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Fraternity Closed After Rape Survey; Interview with Nadya Suleman
Aired December 20, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
A college fraternity asks members who they like to rape. Free speech or stupid stunt?
And Nadya Suleman is here. She`ll be telling us if she`s losing her home. And how is she`s going to make a living and what kind of holiday is in store for her 14 children.
Let`s get started.
PINSKY: Welcome to the program.
Tonight, a University of Vermont fraternity chapter is closed indefinitely after a survey is revealed asking fraternity brothers whom they would like to rape. Watch this and we`ll talk.
REPORTER: A University of Vermont fraternity has been suspended and now under investigation over a rape survey. The survey by Sigma Phi Epsilon asked members who they would rape.
ANNIE STEVENS, UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT: Just absolutely inappropriate and offensive.
REPORTER: Protests called for an end to the frat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is something that can shatter someone`s life.
REPORTER: The national Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity has decided that someone at its University of Vermont chapter went too far and it`s ordering the chapter closed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: School officials say now that the fraternity is closed, the 20 guys who live here will have to move out.
PINSKY: The leadership from the Sigma Phil Epsilon national office have traveled to the UVM campus in Burlington, Vermont, and insist they are working diligently to find the person or persons responsible for the rape survey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TYLER BOGGESS, SIGMA PHI EPSILON: We want to make sure that any individuals that were responsible for the formulation of that document or any other fault are held accountable. It`s very, very concerning to myself and to our organization. And it is not something that we stand for in terms of the values that our members pledge ourselves to, that our organization pledges itself to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Now, although the fraternity chapter has been closed, university officials acknowledge that the First Amendment may hinder further sanctions.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVENS: It is technically free speech. And yet, it is deplorable and just absolutely inappropriate and offensive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Here to discuss: Lisa Boesky, clinical psychologist and author of "When to Worry"; and Loni Coombs, a former prosecutor.
Loni, a survey that asked, "Who would you like to rape?" -- is that really covered under free speech?
LONI COOMBS, FMR. LOS ANGELES PROSECUTOR: It is to a point. And as a prosecutor, I would be all over this watching to see how many people read it.
The crime here that could be involved is conspiracy, conspiracy to commit a crime. So, if one or more -- or two or more people agree to commit a crime some time in the future and in most states you have to do some over act towards that crime, you can be guilty of conspiracy. Talking about it? No.
PINSKY: So they have to actually be planning a rape?
COOMBS: They have to get agreement to do it.
PINSKY: But isn`t it sort of a hate message against women? Isn`t that kind of a hate crime?
COOMBS: Well, that`s a good argument. But still, there`s no actual crime. They are talking about it. They are discussing it. What do you think --
PINSKY: Does the university or the chapter, the national chapter, the national organization, have a liability in closing that chapter?
COOMBS: I think so. I think so. Here`s the thing. Let`s say further down the line, someone ends up getting raped. And the university knew about this document --
PINSKY: And they didn`t close it.
COOMBS: Yes. They could say was it foreseeable that knowing they were having these discussions and this survey was going on and they were perhaps talking about it, discussing it, and then someone ended up getting raped, was it foreseeable that was going to happen?
PINSKY: So they had to do something. They had to something.
All right. University of Vermont students recently held a rally to denounce this so-called rape survey. The event was videotaped by the "Burlington Free Press". Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTIN NELSON, UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT STUDENT: We are here today to discuss a crude perpetuation of rape culture and sexualized violence. The survey in question asks, who would you rape and why? Sitting right below the question, who is your favorite artist?
The aggressive and violent word rape is made to seen trivial. There are two glaring problems with the survey at hand. The first is that someone thought it was already to write this in the first place. And the second is that it took an outside source to report it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That student, Kristin Nelson, is on the phone with me now.
Kristin, fairly impassioned speech. Help us understand what the sort of prevailing feelings are on campus now.
NELSON (via telephone): Well, right now, we have a lot of student support. Even a lot of sorority sisters and alums have come out in support of the actions that we have taken. It is important thing to get impassioned about on campus because there is this rape culture so prevalent on campus. And there have been girls that have been put in situations they shouldn`t have been put in, that feel attacked by a statement that`s been put out by a fraternity --
PINSKY: Kristin, I`m going to interrupt you. You said a rape culture on campus. Is that something unique to the University of Vermont, or something that you think is pervasive on college campuses? Which is, by the way, the kind of thing I`ve been very concerned about. It seems like college campuses are becoming this old fiefdom where horrible things are happening these days. Sandusky amongst them. And none of the outside services are being allowed to come in to help you.
NELSON: Well, I think the rape culture is something that`s prevalent in our society at large. Not just college campuses. I mean, when you have video games, TV shows, movies that express violence towards women, it`s going to create a culture that desensitizes the youth to rape.
And so, using the word rape in a statement, that`s right under questions of who is your favorite band, who your favorite artist and who would you rape, it creates this culture in which rape is desensitized where the word is just thrown around. And it makes it a lot more common for sexual assaults to occur for people to not understand what is rape --
NELSON: -- and what is consent and it creates a rape culture.
PINSKY: OK. Kristin, I`m going to stop you. Loni is shaking her head vigorously in agreement.
