May 7th, 2013. A day that will forever stick in my mind as the worst day of my life.
I was a junior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I had completed my last final of junior year and was excited to see what senior year had to offer. These were supposed to be the best years of my life, right?
I had been bicurious for awhile, but didn’t know how to explore my sexuality with other women. I had met a woman on Craigslist and was excited by the opportunity to experiment with her. We arranged for me to come over that night. I brought a six pack. Rolling Rock. Not exactly a cocktail for getting wasted, but enough to settle my nerves.
When I arrived at her townhouse, there was a man there with her, which was fine. I figured that he would leave before we started becoming intimate. But they had a bottle of Grey Goose and wanted to take shots. So I agreed. They wanted to play truth or dare. So I agreed. I ended up kissing both of them, but was not interested in the man.
Finally, she pulled me aside and asked me if I wanted him to leave. I said yes. I just wanted it to be me and her. So we said our goodbyes and he left. Or so I thought.
We went into her bedroom and started getting intimate. All of a sudden, I feel someone touching me from behind and I was scared. I turned around and the man was standing over me. We both asked him to leave again and he did. And we continued. Things progressed from there with her and I and I was actually enjoying myself. I was drunk, but coherent.
Again, I catch something out of the corner of my eye and I see him on the ground next to the bed, stroking his penis. I asked him to leave again, more adamantly this time. He got up and left the room. I figured we were through with it. I was concerned, but I was having such a good time with her, that I didn’t think anything of it.
We continued. Then, once again, I feel something behind me. This time it’s not just a hand. It’s a penis entering my vagina. I said no. Moved away. He continued. I said no and moved away again. He continued, this time he shoved it into my anus and I screamed. That seemed to deter him enough that he went back to my vagina.
I said no again. But he was bigger than me. He was African American, probably over 200 pounds. I gave up. It hurt because he had a big penis but there was nothing I could do. I ended up blacking out.
My next memory is being pulled over by the police. I had left. Told them I was going to get cigarettes so that I could get out of there. But I had gotten lost because I was unfamiliar with the Savoy area. I ended up driving the wrong way down the highway at two in the morning.
I was arrested and put in the back of a police car. I didn’t tell them what had happened. I was ashamed. I blamed myself because I had gone over there. I had drank too much. I thought it was my fault that he didn’t listen when I said no. I thought that I didn’t do enough. I was hysterical. I started banging my head on the back window bars, screaming about how I wanted to die. The police officer told me to stop. I didn’t.
I continued smashing my forehead into the metal until I had a gaping wound on my forehead with blood running down my cheeks. He pulled over and threw me out of the car, on the ground and got on top of me. I was angry and I was scared. I reached around with my neck and tried to bite him, to get him off of me.
He pushed my face into the ground. That incident resulted in a charge for assaulting a police officer, which ended up being dropped later. We had to go to the hospital. I needed stitches. I didn’t want the doctors and nurses to touch me. I was covered in my own blood. Still, I said nothing about what had happened only a couple hours before.
They stitched up my forehead. Eleven stitches. Then we were on our way back to the police station, where I continued to be difficult, ornery, and resistant. I was put on suicide watch, considering what had happened in the police car. I had the opportunity to wear a fancy burlap sack and that was it. I called my parents. I called my friends. I was sobbing. I was hysterical. My parents left Chicago to come and pick me up.
I calmed down enough to nap for a couple hours. That nap also helped me sober up. Now, instead of being angry and confrontational, I was scared and quiet. The police officers were very nice to me. They seemed to have an idea that I wasn’t the type of girl to be in a situation like this one.
I got my phone back after they released me. I avoided texts from the girl from the night before for several weeks. Finally, I responded, “What’s his last name?” She replied, questioningly. I explained, “Your friend raped me. I want to press charges.” She gave me his last name, but she denied it. She said that I liked it. She said that it was consensual. She stopped responding to my texts.
Weeks after filing with the police, the station received a letter saying they were refusing to cooperate, were admitting nothing, and would go to trial if they needed to. I gave up. I had no solid proof. I had erratically deleted the text messages from that night, in a sad attempt to forget what happened. I was already dealing with the court system for the DUI and I was exhausted.
For the next 8 months, we tried to fight my conviction. My parents hired an expensive lawyer. We attempted to explain that I had been sexually assaulted just hours before I was driving and I was distressed and scared. The judge showed no remorse. No understanding.
At the end of those 8 months, I was sentenced to 2 years of probation and drug testing, hundreds of dollars in fines, a one year revocation of my license, and one hundred hours of community service.
The statement I made against my attacker never went anywhere. I was severely punished for my mistake, which I understand now was a mistake and I should have been punished for it. He received no punishment. He did not admit to his actions. Nothing ever came of it.
So you can imagine, when I hear about Brock Turner’s story, I am angry– furious actually. His victim actually did what is suggested. She put herself through hell. She was harassed by the defense attorney. She read her letter to her attacker. The jury determined that he was guilty. And then, a six month sentence? It’s a slap in the face.
So I stand with her. I am a victim of sexual assault. We need to speak up and make it known just how many men and women are sexually assaulted during their lifetimes. Action needs to be taken. It is time for things to change when it comes to sexual assault victims. It’s time for us to step up.
— Survivor, age 24