Sexual assault has become all too common of an issue, especially in urban university campuses. University of Minnesota student, Abby Honold, was brutally raped November 2014. Her attacker, like so many others, was let off with so little as a slap on the wrist. However, Honold kept fighting until justice was finally served a year later. Now, able to breathe again, Honold is sharing her story through newspapers, articles and even on Dr. Phil.
It was like any other tailgate party. The 19-year-old was introduced to Daniel Drill-Mellum by a mutual friend.
About 30 minutes later, he spotted Honold’s empty water bottle and told her, “We’d better get more.” Drill-Mellum motioned to his house across the street and said it would only take two minutes.
“At first, when he asked me, I didn’t want to,” she said. “It didn’t feel safe going across the street with someone I didn’t know.”
However, he was persistent and she eventually gave in. But, as they entered the house, she immediately felt alarmed. Two shot glasses filled with clear liquid were already set out on the counter.
After checking all the rooms to make sure nobody was home, Drill-Mellum tried to give her one of the shots from the counter. Honold remembers saying, “No,” and backing up against the wall, but cannot remember if she took the drink or not. The next thing she could recall was Drill-Mellum aggressively tearing off her clothing in a bedroom. He raped her twice. He laughed as she struggled, and he was visibly angry with her as she cried.
“I remember thinking I either want it to end, or I want him to kill me.”
Afterward, he continued on by asking Honold if she wanted to stay and cuddle. Honold, disgusted and hysterical, dashed out of the house and was soon convinced to call 911. She was taken away in an ambulance with two male police officers. The officers claimed that there were no female officers available, no friends were allowed in the vehicle, and when she asked if she could call her mom, the officer responded with: “No. This is pretty embarrassing for you. You can call her later.”
As the nurse began to examine Honold, she was horrified. With 50-60 lacerations and a ripped mouth, it was the one of the most violent cases of rape she had ever experienced.
The next day, Honold was deceived during a recorded phone call with two of Drill-Mellum’s fraternity brothers, which ended up freeing Drill-Mellum. The case was derailed and so was Honold’s normal life. Now, taking the rest of her classes online, she dreaded leaving her apartment and suffered from PTSD so intensely that she was ready to end her life.
However, with the help of Officer Kevin Randolph and the two other victims who came forth, Drill-Mellum finally got what he deserved, being sentenced to six years in prison.
Abby Honold was ridiculed, called crazy, and many people didn’t even believe she was raped until the moment Drill-Mellum admitted he was guilty.
Statistics show that one in five women (one in four at UW-Madison) and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.
Is this really the kind of world we want to live in: fear of wearing the wrong clothes, walking down the wrong street, or hanging out with the wrong people? In eight of out 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the attacker. With all of this being said, rape is the most underreported crime—most prominently due to fear of the assailant, feeling ashamed to confide in friends or family to know, or just believing no one can help.
Abby Honold stands as an example that these obstacles can be overcome. When these incidents are reported, they help prevent future victims from being harmed by the same person. There is help waiting. Please, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.
UW-Madison Police Department: (608) 264-2677
Madison Rape Crisis Center: (608) 251-7273
Madison Forensic Nurse Examiner Program: (608) 417- 916 (*You do not need to report to law enforcement to use this service.*)
UHS Mental Health Services: (608) 265-5600
If you are not in the Madison area, the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673) provides free and confidential support along with 24-hour text services and can connect you to a rape crisis center in your area.
A word from Abby can be found here.