Lisa, you`re the psychologist here. Is there -- is there that kind of pervasive attitude? The thing that strikes me is what if the survey had said, who would you like to murder? And I don`t think men put -- you know, men -- this is not so much a rape culture, but men ignorance culture. You know, this is not male ignorance, not a lack of understanding of the incredible impact of the word rape on women.
Would you agree?
LISA BOESKY. PH.D., CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I would agree. But I would also say these are probably the same men, young men, who would not see having sex with a woman who is passed out or having sex with a woman who severely intoxicated that they wouldn`t see that as rape. You know, rape isn`t just someone coming from behind a tree and jumping on her and attacking her. That`s not how rape happens on college campuses.
PINSKY: But, Lisa, at college campus these days, one thing they have done is gone to great lengths to educate. You go to any college campus and I`m sure, Kristin, it`s the same at UVM, you went in to college campus, there`s signs up about, you know, support groups.
BOESKY: But you think that`s not making a difference because if this is in there, and some say, oh, it was a joke, I really don`t think it was a joke. I think that whoever -- whether it`s one or two authors came up with this, they really wanted to know. Who is your favorite band and if you could rape someone, who would it be?
COOMBS: Here`s my concern about it, too. It`s in this context of a fraternity, and we know that these fraternities do these hazings and these recruiting where they tie and have their members do very crazy things. I could see this survey, this discussion, leading to something that could have been some type of hazing event.
You know, this same fraternity back in 1998 had their charter revoked because during a hazing, they were asking the members or the potential members what they would do with a stripper they met the night before. It`s this whole culture of --
BOESKY: Even more recently, one of their members was arrested for using his iPhone to videotape a woman undressing in a resort that he worked at.
PINSKY: Oh, I heard about that.
BOESKY: Yes. This is the same member from this fraternity. So, this is not isolated. And as we`re saying, I mean, there`s a culture. And I don`t think this is the University of Vermont. And I don`t think it`s this fraternity.
I think -- I don`t think it`s every fraternity or every university, but it`s definitely out there.
PINSKY: Now, Kristin, my last question is to you. My fear is that by coming out too aggressively about that, you`re going to push away men that could be allies. In other words, don`t you -- isn`t the goal to educate the community there? Not to merely get angry with the misogyny that`s endemic? But really bring along those -- and maybe the ones that are the fringy outliers, they`ll show themselves to be misogynistic hateful people.
They are, but the ones that are just not knowing any better. You want to bring them along. Are you afraid that this might push them away as well?
NELSON: No. Actually, I organize a lot with a group called Fed Up Vermont, which is a feminist organization in Burlington. And we do have a fair amount of male members.
And I think that the important thing is that we have to speak out in the press conference to show the community that there is passion and emotion behind this issue. We actually have a rally happening January 21st that`s going to be sort of a teaching and a rally around this issue. We`re really pushing for, you know, getting education in the schools, having mandatory women and gender study classes so that people are educated about this.
PINSKY: Burlington -- I mean, excuse me -- Kristen, it`s kind of mystify this happening in Burlington. I`ve been to Burlington. It`s not exactly the most unenlightened community.
You know what I mean? It tends to be very socially aware and very progressive. What went wrong in Burlington?
NELSON: Well, you have to understand that, you know, people have this idea that Burlington isn`t this little bubble of, you know, a utopia and liberal everything. But the fact is that, especially with a bunch of college campuses where you have kids coming from all over the country, these social constructs and these social ideas that have been put in to us from when we were very young, this violent culture, is prevalent in all aspects of society, even in Burlington, which gets a rap for being this peaceful area. But, you know --
PINSKY: Which to be fair, it is. It is. But I`m glad you`re raising this issue because it is something that -- you know, hate -- one thing we have said over and over is that words matter. People affect each other. And thanks for raising this.
Just don`t get too aggressive. I`m fearful you`re going to push away your allies that might get turned off by the whole thing. Just bring them along. Bring them along.
Thank you, Kristin Nelson.
We`re having Lisa stay with us.
Next, a woman attacked by a sexual predator has a very strong message for the person or persons behind this fraternity rape survey. Don`t go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEIDI DAMON, CONFRONTED ATTACKER IN COURT: I will not address you by your birth name. See, you`re already ashamed. You can`t even look at me. I will not address you by your birth name, but what I feel you deserved to be called guilty, guilty, guilty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA MCGOVERN, SOPHOMORE, UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT: We`re trying to get as many on campus and off campus organizations involved with this in making sure about, you know, this doesn`t go unseen. Rape is such a forceful and violent term that it`s really just completely inappropriate and unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That`s right. Completely inappropriate and unacceptable. That woman was reacting to a University of Vermont fraternity survey which included the question, who would you like to rape?
Now, Heidi Damon is joining us for our conversation.
She was attacked by a sexual predator.
PINSKY: And recently made headlines when she confronted him in court.
I told you we`ll have you back and here you are.
Well, let`s watch you in action in court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON: I am not a victim. I`m the victor, the stronger and the winner. You picked the wrong woman on August 19th, 2009. I survived. You have simply victimized yourself. I will be free for the rest of my life. You will be a prisoner for the rest of yours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Heidi, you have become a symbol of empowering young women. And I like -- I`m just interested in your reaction to the story from Vermont.
