Op-ed submission: HAGS

Katy Hutson | Class of 2020

Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, I sat alone in my dorm room drinking green apple vodka, eating Bear’s Den pizza and staring dejectedly at Michael Scott, begging him to make me smile. Three days later I was doing the same thing, sans alcohol with the addition of some bruises and emotional scarring. Friday night a boy raped me. And it fooking sucked.

I went to a dorm party Friday after having a rough day and blacked out around midnight. I woke up next to a monster with a bloody vagina, bruises encircling my neck and a stone deep within my stomach that’s been there ever since. At first, all I could feel was fear. Then disgust. Mostly with myself. I wasn’t a virgin anymore. Eventually I felt nothing. I walked around a friend’s apartment like a zombie. I didn’t sleep, or eat, or turn off the lights. My eyes stayed wide, as everything I could remember played on loop within my mind. I went to the hospital on Sunday and had a rape kit done. Monday I reported to Jessica Kennedy, the Title IX coordinator. All I wanted to do was kill myself. Reporting was what I decided to do instead.

When I met with Jessica, she was receptive, she listened, she stayed unbiased, like her job calls her to. She said one thing though that I’ll never forget. When discussing the logistics of my case, as I was filing days before winter break began, Jessica suggested we not officially start the process till spring so that he (my rapist) could “enjoy his winter break.” I ended up agreeing, as I wasn’t comfortable being interviewed over Skype. While he “enjoyed his winter break,” my mother forced me to explain the hospital wristband she found in my jacket. While he “enjoyed his winter break,” my parents cried as they learned what happened to their baby girl. While he was “enjoying his winter break,” I was having panic attacks, unable to sleep, unable to eat and replaying my mother’s words in my head, “Were you drinking?” Because it had to be my fault, right? I did not enjoy my winter break.

Another thing Jessica asked me in that first initial meeting was if I had talked to him since he raped me. Because, you know, that was first on my list of things to do. She was wondering because sometimes individuals will admit to having relations over text and that can help with the investigation. So, halfway through winter break, I messaged my rapist asking him what happened. I’d already taken Plan B. I knew I wouldn’t get pregnant, but the small tortured part of me just had to know, and a bigger part of me wanted to gather every shred of evidence I could. He responded, admitting to the relations, and I sent his response to Jessica. In his response, he gave a half-assed apology, admitting no guilt. Jessica responded to my email by asking if I still wanted to report. Yes Jessica, his measly GroupMe direct message, “sorry,” in which he took zero responsibility for his actions really made up for him RAPING ME. I sent you that email with the fooking subject line as “Katy Hutson” because I changed my mind about the whole reporting thing. Needless to say, that was the last time I contacted Jessica Kennedy.

I came back to campus to discover housing accommodations hadn’t been made as promised, and I was still living three doors down from my rapist. Then, I was interviewed. The interviewer rescheduled three times and accidentally texted my mom instead of me. Whereas I was told to find a time to be interviewed within two days, my rapist was given an entire month. Seeing a pattern yet? It’s May 4, and I have yet to receive an initial report. The Board of General Education’s standard for how long these cases should take is 60 days. It’s been 137 days from the time I first came to Jessica, and I’m not even halfway through the process. I’m expected to come in over the summer for the hearing, and there’s a good chance it’ll leak into the fall of my sophomore year.

No wonder our campus is filled with sexual assault prevention programs. Because our school either can’t or won’t hear victims who come forward. They’ll give shoddy accommodations, but a fair and speedy chance at justice? I’d trust the cops on this one. Have a great summer, Wash. U.; I know I won’t.

 

Editor’s note: This op-ed submission has been adjusted to reflect that the authors’ wording was “I sent you that email with the fooking subject line as “’Katy Hutson,’” rather than “I sent you that email with the fooking subject line as “’evidence,’” as initially published.

 

  • Tripper

    Why were you drinking vodka, alone, in your room? Do you accept no responsibility for yourself?

  • Grisha357

    Katy – Depending on the Statute of Limitations in Missouri you may still be able to report the rape to the police. I know it will be hard to start over with answering questions, but I fear with the University’s attitude, if the attacker is found “guilty” in the administrative process he will get a slap on the wrist and feel free to continue to assault women. One of the problems with late reported rapes is that the physical evidence is gone. In your case the hospital did a rape kit which hopefully included photos. This and the records of your shortly-after-the fact interviews with the university may be subpoenaed and admissable in court. I’m so sorry this happened to you. May God give you courage and peace.

