Letter to the Editor Fall 2017

Dear Reader,

It’s been months, but I still have nightmares and flashbacks.

Last semester, I was raped by someone I thought was my friend someone I trusted with my whole mind and heart. 

In an article by the Daily Titan, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, it is stated that 80% of victims do not pursue any legal action against their rapist, and I am part of that 80%. 

Sexual assault seems to have become the norm among college students, and is often swept under the rug. Rapists are usually not held accountable by those around them, and victims are left to deal with trauma long after the assault. 

The feeling of having someone forcibly take down my pants and my underwear without my consent is something I’ll never forget. The feeling of being violated in my own bed, so scared out of my mind that I couldn’t stop it or even move, is something I will forever blame myself for. 

In the moment, I tried to shut it out and wait for it to be over. I remember waking up the next day crying because I knew what had happened, but I couldn’t admit it to myself. I was in denial, and I tried to tell myself he had just touched me. I knew that that was wrong, but in my mind it felt better than the word rape. 

After a person is raped, there is a timeframe for physical evidence to be collected. When I found this out, my window to do this was going to close in three hours. So, I decided to get a rape kit in case I wanted to press charges one day.

In order for me to get a rape kit, an exam that collects DNA evidence after a sexual assault, my case had to be reported to the police department. It was done anonymously, and as of right now, I don’t plan on pursuing any legal action. I was intoxicated when it happened, and I believe that I wouldn’t have a high chance of a just outcome. I also don’t want to risk my parents finding out. 

During the exam the nurses were very helpful and kind. They explained everything step-by-step. But having to state aloud everything that happened to the examiner broke me. I knew that the nurse had to collect any evidence in and on my body, but the feeling of having to be violated again just to show that I was raped made me furious. 

My naked body had to be examined and parts had to be dyed just so scars and tearing could be photographed better. While I understand it’s a medical procedure, it was humiliating. 

I also got STD prevention medication and a morning after pill, which can lower a person’s chance of getting pregnant after having unprotected sex by as much as 89%. The combination of these medicines made me nauseous and unable to keep any food or liquid in my system for a few days.

After getting the rape kit exam, people I knew asked if the results “confirmed that I was raped.” People told me that if I had just told him to stop he would’ve. The ignorance of these statements is what angered me the most. If I could’ve moved, I would have. If I could’ve said something, I would have. 

Recovery has been hard. Some days I feel OK,and other days I just want to stay in bed, cry and sleep all day. I avoid talking about what happened to me aloud because I don’t want to relive it. Pursuing anything even remotely romantic or sexual is not something I want right now. I’m emotionally closed off to the dating world, and I plan on staying that way for a while.

I don’t wish rape upon anyone. No one deserves to feel worthless in their own skin or to feel violated. I’ve been struggling to get back to my normal life, but I don’t expect pity or sympathy for what happened to me because I know I’ll be okay. 

I truly do want my rapist and every other rapist out there to be held legally accountable for their actions, but I also want others to understand that pursuing legal action isn’t as simple as it seems.

Signed,

A survivor

 

 

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