DAMON: Well, my first reaction, I was disgusted that this is a topic that people still insist on doing really stupid things and saying things that truly can endanger other people. I look at this as kind of a premeditation of sorts because it takes thought to even put something into a survey.
So what comes after the survey is my question. So, I was very appalled.
PINSKY: Well, it`s interesting. That`s exactly what, Loni, you were saying. What comes after the survey and where does this go? And --
COOMBS: What was the intent behind it? Was it mentally or was he just confusing rape with sex?
PINSKY: But Heidi also said, it`s just a stupid thing. And to some extent, Lisa, it`s just a stupid, stupid move.
BOESKY: Well, I would differ with that.
PINSKY: Now without huge impact. But, really, my point being, sometimes stupidity needs to be met with education -- you know what I mean? And awareness, and that kind. That`s what I was trying to suggest to Kristin, is that you don`t want to scare these guys away. You should get them out and educate them.
But you said more.
BOESKY: Well, what I`m saying is I think it`s normal for 20-something in college guys to sit around together and say, who would you like to sleep with? If you could sleep with someone, and that sorority, or what celebrity -- that`s normal.
Rape is very different. That`s sex. This is rape. That`s an act of violence.
So, I think we don`t want to go too far and say, oh, my God, my God.
And I agree -- we do have to educate them, but I do think this is very different than boys sitting around talking about who they want to have sex with, which is normal and is always going to happen.
PINSKY: But even -- but even -- I`m sorry to laugh. But even that has a quality to it that we might want to look at. You know what I mean? It`s objectifying women.
BOESKY: Do you think that`s ever going to stop? I mean, boys there is something called free speech.
BOESKY: Boys can talk about who they want to have sex with.
COOMBS: The interesting thing, though, girls talk about who they want to date.
You said earlier. What if the question have been, you know, who do you want to murder? Whose house do you want to burn down? Whose face do you want to throw acid on?
Everyone would be repelled and appalled by that.
COOMBS: But when the rape question, when we get to sex. It`s like the Sandusky issue. I always say, if that little boy in that shower when the assistant coach came around, the adult was punching him in the face like this.
PINSKY: Right, right.
COOMBS: Everyone would have jumped in and pulled him off, what are you doing? Call the police.
When it comes to sex, in our society for some reason, we all hesitate.
COOMBS: And we got to stop doing that.
PINSKY: I think that goes -- that what I was giggling about was that discomfort. Thank you. I think that puts a fine point on it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- this data of the polls in the heels of that. Listen to these new numbers.
More than one in three women have experienced a sexual assault, physical violence or stalking by intimate partner that is 30 percent of women. Nearly one in five women being report being raped in their lifetime. That`s 20 percent. Nearly 80 percent of rape victims said they experience their first rape before the age of 25.
Heidi, what`s your opinion on all of this? I mean, is Loni right? Do we have to be more aware of what women are experiencing? So, a word like rape triggers our mind murder in sort of automatically?
DAMON: Well, my first reaction is I bet those numbers are actually low to the reality of it. I bet that the numbers of people who have been affected are a lot higher. And, you know, I think we just need to educate starting from young childhood.
You know, your environment is not what you may think it is. And educate all involved that this is, you know, not a perfect world. And you really need to protect yourself in several different ways.
PINSKY: Well, let`s go to that because I have three of you here, three powerful women. And I like to sort of get takeaways for people at home.
What is the message to women out there? What do we need to tell them? I mean, I feel like the three of you are really representative, a sample of what women -- you could offer something to women to help empower them.
Loni, do you have something, a takeaway?
COOMBS: Break the silence. No progress is made until the secret is broken. You got to speak up. Bring everybody along.
Like you said, don`t make people defensive. Don`t say all men are bad. Everybody needs to be educated.
We all need to start talking about this and recognize that violence and sex are two different things. Rape is a violent, aggressive act of power over someone. It has nothing to do with sex. And we need to recognize it and teach that to our children, boys and girls.
PINSKY: We asked the national office of Sigma Phi Epsilon for a statement. We have not heard back.
Lisa, go ahead.
BOESKY: Well, I think the other thing is we really need to be educating our moms. This starts early. It doesn`t start in the college years, is that our young boys really need to learn how to respect girls, young girls.
BOESKY: And then as we get older, we have to keep re-enforcing this. And I think moms do that to a certain extent, but they don`t -- I think they say you need to respect. But we really need to hammer it home because I think --
PINSKY: To the girls or the boys?
BOESKY: To girls and boys, both.
PINSKY: I don`t think the boys -- this is my point, Heidi --
COOMBS: It`s the boys that we need to educate.
PINSKY: I`m going to say thank, Lisa. And thank you, Loni. Thank you, Heidi.
But I think the boys really don`t understand what women are experiencing. We have to be very careful to educate our young men about this.
Thank you, guys.
Next, comments about what you`ve been watching tonight.
And later, Nadya Suleman is here. She has a job, but we`re still asking -- how is that going to work? How is she going to support herself and 14 children? And is she going to lose her home?
Stay with us.
PINSKY: And welcome back.
We`ve been talking about a University of Vermont fraternity chapter that`s been shut down indefinitely after a question on a survey. It asked the fraternity brothers who they would like to rape.
