kept me up late last night, so I decided to write her an email this morning. I didn’t plan to publish it on my blog, but her response to my email was… well, you’ll see.

Dear Natasha,

My name is Emily Eveland. I’m the girl who wrote the article about beating up my rapist. I’m also the girl you humiliated in front of your 11,000 followers when you said you were “90 percent sure” my story was fake.

I removed my initial comments regarding your tweets because my intent is not to start an Internet battle with you. My true intent is to tell you that there is a woman on the other end of that article who was extremely hurt by your public accusation.

What frustrates me more than anything is that you write for Broadly, the Vice channel for WOMEN. Do you realize that you just contributed to the culture of silence around rape by telling 11,000 people that my story was made up? Do you know how awful that feels?

I understand your beef with xoJane. They’ve shown and continue to show incredibly bad judgment in publishing certain articles. But I am not Amanda Lauren. I am not a click bait queen. I am not a “deranged woman.” I am a strong woman. I am a prostitution and multiple rape survivor.

Every publication makes mistakes. I should know — I worked for Voice Media. And you should know, too, as someone who works for Vice.

From Gawker: “It also demands that we call Vice what it really is: an ever-expanding machine for selling counterculture cool to the world’s largest and most mainstream corporations . . .  but Vice stands out for its twin passions of wrapping itself in antiestablishment symbols and simultaneously hustling harder than anyone to become part of the establishment.”

Gawker has posted problematic stories. Jezebel has posted problematic stories. Vice has published problematic stories. The Village Voice, LA Weekly, Bustle, and xoJane have all published shitty, problematic stories.

But each of these publications has featured its fair share of amazing stories by amazing writers. It’s unfair to make sweeping generalizations about the whole on the basis of a few.

To be transparent, when I pitched my article to xoJane, I was unaware of their problematic publishing history. All I knew was that I had recently been molested and that I wanted my past story of empowerment to be heard. I knew that xoJane published first-person stories, so I sent it to them. If I knew they were going to publish Lauren’s story a few days after mine, I would have hightailed it.

“2. Working for women’s sites for the past 2 yrs I can tell you that our submission box is a firehose of insanity, neurosis and pure dumbness.”

The language used in your above tweet is harmful to women. I’m sorry if people like me don’t fit your standards of sanity and intelligence. Maybe it’s a result of long-term PTSD. Or maybe it’s because I’ve spent the last 20+ years feeling silenced by borderline bullies like yourself.

I don’t think you’re a bad person. I’ve seen some of your stories and I can appreciate what you do, but your words had a serious impact on me.

Also, yo, Vice writes about (and borderline brags about) engaging in illegal activities all the time. You’re seriously going to get on my case for beating up a man who raped me while I was sleeping? Damn. Well, just so you know, the statute of limitations was up last November.

It’s humiliating to have to send the following photos to you, but no more humiliating than having my story denounced as a lie by a semi-public figure. Here you go:

(There was a picture of me holding my ID above my tattoo and a picture of my journal entry from after being raped inserted here.)


I wish you well, Natasha.

– Emily (Leif) Eveland

Here is Natasha’s response:

(and my embarrassing typos)

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Bleeding on the Battlefield

I’m losing sleep.

I know I’m supposed to take the high road and not let the haters get me down, but it’s hard sometimes, especially when I’m living alone in the suburbs without an in-person support system.

I feel like an idiot for letting people get under my skin in the first place, but I’m a human being with real human emotions. I may seem strong (and I know I am, to an extent), but I’m also extraordinarily sensitive. People’s words hurt, even when I know they’re trolling me and their backwards opinions shouldn’t matter.

You may be thinking, “Hey, you put your name on the article — you basically asked for this.”

But doesn’t that response remind you of something? To me, it sounds a lot like, “Hey, you agreed to hang out with him, so you basically asked for him to rape you.”

Here’s the thing: hundreds of people already think I’m lying. How much higher would that number be if I had concealed my identity?

And why should I hide? Why can’t I be proud of what we did? Why can’t I tell my truth?

Oh, right, because it makes you uncomfortable and your comfort level should be my priority.

Fuck that. Just because my reality is different from yours does not mean that it’s wrong, bad, or open for judgment.

I understand that the Internet is a blind battlefield and that engaging with keyboard warriors is a dangerous idea, but I’m already wounded and bleeding.

I guess I’ll keep shooting from the trenches until the medics arrive.

A Final Note

For all the bullshit that’s come my way, there’s been an equal amount of beautiful responses that make me feel strong and increasingly capable of doing this work. I fucking love you guys so, so, so much. I offer you infinite thanks for standing by my side.

My current mantra: “Say goodbye to the hater, errbody wave.”

171 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Vice Media’s Natasha VC and to Anyone Else Who Thinks I’m Lying

  1. You’re a sad, delusional lunatic who can no longer even tell the difference between real events and your own childish fantasies.

