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.
The assault happened the summer after her freshman year. Looking back, she remembers how she became aware of how prevalent sexual assault is in college during her freshman year. She felt that since she made it through her freshman year without being assaulted, then it would most likely never occur. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
That summer she went and stayed with her aunt for two and a half months to be a nanny. At the time, her aunt was dating a middle-aged man who had two sons. While her aunt had her own place, they spent much of their time at his house because it was on a lake and he had a boat. They always had a good time when they were there.
During the last week of her stay, her aunt’s boyfriend decided to take her out for drinks with his nephew. Her aunt was supposed to go, but at the last minute she decided to stay in.
She was having a great time, but since she hadn’t drank much all summer she had a very low tolerance. By the end of the night, she realized she was pretty drunk which was not something she normally did, so she asked to be taken home.
When they got in the car, her aunt’s boyfriend insisted that they go to a pub to drink some more. At first she said that she needed to go home because she knew she was drunk, but he was more persistent. She eventually gave in, but told him that she did not want to drink anymore.
As soon as they got to the pub, he ordered a round of tequila shots. She continued to insist that she was not going to drink. She even told the waitress to not bring her a shot, but when the waitress returned, she had three shots: one for the boyfriend, one for his nephew and one for her. He told her that since he already bought it, she needed to drink it, so she did.
About ten minutes later, she was in the bathroom throwing up. The group then went back to her aunt’s apartment. When they got the apartment, she realized that she was unable to walk by herself, so he carried her into the apartment. When they walked in, her aunt was in the living room watching a movie but she paid no attention to them.
She knew she was going to throw up more, so she went straight to the bathroom and her aunt’s boyfriend came with her. As she was leaning over the toilet to throw up, he got behind her and leaned against her, pressing his crotch into her backside. He then proceeded to grope her.
At this point, she felt like her body was failing her. She was very aware as to what was happening, but she was too drunk to fight him off. As she continued to throw up, she prayed that he would stop.
After a little bit, she decided that she needed to go to bed. She got up and tried to walk into her room, but she stumbled and he grabbed her and laid her on the bed. She hoped that nothing else would happen. This was someone she trusted. This was her aunt’s boyfriend. This was someone who had told her that he wished he were her dad.
As soon as she was on the bed, he grabbed her shirt and bra and started pulling them down. She was in complete shock, yet somehow she remembered that her mom once told her that if someone is ever grabbing you, use your elbow because it is one of the hardest parts of your body. She attempted to fight him off by hitting him with her elbow and telling him to stop. This caused him to pause. She then asked him to take off her shoes with the hopes that it would take his attention away from the rest of her body. He then went to take off her shoes, but instead of simply sliding them off, he began to suck on her toes.
At this point, she was in complete shock and disbelief. She couldn’t believe what was happening. None of it seemed real. It was the worst feeling in the world. All she wanted was for her aunt to walk in and stop the assault.
She tried to pull away again, but he just went back to groping her. Eventually he left, and she returned to the bathroom to throw up some more. Not because she was drunk, but because her body was in shock.
She then called her boyfriend and left him a voicemail telling him that she had to talk to him immediately. When he called her back, she told him what had happened. She was so scared and she wanted to tell him because she knew she was drunk and might forget some of the details of the assault.
She threw up many more times that night. She would wake up and think that he was in her room, or she would remember what had happened, and she would have to go throw up because she was so upset. Her body didn’t know how to handle what had happened.
The next day, she decided to not tell her aunt what happened because she had spent the summer hearing about how great her boyfriend was and how much she loved him. She didn’t know how to tell her aunt the truth.
She told a few of her closest friends, but mostly she kept the assault to herself. She spent the last week avoiding him at all costs, but this proved quite difficult. At one point during her last week he went so far as to chastise her about her boyfriend. He even made comments about that night and told her that he carried her into the apartment like a baby. It was a personal prison for her. He was mentally and emotionally tormenting her.
A few months later during fall break of her sophomore year, she told her mom about the assault. At first, she insisted that her mom not tell her aunt because she didn’t want to hurt her, but after awhile she allowed her mom to do so. Her aunt called her to find out specifically what had happened and after hearing everything, she believed her.
After she talked to her aunt, her aunt texted her and asked for her forgiveness for both her and her boyfriend. She said that they could come visit her so that he could apologize to her in person. Of course, this was the last thing she wanted. She showed her mom the texts and her mom talked to her aunt about it. This is when her aunt completely changed her story. She claimed that the assault did not happen and that the whole thing was a lie. Her aunt even spread lies about her to the rest of her family. Her aunt wanted to invalidate her story.
A few months later, she found out that her aunt and her boyfriend got engaged. She immediately emailed her aunt to tell her how she really felt. This led to a rather heated exchange of emails between them, which ended with her deciding to no longer reply to her aunt.
Two days later, she got a text from her aunt. In the text, her aunt notified her that she and her fiancé were pressing charges due to something that was said during the exchange of emails. The text was sent to her entire family. A few days later, her aunt decided to drop it.
After all of the harassment from her aunt, she no longer considers her part of the family. Now, she is more upset at her aunt than the fiancé, because of how the aftermath of it was handled by her. She hates what he did, but she hates more that her aunt let her down.
While she is coming to peace with everything that happened with her aunt, she still has to deal with the mental, emotional and physical impact of the assault. She was once told that she was lucky that she was not raped, and while she agrees that in some ways she is lucky, she was still assaulted. She will never be able to forget what happened. She will carry it with her for the rest of her life.
Although she has been through counseling, she is still impacted by the assault. During her sophomore year, there were many times she would wake up and feel like she was drowning and gasping for air, because she would think he was in the room with her. She can also no longer wear the shoes that she wore that night, because they are a trigger.
Last spring break when she was at the airport, a man walked by that looked identical to her aunt’s fiancé. She immediately wanted to run the other direction.
Currently, it is hard for her to be alone with men. It is even difficult for her to meet one-on-one with a male professor. She always tries to make the meetings as quick as possible. Although she knows that most likely nothing will happen, her body reacts and tells her to run.
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.