Here`s what you`re saying about it.
Shane writes, "Had the question been" oh, interesting. Shane puts something in here that I asked earlier, which was: "Who would you like to murder? Then they would, no doubt, be having conversations with police right now. I guess they are lucky to live in a culture where rape jokes are still considered guys being guys."
And, Shane, I want to thank you for that. I think that really encapsulates the essence of the conversation we`ve just been having.
And enough said. I think you`re right.
Let`s go to the phones. Jon in California. Go ahead, Jon.
JON, CALLER: I wanted to say this whole story is so off and completely repugnant. The student wanted to be funny. What would make anyone put together a rape list?
PINSKY: Yes. I know, it is repugnant. And again, it`s going at something that we, over the many months now, have been addressing, which that we affect one another. And words affect one another.
And we -- my fear though is that we`re all going to get so angry about this that it`s going to be about the expression of the anger rather than about creating change where we bring along young people to understand how repugnant, which I believe is the word you used, that language is. We need to educate. We need to bring them out, bring them along.
Cynthia on Facebook writes. "Don`t these boys have sisters or girlfriends? Some sicko had to come up with the idea and the others were followers. It is the blind leading the blind."
And these callers and the Facebook post today really highlight something we`ve all been talking about, which is the fact that this thing had to come to light because of review by an outside individual. It didn`t come from the inside looking at their own behavior and questioning it. And yes, I think, we -- again, it puts a fine point on the fact we need to raise our young men to understand how women experience these things and how deeply those kinds of words cut.
Pam tweets, "Again, Dr. Drew, do you think this is part of a bigger problem on college campuses? I wonder how many other chapters are doing this?"
And I did raise that point earlier. You guys are right on top of this topic. I`m concerned that there are things going on on college campuses that are allowed to go on that the usual remedies aren`t allowed to come in -- the local police, the local social services, the legal organizations, the local mental health and health organizations.
We are aimed to help. That`s why we have these things. To help. Not to bung someone`s high, OK?
Tammie finally writes, "Joke or no joke, wouldn`t now be a good time to remind people what horrible effects rape can have on someone?"
And I hope anyone that watches this program understands that that is something that I champion greatly. That these kinds of experiences can be tremendously altering.
And we have to increase our sensitivity to these issues. And how glibly we deal with them and have dealt with them for a long, long time.
Nadya Suleman is next. Her octuplets are about to turn 3. And she has six other children. They seem to be skating on thin financial ice. I have a ton of questions for her about how she`s going to survive and not lose her home.
Also check out HLN`s top 10 and our must-see, must-share stories at HLNTV.com.
Nadya Suleman, you`ll get her back story and what`s going on now and how she`s going to survive in the future, after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): Coming up, once again, the woman known as Octomom is in jeopardy of losing her home. Nadya Suleman has 14 children, eight of them under the age of three. She has a job and is reported to make in the six figures, but is even that enough to save her and her family from living on the streets? She`s here to answer my questions in person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): Nadya Suleman is here, and I suspect she may be one of the most misunderstood and misjudged women in America. She came to international attention when she gave birth to octuplets in January of 2009. Many were outraged. Even the U.S. congress turned Nadya into an enemy of the state. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOICE OF REP. ROB SCHAAF, (R) 28TH DISTRICT: People are interested, and they`re somewhat outraged that the Octomom situation, especially given that taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: And of course, it turned out to be that the taxpayers were not to foot the bill, although I`ve been trying to get Nadya to take taxpayer money because she`s entitled to it. Octomom, so-called, as she became as a result of interviews such as that, they thought she was going to be a drain on taxpayer and an irresponsible mother. Unfair.
Octomom is complex, smart, strong mom, dealing with 14 kids in a tough situation. Her own demons that she`s been honest enough to discuss right here on this program. And tonight, just days before Christmas, it was reported that she might lose her home to foreclosure this March.
Welcome, Nadya. So, that`s the story that had us like, you know, freaking out and wanting to talk to you. And I don`t know really what`s going on.
NADYA SULEMAN, "OCTOMOM" BROKE, FACING FORECLOSURE: Thank you.
PINSKY: You`re welcome.
SULEMAN: This month, the house is in foreclosure. And --
PINSKY: You told me -- I visited your home.
PINSKY: Through "Life Changers" program. I went and visited Nadya. We`ll talk about some of the stuff that we kind of gave you.
SULEMAN: I`m very thankful.
PINSKY: Well, I hope it worked. I`ve been dying to see how the cleaning crew to help.
SULEMAN: It`s great. Even bimonthly. It`s amazing.
PINSKY: I think they`ll it offer every week.
SULEMAN: I`m trying to space it out. And I`m cleaning every day.
PINSKY: You want it to last longer.
PINSKY: I get it.
SULEMAN: I`m so very grateful.
PINSKY: Because it`s an incredible task.
SULEMAN: It`s nonstop. House, in of itself, cleaning house with one child or even no children, people can identify that`s a full-time job.
PINSKY: Now, so, let`s get back to the foreclosure.
PINSKY: Are you going to -- that means you`re going to lose your house --
SULEMAN: A good friend of mine is a real estate agent, and she`s going to do a short sale. So, hopefully, you know, I`m hopeful that it will sell. I won`t make anything off of it. So, the goal next school will be to move or to get, you know, lease a home.
