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The Silenced Ones: Survivor Three

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 happened while she was studying abroad. She was so excited to finally start seeing parts of the world and start a new chapter of her life.

When she arrived in her new country, she quickly realized how much Americans stand out −especially to men. She felt targeted because of her blonde hair and because she is in a sorority. She discovered that men in this country view American girls as crazy, partygoers and tend to target them because of their supposed sexual promiscuity. It was a whole new place with different social rules and expectations.

One night, she met up with another friend that was also studying abroad. They decided to stay in a hostel, but because it was a last minute decision, they were unable to get rooms together.

It was her first night out, and she was quite excited. They went to a bar just down the street from the hostel and began drinking. She was having a great time, and it wasn’t long before she the alcohol started to really affect her. All of sudden she realized that her friend was no longer with her. She couldn’t call her because she didn’t have Wi-Fi, so she had no way of getting in touch with her. Essentially, she was all alone in a brand new country.

The next thing she remembers is lying on the bathroom floor throwing up. She remembers a guy helping her and lifting her up, but she was so drunk that she couldn’t form coherent words.  

He helped her up off the floor, past the security guards, and outside to some steps in an alley where she proceeded to throw up. Several people stopped to ask if she was okay or if she needed food, and he told them that she was fine and that he was taking care of her…but she didn’t even know him.

Somehow, she was able to tell him that she needed to go to bed and get some sleep. Although she doesn’t remember all of the details, she knows that he helped her back to the hostel and stayed with her as she changed into her pajamas and went to bed.

In the middle of the night, she woke up in the hostel in her bed, but she had no clothes on. The guy that had helped her home was in bed with her and was assaulting her. She was still so drunk that she couldn’t move or fight him off.  The girl in the bunk above her in the room jumped out of her bed and slammed the door, which caused him to stop.

The next time she woke up, she was completely disoriented and confused. When she realized there was a stranger in bed with her, she instantly told him to get out. He immediately put on his clothes and left. She put her pajamas back on and went to back to sleep in an attempt to sleep the night off.

The next morning she met up with her friend for breakfast, and she was able to piece together parts of the night. Ultimately, she knows she was targeted. He knew she was a drunk American. He helped her out of the bar just so he could assault her, while she thought he had the best of intentions. She doesn’t know how far things went exactly, but she knows that she didn’t want it and she didn’t ask for any of it to happen.

She didn’t know exactly how to handle the situation −especially in a new country. She didn’t want it to ruin the rest of her time abroad, so she decided to try to let it go and forget about it. Unfortunately, this was easier said than done. When she would meet new guys at bars, she would break down in tears and pour her heart to them about the assault.

Every time she drinks, she goes back to that moment. She had never been that drunk before to the point where she had no control over her own body and what was done to it. The fact that someone took advantage of her vulnerability is scarring.

Several months later when she was traveling abroad, she was assaulted again. She already had her guard up after what happened the first time. She was very aware of how foreign men tend to regard American women, and she felt like she had learned her lesson. Unfortunately, this did not stop someone else from assaulting her again.  

Most of the time she was traveling she was sober, but one night, she and her friends decided to go out and have some fun. She was having a great time, and they were just about to leave when she went to the bathroom because she did not feel well.

The next thing she remembers is someone being with her in the bathroom. While her dress was still on, her spandex were pulled off, and she was lying on the bathroom floor in tears because she was in so much pain.

The guy stood over her and proceeded to tell her that she was fine. He even said that he didn’t hurt her “that” bad, and then ordered her to get up off the floor. She doesn’t remember exactly what happened, but she knows he assaulted her. The amount of pain she was in is proof of it.  Eventually, her friends found her and were able to take her home. She never told any of them what happened to her.

She hopes her story will be a warning for other students that are going abroad. She doesn’t want to stop anyone from traveling and seeing the world, but she wants them to be aware that you have to be careful and have your guard up, especially for young women. In many countries, you are not seen as a person, you are labeled as an American and the connotations that go along with that label can become dangerous.

Thankfully, she refuses to let these experiences ruin her love for travel. Since the assault, she has bought pepper spray and started taking a self-defense class. Although they are far from permanent solutions, they provide her with some comfort.

While what happened to her is wrong and completely unfair, she is such a strong individual. Her courage is inspiring, and her is story unforgettable. She is a survivor.





Lover of gluten-free pizza, Andrew Luck, animals, fuzzy blankets, and anything that sparkles
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