By People Staff
July 11, 1994 12:00 PM

Don Johnson’s problems with alcohol and a rocky marriage (PEOPLE, June 20) had correspondents both sympathizing and scolding the troubled actor. Alumnae of Gallaudet University, however, who read our story about campus rape at the famed school for deaf students, were more often in agreement. Most said they were not surprised by the rape allegations, and several claimed that they too had been victims of sexual assault sit the school.


I don’t think Don Johnson should use the excuse of falling off the alcohol wagon for his cheating, car accidents and behaving badly in public. Maybe he should look in the mirror and adjust his ego. He should be grateful for having a wonderful wife and family—not for being the hottest thing in Hollywood! Money can’t buy everything, especially self-respect.

MARLENE TYLER, Foster City, Calif.

I read your article on Don Johnson with great sadness. I have been a loyal fan and supporter of Don’s for over 10 years. I want him to know that his real friends will stay loyal to him through all his life experiences, good and bad. As for Melanie Griffith, I would appreciate it if she would not inform the world of her husband’s drinking habits. She has obviously forgotten how supportive Don was of her after her stay at Hazelden in 1989. As long as she finds it so difficult to stay off alcohol herself, she too needs to “get a grip,” and help her husband, not criticize him.


Sunnyvale, Calif.


As a Gallaudet University alumna, I am not surprised about the cover-ups. They had been going on for many years before I entered Gallaudet and have continued since I graduated. I believe the cover-ups continue to happen because the deaf community is small—everybody knows everyone—and there is a fear of shame and rejection. Regardless, the victims must think of themselves first as women, empower themselves, and bring the rapists to justice and let the cards fall where they may. My hope is that the past victims, who may be suffering the consequences in silence, will see this, step forward to give support to the current victims and heal themselves as well.


I find it appalling that the administration at Gallaudet University has done nothing to investigate and stop the attacks on women at the institution after years of complaints. Turning one’s head does not mean there is not a problem. In fact, they are discovering the problem multiplies. As to Rick Perry’s response to PEOPLE’S inquiry regarding his assault on Miss Gage, “No comment. I’m not Mike Tyson.” Evidently, he is.


It’s a shame that the girls on campus are not being “heard” loud enough! Unfortunately, the deaf (if they are) boys can’t or won’t hear the word “no.” I bet they would if you were to bite or even kick them instead of signing no. Just a little advice for the girls. If you’re going to a party and you don’t want to be assaulted, stay with your friends, don’t go out alone.

SUSAN ROBINSON, Long Beach, Calif.

The article “Silent Screams” brought a long-standing problem to public attention. It’s hard to believe that Dr. King Jordan said, “I have never heard that there is an atmosphere of fear and intimidation at Gallaudet regarding this issue.” I wrote to Dr. Jordan and the board of trustees in 1988. It was a problem when I was a student there between 1985 and 1988, and a member of the staff continued to stalk me until last year. I finally went to the police in April 1993. It stopped after the police questioned the person. I hope your article encourages other “silent” victims to come forward. I shouldn’t have waited so long to report it.


What disgusts me most about the rapes of these women at Gallaudet is the lack of response from the male figures in their lives. Where were the fathers, brothers or uncles of these girls? Once justice became unavailable, these men should have been there administering some justice of their own!


My heart goes out to those female victims. Sexual harassment shouldn’t happen anywhere, period. But it does happen everywhere, including universities. Gallaudet should not be singled out for failing to prevent or produce desirable consequences in 100 percent of sexual harassment incidents. Being an alumna and a former freshman adviser, I have seen firsthand how well programs at Gallaudet worked to curtail such incidents. The statement “there is at least one rape a weekend” does not reflect my experience as an adviser—or as a student—at all.

DEBRA L. COLE, Seabrook, Md.


Tell Joe Eszterhas that “seize the day because life is short” doesn’t mean one should do so at the heartbreaking expense of others, especially those who love and trust you. As for the other advice he followed—”s—t on the world”—he didn’t do it to the world, he did it to his own family. A good title for Joe’s tell-all book about the sad mess he created might be Absence of Conscience.

WENDI OLSEN, Los Alamitos, Calif.