PINSKY: Will you have any money out of that move?
SULEMAN: I`m very, very fortunate there is, at least, an opportunity --
PINSKY: For some equity.
SULEMAN: Actually, the first -- it`s called show, but I call it more -- it`s called You Stream (ph) --
PINSKY: Hold on. Before you get in to your show, I`m worried about the house sale.
PINSKY: Because this has been the thing, Nadya, that I`ve been worried about is you have -- how much you estimate every month to raise those kids?
SULEMAN: I`ve been working as a fitness trainer for over a year.
PINSKY: What`s your monthly not to raise those kids? Like $12,000?
SULEMAN: No, I`ve reduced it significantly. So, unfortunately, I have not been able to keep up with the house payments.
PINSKY: Without the house payments, what is it?
SULEMAN: At least, maybe, five.
PINSKY: Just food, about five for food --
SULEMAN: For everything and school.
PINSKY: Caretaking and diapers and schooling.
SULEMAN: Not too much caretaking. I only hire --
PINSKY: I know you do it.
PINSKY: I`m able to fill in the gaps here. Again, you came (INAUDIBLE) we tried to get her a full-time nanny, full-time au pair, but the au pair required a separate bedroom, and then, legitimately --
SULEMAN: I don`t have a bedroom.
PINSKY: Legitimately, that was not possible. Although, at first, I thought you were stonewalling us.
SULEMAN: No, no. I literally don`t have my own quarter.
PINSKY: I know you don`t. I`ve seen -- I`ve been to your house, but I really thought you were, for some reason, so intent on doing this alone that you were going to stonewall us.
SULEMAN: I`m very receptive to help, but I`m so grateful to everything you`ve done. It`s helped tremendously. And, but then, again, at the same time, I still don`t want to -- I don`t want any handouts from people because I feel I don`t want to be a burden on anybody. I`m the one who created this.
PINSKY: We also on this program, you talked about -- I`m going to revisit that how -- is there`s a picture of, I guess -- is that everybody there in that picture left side of me? That`s most of the kids.
PINSKY: A quarter of them. The position you`re in, though -- you had had six kids, one with severe autism. And Aiden has his own room. That`s why we couldn`t get the au pair because he really needs his own room. I`ve seen what he needs, and you do an amazing job with him.
SULEMAN: Thank you.
PINSKY: You do an amazing job with him.
SULEMAN: Trying. Learning every day still.
PINSKY: You`re doing an amazing job with him. Then you decide I need more kids. This was people get angry.
SULEMAN: You know, I thought -- in my head, I`m thinking what`s the difference between one more and six? Of course, in retrospect, if I knew then --
PINSKY: Because it didn`t feel like that much.
SULEMAN: Not seven more.
SULEMAN: You know what I mean?
PINSKY: You wanted seven. Just one more.
SULEMAN: I thought, well, what`s one more. Right.
PINSKY: OK. And so, what they did was they put in --
SULEMAN: It was a failed, failed in vitro.
PINSKY: Let`s call it a misadventure where they put in what they normally put in for her to give you one or two babies.
PINSKY: And they said they got all expelled so they put more in and it turned out that eight took. And they consented you. I don`t want to put words in your mouth. As I understand, I want to review this story.
PINSKY: When they consented you, you were intoxicated with anesthesia.
SULEMAN: Yes, I was. And he wrote up his own agreement. I wanted to protect the doctor for awhile, for a long time, for years, and I didn`t disclose any of this.
PINSKY: But people, though, think you wanted eight and put eight in.
SULEMAN: God, no!
PINSKY: Right. You wanted seven, which made people angry already.
SULEMAN: Total. Yes, maybe one more. And I was in the situation when they -- when my uterus is contracting, and the doctor is like, you know, 99 percent chance they`ve all expelled. I`m thinking, there`s no way I`m coming back. I`m done. You know, he says you want to transfer the rest, OK. And he waited an hour. I signed something. And at that point, I regret not having read it.
PINSKY: And then, so you got eight, and then, you were vehemently opposed to any sort of reduction or abortion. You refused which is you`re pro-life.
SULEMAN: And again, I was rationalizing for many months that what happened is what I researched extensively on this. Even twins, there`s a high percentage of -- it`s called vanishing twin syndrome.
PINSKY: Right. Let me explain with that is which is when you get eight that take, several of them drop out on their own. And I would tell you, my wife and I, we actually had quadruplets to begin with and one dropped out. We have now triplets. And let me also say, I`m doing a lot of talking today, and I apologize for that. I`m like you this time.
SULEMAN: No, thank you.
PINSKY: I`m filling in for this audience what I`ve learned about you and I`ve learned a lot, and I want them to understand this, too. That multiple moms really have empathy for you. They are all like pulling for you.
SULEMAN: I`m pulling for them.
PINSKY: And now, that you`re less of a cartoon character and more of a person struggling, I think it`s coming to focus.
SULEMAN: Here you take a person. I`ve always been a little antisocial, very, very highly shy and nervous. You know, I`m very highly anxious.
PINSKY: I noticed that.
