I Was Sexually Harassed in My Dorm's Common Room

Note: the author would like to remain anonymous as this is an unreported case. 

So we all have heard of sexual harassment happening on campuses, but has anyone actually expected it to happen to them? No. No one wakes up saying, “Oh, maybe I will be sexually harassed today.” Being a girl with three older brothers and primarily guy friends, I developed some pretty thick skin over the years. I can handle most anything thrown in my way from jokes to stares. But I have never actually been in a position where someone hasn’t taken no for an answer...not at a frat party, bonfire or work. Don’t get me wrong, I flirt sometimes and I get flirted with but it’s mostly just friendly...at least on my part. There’s no shame in flirting a little to get what you want. But I know my limits, especially since I am in a four-year long relationship. So, I have never had someone not take no for answer...until last week.

Last week I was in my dorm. I was in a safe place, my home away from home. All I wanted to do was study, so I set up shop in the common room. It was around 12:30 a.m. when all my roommates were asleep and I was just trying to finish up a project that I had procrastinated on. That’s when he said hi to me. He smiled and waved from across the room. He looked friendly - harmless really. His eyes were soft and blue from afar and his voice was inviting and he asked if I wanted to take a study break and play a round of pool really quickly with him. I said sure, because I thought that he could be our next guy friend to join our group since I’ve seen him around. I thought he just wanted to have a conversation. But I was wrong; he wanted more.

During the round of pool, I was trying to be my happy, energetic self despite the time of day. Throughout the game, he had made a couple of comments about how I looked and I caught glimpses of him checking me out while I was shooting my shot. I let them slide because I wasn’t sure if it was just in my head or not. He asked a lot of questions and seemed really interested about my past and my future and to be honest, I saw the potential of a really good guy friend in him. He smiled a crooked and confident smile and he laughed at everything I said. He made me feel like he was genuinely interested in me.

But that’s when it took a turn. After the game, I turned around and he had shuffled his way right in front of me. He made intense eye contact with me and in that moment, his eyes went from being soft and blue to nothing but intimidating and focused. He came closer and I froze, not expecting what he was going to do next. He started to speak, saying that he had fun and that I should come back to his room so we could “hook up” and “do stuff like Netflix and chill.” He made it a point to say “if I wanted,” however I knew that there wasn’t much room for an actual choice.

Before I could even reply, he got even closer, hooked his arm around my waist, pulled me in and leaned towards me for a kiss. With his lips half an inch away from mine, my mind went into an overdrive by instinct and I made a Matrix move where I leaned back as far as I could, almost unnaturally. I pushed him away from me as best I could. My eyes were wide and I became speechless. Yet somehow, I was able to say, “Ummm no no noooooo, I have a boyfriend!” I had noticed that no one else was in the common room by this time. With every step I took backwards, he stepped two more in my direction. Again, he was in my face, telling me that no one had to know, it could just be our thing. We could go back to my room or his room, it didn’t matter. “No one is in the common room so this works too, if you want…” I again rejected his offer, saying that I’m loyal to my boyfriend and I’m proud of that and that I really didn’t want to do anything with him. I told him not to touch me. Yet, he locked eyes with me once more and stuck his hand out to reach for my face. He took the glasses off of my nose and swept his hand across my cheek, moving the hair in front of my eyes behind my ear and then whispered, “You look really good tonight,” as if that was going to change my mind or as if we were in a bad soap opera. Again I stepped backwards and said no. But he still didn’t stop!

He asked for my number and I said no. He asked me to come back to his room just to hangout and I said no. I wasn’t sure how far I could reject him before he possibly became physical, so I played it cool. Then he asked if he could at least sit next to me while I finished my project for the rest of the night which I thought was odd but I said yes as long as he didn’t touch me and was respectful of my boundaries. He agreed and literally sat right next to me. It was the most uncomfortable thing. I felt like I was sitting next to Dahmer himself. Eventually my suite mate walked in because she was having boy problems of her own. She literally saved me.

When I finally got up to leave, I left in such a hurry that I left my purse there and some other school things and I didn’t even realize it because I was so flustered. When I got back to the room, I woke up my roommates and told them what had just happened and, against their advice, I decided not to report it. It hadn’t gone far enough for me to report it personally, but I think that’s just because I would’ve probably beaten him up myself since my brothers had taught me well. I have very thick skin and three brothers with a vendetta out against him, but I can see how others would report it. The most surprising thing about this whole encounter is that it was in my dorm common room. Not a drunken, hazy frat party or a club, it was literally in my home. He even had the balls to try and talk to me since then, which blows my mind because it points to the fact that he has no idea what he did and that it wasn’t a problem to him.

If this happens to you, just know that it isn’t your fault. I did nothing at all to allude that I wanted anything to do with hooking up with him or having any kind of sexual relationship, and even bluntly said no to his many offers. But somehow, some guys still just don’t get it. So don’t feel alone in these situations, and know that there’s ways to handle it. I decided to let it go and have my brothers watch out for me next time, but reporting it was also a valid option. I have never had someone not take no for an answer until last week...but that will be the last time.