For the past few days, campus life at the University of Delaware has been shrouded in a mix of anxiety, anger and fear. An article from the Newark Post and on the Newark Police Public Information website on Monday, October 11 revealed that 20-year-old Brandon Freyre, a student at UD, physically assaulted a female acquaintance in an apartment on East Main Street this past Friday the 8th. Freyre held the victim hostage in the apartment for four hours until she was able to escape and call the police after she was already subject to repeated blows with blunt objects, spray paint in her eyes and being thrown down a flight of stairs.
Until the day these updates were posted, most students across campus had no knowledge of what happened. Posts and vague statements about men being held accountable for their actions started circulating on Instagram that night, bringing up a number of questions and an overwhelming air of uncertainty.
The bottom line is that students were learning of this event from social media, not from a statement by the University. While it’s understandable that they would need time to prepare what to say about such an important topic, it’s hard to believe that Delaware Barstool’s Instagram and Kappa Delta Rho, the fraternity that Freyre was a member of, put out statements before our own administrators.
The first statement by the fraternity noted that they, “suspended his [Freyre’s] membership pending the investigation by authorities.” This was later updated in a second statement on October 12 where they said that Freyre’s membership “was revoked permanently.” These statements come hours before the University’s email signed by the Vice President and Interim Chief Diversity Officer that calls for “our community to come together and advance our goals of a campus climate free of all violence, including gender-based violence and violence against women.” Much like the statement following the discriminatory protests a couple weeks ago by a group from Pennsylvania, the words of those in power fail to provide any kind of promise to the UD community that anything will be done to prevent future incidents.
It’s normal to feel apprehensive or uneasy while all of this unfolds. Being a member of any already-targeted group of people like victims of domestic violence only feels worse when an event like this happens so close to home, retraumatizing you and putting you on edge. For anyone feeling these complicated emotions, use this moment to take care of yourself and those around you before forcing yourself to do anything that might make you uncomfortable.
There are resources available on campus for anyone who has experienced domestic or sexual violence including Sexual Offense Support (SOS), which also provides a 24/7 helpline that can be reached by calling (302)-831-1001 and pressing 1. A clinician will check to make sure you’re safe, take down your first name and phone number and have an Advocate call you back within ten minutes. Other on-campus resources include the Center for Counseling and Student Development and Student Wellness and Health Promotion. Sean’s House on W Main Street also has Peer Mentors available throughout the day to listen to you as well as additional resources and programs centered around mindfulness and mental health.
These on-campus resources might not be the most reliable, so we’ve compiled some off-campus and online resources as well. A good precaution to take would be to walk in groups at night and share your location with someone you trust through apps like Life360, LiveSafe or Find My Friends. Additionally, you can text 9-1-1 in most states if calling isn’t possible, and an SOS call can be signaled on iPhones by tapping the on/off button three times. Similarly, the SOS signal can be activated on Samsungs by pressing the lock button three times.
If you ever find yourself in a situation similar to the one above or have found yourself in this situation in the past, know that the members of Her Campus believe you, hear you and are there for you. You aren’t alone and we won’t let this moment fade like it has before.