SULEMAN: And then, catapult it into something that is my ultimate fear, which is actually people, which is so ironic and that people -- it was jokable people thinking people thought that I wanted the fame and reality. Not only did I not, I didn`t even want to be around people.
PINSKY: So, you want to be around kids --
SULEMAN: Just kids. Just my children. Yes. And I felt safe creating my own little safe and predictable world.
PINSKY: Well, speaking of safe, are you still patrolling the house in the middle of the night and feeling paranoid?
SULEMAN: I feel a little safer. The death threats stopped, and I`m actually receiving a lot of positive letters from people. I`m very grateful. I`m starting to realize there`s more positive people and more supportive people emotionally than I ever imagined.
PINSKY: You seemed much calmer than when you were first here, if you remember. I wish we get some footage of my first year (ph). I had had to grab your hand and sort of hold you down, because I couldn`t get you to even concentrate. You were so spun.
SULEMAN: People that come up to me now, if I ever get out, it`s either for work or if I try -- because I don`t have the luxury to go to the gym anytime I want. So, whenever I have an opportunity, I go, and I`ll have people come up to me, mainly girls, and they`ll praise me, and they`ll say, you know, you`re actually an inspiration, and I`m so thankful to them. I`m sweating. They`re like can we take a picture. I don`t care. Sure, you know?
PINSKY: It`s holiday season, and that`s one of the reasons we wanted to revisit with you is that the hope that this is kind of working. We`ll talk in the next -- after the commercial break about what things you`re doing and what was done to support you. But, again, I got to get straight. Your net now is like $5,000 a month after taxes.
PINSKY: That`s without a house payment.
PINSKY: Where is that coming from?
SULEMAN: I`ve been a fitness trainer for over a year.
PINSKY: So, fitness training.
SULEMAN: Right. And any kind of international interviews again. And I`d like to, some day, in the future, you know, stop that.
PINSKY: And don`t you have a You Stream video?
SULEMAN: You stream is going to be starting on, actually, on Christmas.
PINSKY: And that will pay you a salary?
SULEMAN: Well, no, not necessarily. It`s been through advertisements and through sponsors.
PINSKY: You hope you`re going to get this?
SULEMAN: I`m very hopeful. Yes.
PINSKY: OK. All right. Got to take a quick break. Now, we`re going to keep talking about her new job and how she is pulling her life together, and there`s a lot more. I`m doing a lot of talking to bring us up to speed with where you are now. You`ll hear more from her after the break.
PINSKY: The life of Nadya Suleman is far from easy. Nadya is a complicated mom with 14 kids, not a clear, steady income, but one thing that`s always struck me is her ability to laugh at herself, both in the face of criticism and just flat out laugh at herself by the Silent Library (ph) still my favorite episodes, but here`s another example. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you`ve never seen eight babies born at once before. Well, take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just breathe. Breathe. Now push. Push. Don`t push.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got more in me.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m so happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Well, that wasn`t exactly Nadya making fun of herself, but she had a good time watching it. That is -- thank to "Jimmy Kimmel Live." Thanks, Jimmy, for letting us steal (ph) that from you. Now, do you like seeing that when people make fun of you?
SULEMAN: I haven`t watched TV in over a decade.
SULEMAN: This is embarrassing, but the internet that you convinced me to get, because of you, that`s why You Stream -- the opportunity for You Stream seemed about. The first time I`ve ever had internet is when they finally installed it about a week and a half ago.
PINSKY: have you joined the rest of society now?
SULEMAN: I still haven`t gone online. The very first time -- the first time will be --
PINSKY: This is when I think you`re stonewalling me. This is when I think --
SULEMAN: No, no. It`s my avoided tendency. Yes. My kids are.
PINSKY: Of course, they are.
SULEMAN: I`m trying to sensor it, but at the same time, the first time will really be when I do that run uncensored kind of video blog. I don`t call it a show because it won`t be. I`ll be sitting literally, sitting on the floor of my son`s dilapidated room, surrounded by, you know, broken Legos and talking and being me and being the truthful me.
PINSKY: Speaking of being you, there`s nothing that you told me about the first time you`re on this program that I don`t think they`ll know about you is you were a psych tech. You were --
PINSKY: You worked in a psychiatric hospital.
SULEMAN: I was valedictorian of my program.
PINSKY: And I had you diagnose --
SULEMAN: Yes, yes. Right, right.
PINSKY: Has that diagnostic profile changed a little bit?
SULEMAN: I think a little.
PINSKY: Although, this sort of all settled?
SULEMAN: I think they settled a little. Yes, I think so. This has been a hobby of mine to point my finger and myself and try to diagnose me, myself, and other people as if I`m an expert, right?
PINSKY: I think you did a good job. Now, a few months back, I dropped by unexpectedly at Nadya`s home. Let`s see what I found. Watch this from "Life Changers."
PINSKY: I want to look around.
SULEMAN: It`s a mess.
PINSKY: I smell a little pee-pee in here.
SULEMAN: They probably --
SULEMAN: They don`t like the diapers.
PINSKY: Is it the mattresses or the floor?
SULEMAN: You know what, we`re in the middle of potty training.
PINSKY: I mean, (INAUDIBLE) to make them more comfortable.
PINSKY: What`s with the tagging out here? A line of those tugging?
