Warning: The following article may contain content that is disturbing to some readers. This article was written for the sole purpose of giving voices to a community of people that are consistently silenced by society. Her Campus DePauw values these brave individuals and withholds blame from any and all parties. We hope that we are able to highlight the impact that sexual assault has on an individual, while simultaneously educating and helping to remove the negative stigmas attached to this sensitive topic. Please proceed with caution and respect.
It was her freshman year when the first assault occurred. There was a boy she had previously hooked up with that she felt comfortable with and trusted.
One night when they were both drunk, they went back to his room to have some fun. She even set limits as to how far the encounter would go.
They were making out on his bed when suddenly the situation changed drastically. She told him several times that she did not want to have sex, but her words were lost on him. Because he was on top of her, she was unable to fight him off or to try to control the situation. Unfortunately, he proceeded to rape her.
After a few minutes of this, he finally got up off of her, and she ran out of the room without any of her belongings, including her clothes. Thankfully, a friend saw her and was able to comfort and take care of her.
A few short years later, she was assaulted again, but this time by a stranger. She was away from home for the summer due to an amazing internship opportunity.
One night, she decided to go out to a free concert with her friend. Eventually, they made their way to a local bar that was next door to the concert venue. Overall, it was a great night. She had a few drinks and ate some food, but after a few hours she decided to head home to get some sleep because she had work early in the morning.
She walked back by herself because the bar was only two blocks away from where she was staying. When she arrived home, she chatted with one of her friends and then went to her room to get some sleep.
It was a hot night and because there was no air conditioning in her residence, she decided to sleep naked. Before going to sleep, she texted her friend who was back at the bar to check in with her
A few hours later, she woke up to a stranger in her bed assaulting her. As soon as she realized what was happening, she demanded that he leave her room immediately. He got up, tucked himself back into his pants, and then unlocked the door, which had previously been ajar.
At this point, she was in complete and utter disbelief as to what had just happened. She texted her housemates to explain that she was just assaulted, but then her body went into shock. She began twitching, shaking and rocking herself back and forth.
After being comforted by one of her housemates for a while, she was finally able to fall back asleep for a little bit. The next morning, on only a few hours of sleep and still in shock, she went into work. The twitching and shaking continued for the next two days.
During that day, she was able to use the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline. They told her that she could report the assault and possibly save someone else from being assaulted, but because she was unsure of the identity of her attacker, she chose to not report it.
She and her friends later tried to identify her attacker by asking local shops about their security cameras. Unfortunately, they were never able to identify the man.
When reflecting on the second assault, she is amazed at how some people reacted. She was asleep in her bed, in her own room, a place that she felt safest, yet a coworker she confided in laughed off the situation. Not only did her attacker violate her body, but he violated her personal space. To this day, she sometimes wakes up in a panic and while she is unsure if it is directly related to what happened that summer, it very possibly could be.
The immediate impact of both assaults was very tangible for her. Looking back on the first assault, she felt that she could not report what happened because the repercussions of it were too great, especially for someone going to a small college. She didn’t want to live with what happened for the following four years. To this day, she wonders if her attacker knows that what he did was assault, or if he thinks that it was consensual sex.
The second assault had many more physical, emotional and mental repercussions. She is astounded how someone could enter a stranger’s room, get in bed and assault them. It is difficult to make sense of a situation that has no explanation.
While she believes that young women should have the agency to drink what they want and dress how they want to without feeling threatened, she acknowledges that is not the reality. Her experiences are proof that sometimes women can do everything right and still be put in compromised positions.