Open Letter: Survivor speaks out about being raped on campus

In February of this year I was raped by a man on campus. He didn’t go to this school, I had met him that night — but it happened in the apartment-style dorms on campus.

I wanted to talk to someone on campus, but I didn’t know who to talk to when I was already having a hard enough time telling myself it happened.

The health center seemed like a good first stop, my main worry was if he had transferred something to me other than an excruciating weight.

So I made an appointment to take an STD test, but that is one of the things at the health center that you have to pay for. I wasn’t eligible for coverage by the center, I knew I wasn’t but they insisted that I fill out the form to see if I could be covered. I sat in an office and saw all the books about psychology and trauma, and wondered if she could tell what had happened. But I kept a guard up, I didn’t actually reach out — my anxiety pulled on me.

I felt so nervous while I was waiting in that office, and when I was eventually pulled into another room they told me what I figured — I would have to pay out of pocket.

The fee was a lot, and I decided to not take it. I left frustrated, near tears.

I remember getting back to my room and just sitting in the dark, at that point I had already cleaned everything, no evidence could be procured. Honestly, the only thing I cared about was taking care of myself, not charging anyone with anything.

I am a Kaiser Permanente member, so I called them to make an appointment, and when the woman helping me set one up asked what it was for, I told her what had happened.

She was kind, and with her suggestion I went to the emergency room.

I think there was that really bad flu going around at that time, wasn’t really excited about being there then.

So I was waiting in line and the security guard came up to me to make sure I was in the right place, again since there was that bad flu going around.

I told him “Uh, yeah, uhm, I was … raped?”

It felt so awkward, him being the first male I had told.

He seemed awkward too, he said, “Oh! yeah, uh, you’re in the right place. I’ll tell them you’re here.”

So every doctor that interacted with me knew, and they were kind, especially during a stressful flu season.

As you can tell I’ve forgotten all about the flu and I am just like “Damn, that really all happened this year.”

I waited on a cot for an available room, it felt weird being the girl sitting in chaos who seems fairly normal.

I was given some water and a cup to pee in, and I was so nervous that when I did have to go pee I completely forgot about the cup.

I just realized this part isn’t important, I’m gonna cut to campus involvement again.

So the nurses informed me that they were required by law to inform the police about it, and since it happened on campus it had to be the campus police. Mind you, I lived right next to the campus police station, and we walked by that place twice during the night of the rape.

So they had to make a report, and I had to recount it.

The two officers that spoke to me were very patient with me, and after I recounted the whole incident they told me about the resources on campus to deal with the aftermath of a rape. The male officer, I forget his name — but he offered me free enrollment with his self-defense class against sexual assault. I appreciated the offer, and in my mind thought that maybe it’d be good to go, but in the coming weeks I did not feel the energy to do anything like that. I just wanted to sleep.

They also spoke of a woman who acts as a liaison between campus faculty members and sexual assault victims. And although I appreciated all of these resources, I just did not feel comfortable seeking them out right after everything happened;I wanted my life to just go back to normal.

They also spoke of group therapy and solo therapy on campus, and when I tried to seek that out it was nearly impossible to get an appointment.

I actually didn’t get any useful help considering the pain I was going through, and I ended up having to be my own self-advocate through hard work and vague explanations when I fell short on my responsibilities.

They told me that considering my description and account of the incident, the lack of identification of the man, and no real evidence (since I cleaned) besides us interacting at a bar and the Uber driver’s account of the man it wasn’t likely that he would be identified or prosecuted.

This added an extra weight knowing that due to my lack of evidence, he could still be roaming the streets finding more victims.

To this day, I don’t know who it was, and I don’t think I’ll ever have any closure around his fate. But I did seek out help through Kaiser Permanente and have recently begun therapy to help heal from the post-traumatic stress disorder of the event. The worst part I’d say about the aftermath, was that for the rest of the semester I had to sleep on the bed and in the room I had been raped on/in.

I remember how numb I felt when I got the campuswide email about it — at the same time the part of me that hangs on to humor as a defense mechanism was jokingly saying to myself, “Hey look, that’s me.”

I was in the Gastronome when it got sent out, and I couldn’t eat after I got it.

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