PINSKY: That`s all been cleaned up. We sent a crew in there, and they come regularly.
SULEMAN: And I keep it up.
PINSKY: I know you do. Her kids are extremely well behaved. They don`t go outside the room there.
SULEMAN: Young ones are.
PINSKY: Yes, those guys. And I changed the diaper there. Whose diaper I changed?
PINSKY: Yes, Josiah. And the kids are great. They seem really lovely.
SULEMAN: Yes. I`ve learn through trial and error.
PINSKY: Are you fearful? Now, let`s put your psychiatric hat on a second.
PINSKY: Given the attachment needs of children for their mom --
SULEMAN: Right, right.
PINSKY: Are you fearful that you won`t be able to meet all their attachment needs?
SULEMAN: I`m absolutely not. I`m not at all.
PINSKY: Let`s speculate.
PINSKY: OK, because it`s hard for one mom to meet one baby`s needs.
SULEMAN: There`s always the unique differences in mothers and families.
SULEMAN: And through -- I wanted to say, I`ve learned so much through my children and how to parent. And I had the experience of being, unfortunately, being a permissive and diligent parent with my older ones. I`ve seen how that can inadvertently handicap a child. And by spoiling a child, it can destroy them, really.
PINSKY: So, you have a household where the octuplets are going to be extremely regimented? Are they going to resent the older kids?
SULEMAN: I think they`re going to be the happiest, most religious children I have raised, because they are so grateful for every little thing. And that`s one of the ingredients I believed I had this enlightenment a couple of months ago, a formula for happiness, and one of which is huge. It`s being grateful, gratitude.
And I think that the more grateful we are for the littlest things in our life, the happier we really are. You can`t look for it extrinsically. You can`t look for it in your environment. It stems from your intrinsic, you know, the ways of seeing things. My perspective has changed dramatically.
PINSKY: Are we talking about spiritual sort of wakening?
SULEMAN: No, I think that -- literally, I`m grateful for running water.
PINSKY: I can imagine. You`re in survival mode all the time. Imagine, you`re grateful everyone`s OK.
PINSKY: You`re describing gratitude to the kids.
SULEMAN: Oh, absolutely.
PINSKY: They`re too young for that, really.
SULEMAN: They`re not. They`re not. Not the little ones. The little ones, I bring out bell peppers and raw vegetables and they go wow. So, they`re very grateful for little things whereas my older ones like, eew mom. That is disgusting.
PINSKY: Now speaking of eight kids in gratitude. Kate Gosselin, I guess, is also in financial difficulty.
SULEMAN: I`ve never seen her show, but I do wish her all the luck.
PINSKY: Do you have any contact with her.
SULEMAN: I never have. But again, it will only take another mother of higher multiple (ph) to really understand the challenges, the obstacles, the (INAUDIBLE) that we go through, and some more than others, but I mean, I wish her all the best.
PINSKY: Yes. I met her. People forget she`s a nurse. Everyone forgets what you guys are in real life. They want you to be the cartoon mom of super multiples.
SULEMAN: And that`s the sad thing, unfortunately. I wish people would try to see. I`ve always tried to look for the positive in every human being, because we all have positive in that.
PINSKY: All right. So, let`s get back to the positive --
SULEMAN: Situation right now.
PINSKY: yes. The situation -- because you know I push you on this every time I see which is how is this going to work? How are you going to sustain this for 18 years or whatever it is, 15 years?
SULEMAN: I also just got a great opportunity. I didn`t bring this up.
PINSKY: OK. What is it?
SULEMAN: I was given the opportunity to be followed and documented for being a fitness trainer. And the man who`s doing so, is filming, he wants to pitch it to networks as to be called working moms.
PINSKY: So, it`s a reality show.
PINSKY: Will somebody take care of the kids while you work in the reality program?
SULEMAN: The kids are going to be in school. I don`t, again, like have the luxury to do the nine to five job.
PINSKY: You`re trying to sell it. It`s a maybe. Where are your income is coming from?
SULEMAN: Right now, I`m also working with a train -- with
PINSKY: Tell me about that, because I want to support that because that has the potential for income for you.
PINSKY: When you sell that show, you come back on here. We`ll promote it, OK. But until that`s a reality, you need $5,000 a month, and - - or, Nadya, I`m going to be honest, or the government is going to not only have to pay -- want to pay, they`re going to have to pay.
SULEMAN: Well, you`re not listening to me. You`re not letting me finish. Forget about the show. Even if it doesn`t sell, I have the opportunity to work with a trainer who used to be an Olympic boxing champion. He`s actually helping me build a clientele, and he`s helping me build a business.
PINSKY: OK. Good. OK.
SULEMAN: So, that is excellent, and you didn`t let me say it.
PINSKY: I apologize.
PINSKY: Now, you can get mad at me. Go ahead.
SULEMAN: You let me finish.
PINSKY: Boxing is one of the things you`re studying?
SULEMAN: It`s not boxing. He`s actually teaching me how to train others while I`m concurrently getting my personal trainer`s license.
PINSKY: I wish you absolutely the best. And I wish you the best in the You Stream. I will keep sending that cleaning crew in there.
SULEMAN: Thank you.