  2. And by the way, you didn’t beat up your rapist. You found 3 men to do it for you, because you’re a weak-ass bitch.

  3. I appreciate you sharing your story. I hope it was cathartic or helped you move on in same way. This douche took away your trust, a part of your innocence and love, and he thought it was okay. You taught him it wasn’t okay.

    I don’t agree with the violent way you did it, but I don’t judge you. It’s just something I personally wouldn’t do, but my rape situation is different. I was/am angry with the world rather than the 5 boys who raped me. It’s complicated.

    It sucks when people question you. Many exes (of course after we broke up) claimed I made it up because I wasn’t more fucked up or because I was turned on by certain things that reflected back on my rape to them. It hurts.

    Stay strong. If you need someone to talk to, please reach out. Hugs.

  4. I keep thinking about your story and hope you continue to write. I recently wrote about my experience as a rape victim. I am finding that I am quite triggered by the sentence for Brock Turner. I included a link to your story in my blog. Do you keep up with other women who are publically talking about their experiences as rape victims? https://triciabarkernde.com/2016/06/11/recovery-from-rape-a-spiritual-in-response-to-the-sentence-for-brock-turner/

  5. I understand greatly about how you feel and felt during the time. It’s horrible how people don’t know what another person is going through, let alone, don’t know the story as you do. You’re an amazing writer. I followed🙂 keep you’re head up and don’t let the negativity get the best of you.

  6. Pingback: BEAT UP THE RAPIST – wamweajuniorblog

  7. You are 100% badass for doing this and saying this. There are people like me and WE BELIEVE YOU!
    I believe that if the law in your country can punish it is better to abide, but if not you gotta do something instead of letting a motherfucker destroy you!
    And you look incredibly gorgeous, i am a big fan!

  8. Let just start off by say that you are an amazing woman, and although you have been through something so horrible, you bounce back and you roll with the punches. And the fact that you called them out so openly is an A CLASS move and wonderful to read and share. I wish you every variety of luck and happiness and a little piece of karma to tote around in your pocket🙂

  9. This so so inspirational emily.. lots of respect for you. Here is a piece of article CRIME HAS NO AGE http://wp.me/p7Djzw-J written by me which also highlights how everything is getting wrong with the world and it is solely on us how we deal with the situations.
    I would really appreciate if you could spare some time to go through it and share your views and also share ahead. Thanks..

  10. I don’t know anything about Natasha, Vice, xojane, or any of that stuff. What I do know is what it’s like for someone to take advantage of me while I’m sleeping. Yeah, I had been drinking, too much, but I thought I was with people I could trust. I was right and wrong. If me and my friends could have, we would have done the same thing. So I support you 100%, and know perfectly well that it’s impossible to ignore the hurtful words. You are supported, even if you don’t have the physical presence of someone.

  11. It’s seems well let me just be honest she’s just mad because she didn’t get to beat someone’s ass she’s not hot as you and she’s trying to beat you up about it. No where near as cool either. That’s ok. I’ll beat her ass for you. You’ve made me proud and done enough. You can chill. If you want

  12. It’s sad to say that the world isn’t full of good humans as it should be. I’m glad your friends helped you kick this rapist’s ass. The optimist in me hopes he can learn from it and try to be a better human. Chances are slim, I know. But I, too, support you 100%. You did the right thing. He deserves far worse. You are my hero!

  13. Pingback: An Open Letter to Vice Media’s Natasha VC and to Anyone Else Who Thinks I’m Lying – designerpratosha

  14. Why on Gods Green earth would you lie? It is idiotic to say that when your name is on the article. Emily, I so wanna know how you beat up Sean with no legal reprecusions? A lot of what you suggest I cant legally do!? I dont understand how both beating up and fx hanging up posters can be done legally? Please answer.

    • Wow,Beth…what box do you live in? What about,”What made it ok for the man to rape her without repercussions?” What gender are you really and have you not been living in the now progressjve 21st century where women are speaking out against their abusers and taking action?

      • Mia – how daft are you? I am a rape survivor and i am asking how she did it because I WANT TO BUT CANT because where i live, there will be repercusions for ME if i beat up somebody. For my rapist like all rapists there are no repercusions. Cause its a mans world.
        Seriously. Did you even read my message? Or just skim it? Moron.

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  16. We need public figure like yourself. Unfortunately, woman were manipulated by public sponsored money that is more concerned with protecting their own. Dr. Phil is behind protecting innocent men, without knowing that his influence is empowered by so much money that more woman who have been raped. Most woman do not say they have been raped when they have not. It is better to assume the woman is correct, prior to calling her a liar. Most people who tell truth are called liars, because so people lie today. Woman rape woman too so maybe some nastiest is coming from couples who rape, maybe. On the other hand when man says he is innoscent, he easily can prove it.

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