Stop Blaming The Victim's, And Start Blaming The Rapist
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On February 2nd 2017, I was raped on my college campus. I won't get into the details of how it happened, but it was the worst experience of my life. At first I didn't want to report it but when I woke up the next day I knew that someone should know about what happened. The thought of this happening to me again, or happening to someone else made me sick to my stomach. With the support of my sister and my friends I filed the report. At first, my school was very supportive. They moved my room to a new building that day (so I wouldn't be in the same building as him), they brought me to my schools doctor's office, and even had a psychologist come speak with me. I felt safe, and I felt like I had a support system. I was told about the process that would take place as the investigation started, and I told them I would do everything I could to be cooperative. The first meeting with the investigators was hard for me. It was so soon after the incident and I wasn't ready to talk about it again yet; but, I knew it was the right thing to do to get the person who did this to me off campus so that I would never have to see him again. The investigators were sympathetic; and although they couldn't really tell me their opinions or feelings on the situation, I could tell they were there for me. As promised, I was cooperative and I answered all of the questions they had, even though it was hard to think about that night again. A couple days after the meeting, I decided to leave campus and go home for a week. I needed to get away from the investigation, and I needed support and love from my family. While I was home I received an email about a second meeting they wanted to have; they said that had a few follow up questions to ask. I knew that this meant they had met up with the person who did this to me, and got his side of the story. I wasn't angered by this, I understood that they were doing their job, and that everyone has the right to be "innocent before proven guilty". I decided I would go into the meeting with an open mind, and be as cooperative as I possibly could. Upon returning to campus, I had felt a lot better than I did when I left. Being with my family made me feel a lot like myself, and I felt like I was ready to start going to classes again. But Monday morning, as soon as I walked into that office I could tell something had changed; they didn't even ask me how I was doing, or how I was. They questioned me as if I was lying, as if I was the one who had done something wrong; they didn't treat me with the same respect as they had the first meeting. They questioned me about times things had occurred, even to the exact minute. I wasn't timing things, or looking at a clock that night. That night time wasn't important to me, what was important to me was getting out of the situation I was in and getting somewhere safe. Walking out of there I knew that he was going to get away with it, and it made me sick to my stomach. Two days later I received an email asking if I could meet with the vice president of the college, I knew this meant that they had made a decision; and I already knew what that decision was. Today, February 24th, I was told that the person who raped me was going to remain on campus, with no actions taken against him. The V.P. told me "there wasn't enough evidence to hold him responsible". The investigators saw the photos of my body covered in bruises. For two weeks after the incident, I was still covered in bruises; and they knew that. My chest was bruised to the point that I couldn't even wear a bra for a week, because the pain was too bad. My bottom was so badly bruised that you could see the outline of his hand prints for a week, and it was almost intolerable for me to sit on a chair. My arms and thighs were also bruised up, I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror. Can someone please explain to me how that isn't enough evidence to hold him responsible? By telling me there "wasn't enough evidence", they're pretty much trying to tell me I wasn't "raped enough", and that I wasn't worth the school losing the amount of money they get from him to attend this college. Keep in mind the same college that has posters around every corner of every building on campus about reporting sexual abuse, is the same college that is pretty much telling me I'm lying about getting raped, and letting a rapist stay on campus. Today was suppose to be the day I was finally able to eat without throwing up from anxiety, and the day I would maybe actually be able to look at myself in the mirror again; it was suppose to be the day I could walk to my classes without feeling like I couldn't breathe out of fear I would see him, and tonight was suppose to be the night that I could finally sleep through the night again. Instead, today is now the second worst day I've ever had, right along side of the day I was raped. Today I feel worthless, today I feel like I don't matter, and today I feel like I will never be able to get passed this. I said my peace to the V.P, as peaceful as I possibly could, and walked out of the office before it was over. Shortly after I received an email from the vice president, in that email she said ".....when we met, you mentioned feeling unsafe. please know that I am committed to doing what I can to make you feel safe ....... ". The same person telling me she's "committed to doing what she can to make me feel safe" is the same person who made the decision of whether he was to be expelled from the school or not. I replied and told her what she should've done was to make him leave campus, but she didn't. I ended the email by saying "no, I don't really think there is anything more that you could do to make me feel "safe" or "comfortable" because you have made me feel like I don't matter. I have never felt more unwanted, unsafe, or uncomfortable in my life." Now, I reported this to the school not because I wanted this to be a public affair, and not because I wanted everyone to know about this, but because I wanted him out of this school so that me, and every other person at this school would be safe from him. Sense it seems the school is more interested in losing money from this student for tuition, and their reputation, and less interested in mine, and every other student's safety, I decided I needed to do something myself. I'm not looking for pity, and I don't need you to feel sorry for me; but I do ask you to sign this petition. You read about it all the time, rape; but you never think it could actually happen to you. Well, it did happen to me. I never thought I would be in this position, but I hoped that if I ever was justice would be served to the person who did it. This the worst experience I've ever been through, and right now everyday is like living a nightmare for me. My hope from this is that the person responsible is actually held responsible; but I also hope that this raises awareness, and I pray that this will never happen to anyone else.
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