PINSKY: Because you`ve been doing a super human task, and I think for people --
SULEMAN: We`re all human. None of are oblivious (ph) to making mistakes. (INAUDIBLE) will be God not human. So, I`m learning everyday. And I`m always hungry for learning more.
PINSKY: Nadya, take the compliment. You`re --
SULEMAN: I`m trying.
PINSKY: You`re doing a phenomenal job, but people are still, you know --
PINSKY: They`re angry with you now for not taking public funds, which is interesting. And I know you won`t.
Irony of human nature. It`s just they want to seen -- not everybody, but a lot of people, they just want to find the negative. And we all have --
PINSKY: All right. But I hope that if you get strapped -- but I hope if you fully get severely strapped, you`re entitled to public funds. And we`ll come on and talk about that if you ever get to that point. You`re entitled to it if things really don`t work out. There`s a bunch of kids here. It`s not about you, it`s about those kids.
SULEMAN: Of course, of course.
PINSKY: Next, we take some of your questions for Nadya, and don`t forget our holiday special this Friday at our regular time, 9:00 p.m. eastern. More after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SULEMAN: Today, I spewed out many, many, many babies. More than I actually gave birth to to a contestant whose mask completely was destroyed by one of the several of the babies. I thought that would be exciting. I love self-deprecating humor. You have to love at yourself. That`s the healthiest of all medications.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: And that was Nadya`s funniest moment. It`s "Silent Library" from MTV. Welcome back. We are catching up with Nadya Suleman, mother of octuplets and six other children. And you wanted to mention something about a DVD or some acting experience you had.
SULEMAN: I`m certainly far from kind of being an expert at anything, but I had an opportunity to do a horror movie, and it was great. It was like 16 hours of filming, five days straight. And I literally would work all day. I sleep an hour and then I go home and make sure everything was prepared for the next day, more than two hours, and then go back. I did my own stunts. That was cool. And it was like --
SULEMAN: It`s called "Millennium."
SULEMAN: "Millennium." Yes. It`s straight to DVD.
PINSKY: We will support it.
PINSKY: Now, holidays are tough for many parents with far fewer kids. What`s it going to be like with 14?
SULEMAN: I think less is more.
PINSKY: Is that best of time --
SULEMAN: We celebrate Jesus` birthday. That`s what we celebrate. And what we`re going to do this year is go to a children`s hospital and give. And that`s another one of my ingredients for happiness, and I need the kids to know they can get one gift each. And it`s more important to be able to give to those who don`t have anything.
PINSKY: To be of service.
SULEMAN: Yes. And that`s very important lesson to teach my kids. This is important. I like to see my son, my oldest just racing around the house on a scooter, and parents like, what the heck -- yes, I do, like drinking my dinner (ph). And every time he kept going in circles, mom, I need this for my scooter, I need that, I need that.
And I`m like, all I said was Elijah, seriously, you know how many kids right now would be wishing for your legs that they could be able to riding your scooter. How many kids will be wishing for your health right now? The breath you breathe right now, you know? And then, I need them to really, really see it and to go to a hospital.
PINSKY: I`ve also been in his room, and he`s very creative kid --
SULEMAN: It`s a little OCD, though.
PINSKY: Oh, by the way, we were diagnosed -- Nadya was giving me her diagnostic impressions of my disorder during the commercial break. I have generalized anxiety disorder, which she properly diagnosed, agoraphobia. I don`t like crowds. And we share those, we share those two disorders.
A little OCD. I`ve got little OCD. So, now, let`s go to some Facebook. Here is Cindy who asked, "Nadya, your kid`s birthday is coming up in January. What is that they like?" Is that a big celebration?
SULEMAN: I like to do, less is more. So, we`re going to have a little bouncer, maybe Elmo (ph) bouncer.
PINSKY: Bouncy room (ph).
SULEMAN: And then one gift each again and a little cake.
PINSKY: That`s a one gift -- that`s nice.
SULEMAN: They`re going to be just happy enough to have cake because they never have cake.
PINSKY: Christy for Facebook asked, "Nadya, before you had octuplets, didn`t you see how difficult it was financially back then?" I think what she`s asking is when you had six, wasn`t that tough enough?
SULEMAN: I`m embarrassed to say that during the time I was getting my masters degrees, and I was -- in my head, I was rationalizing, well, I`m going to be OK working as a counselor. On average, I looked into it, $80,000 a year. And what`s one more over six, seven total kids? And of course, in retrospect, you know, if we go back then, if we had a time machine, I`d make different choices.
PINSKY: Would you even have six? I mean, it`s hard to raise -- I mean, you don`t want to raise your kids --
SULEMAN: I don`t know. I love them so much. I can`t live looking back. I got to live forward and learn to let go of any kind of negativity.
PINSKY: Well, listen, I wish you the best during the holidays. My wife is obsessed that you should be OK, because she as a multiple mom really identifies strongly.
SULEMAN: Thank you very much for having me.
PINSKY: We`ll be watching, and we`ll have you back again to make sure that we keep an eye on you.
SULEMAN: Thank you.
PINSKY: Happy holidays, Nadya.
SULEMAN: Thank you. Happy Holidays, too.
PINSKY: Of course, everyone out there as well, and thank you for watching. We will see you next time.