  • Cindy Sacks

    Wait until Spring so the alleged rapist can enjoy his Winter break???!!!!! Un-fooking-believable. And, from another woman!!! Jessica Kennedy should be completely ashamed of herself. She is clearly not the right person for that job. I hope she no longer has it.

  • lolsafetrek

    It’s ok though! They bought that crappy SafeTrek mobile app to make us all safe again! (#lol jk. they’re just trying to reduce their liability)

  • Todd Wilhelm

    That Title IX coordinator needs to be fired and the whole department needs a shake-up. The monster who raped you should be in prison, not an institution of higher learning. Thanks for sharing your story Katy. You are a brave woman. I am sorry you were raped and I am sorry you then have had to deal with insensitive and incompetent bureaucrats.

  • Allison

    Katy you are so brave for telling your story. I am appalled to hear how the university has handled this – it is completely unacceptable. I believe you, and none of this is your fault. Stay strong, there are many of us out there supporting you.

  • louisianacougar

    Yes, this is outrageous. It totally sickens me that my “sisters” are being treated so shabbily by this university — allegedly an elite academic institution that has failed in its moral obligation — not only to this woman but to the sniveling piss-ant who raped her. Shame on him and on all guys who would force themselves on a woman or take advantage of a woman who is vulnerable. And shame on Washington University and their poor excuse for an administrator/staff member who mishandled this event so atrociously. By the university’s fail to do its job, it is a knowing participant in the creation of a culture that is abhorrent.

  • Melissa

    I’m so sorry that you have experienced this, Katy, and appalled at the school’s response. Thank you for speaking out.

    It sounds like the school may be in violation of Title IX, and you may want to look into legal options if you are so inclined. For resources (including advice on how to find a lawyer, possibly pro bono), check out Know Your IX, https://www.knowyourix.org/.

  • Hillary

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Katy – I believe you and support you. You are incredibly brave – stay strong!

  • aakman

    This was handled absolutely horribly by the school. Failing to close a title IX case in under 60 days is a civl rights violation. I just called the office of the chancellor (Phone: 1 314 935-5100, Email: [email protected] – everybody reading should do the same) and asked if they knew about the article and if something was being done. They were aware of the article and I was told that their legal council would return my call. I asked the person in the office of the chancellor fielding my call if they had read the article and they said they haven’t. Speaks volumes about the administration of the school that the chancellor’s office has directed lawyers to handle taking care of this but they haven’t taken the time to care enough to read the article themselves.

    Katy thank you so much for sharing. I hope this gets handled by the school as quickly as possible and that the school never fails anyone else like they failed you.

  • LB

    Katy – I am so sorry you’ve had to go through this. I was the victim of an attempted sexual assault when I was a freshman at Wash U (the first week) and never had the courage to report it. It’s sickening to know this is how I would have been treated if I had. I’m in my 30s now and just found the strength to start telling people and write down my story. Hearing your story tells me it’s time for me to reach out to Wash U and tell them how despicable it is that they would treat a sexual assault victim in this way.

  • Val Ryland

    What exactly do you expect the title IX coordinator to do? Even if an investigation is carried out (and universities are *terrible* at investigating and adjudicating sexual assault cases), the worst that can happen is for him to be expelled. You should’ve contacted the police, not put your faith in the campus kangaroo courts.

    • Katie Thorpe Blaha

      …Are you seriously talking that way to a rape survivor?

      Because actual police investigations and court proceedings are an unambiguously kind, breezy, and successful process for rape survivors of course. That’s clearly the perfect solution.

      What would be appropriate here would be for university officials to recognize the necessity of supporting rape survivors in pursuing legal action should they chose to. Instead, they’ve unforgivably stymied the justice process.

      Keep your outrage for the paid administrators who have totally blown it for this student and try practicing some compassion for people who are victims of devastating crimes.

      • Val Ryland

        “…Are you seriously talking that way to a rape survivor?”

        Don’t tone-police me. Sometimes, things need to be said that won’t necessarily be pleasant to hear. This is one of those times. It’s in the best interest of the victim in question to look for the competent authorities, and those are *not* the Title IX kangaroo courts.

      • Val Ryland

        Don’t tone-police me. Sometimes, things need to be said that won’t necessarily be pleasant to hear. This is one of those times. It’s in the best interest of the victim in question to look for the competent authorities, and those are *not* the Title IX kangaroo courts.

      • Tripper

        we don’t know that she got “raped”. She could have consented in her wasted state.

    • Hillary

      She was a traumatized, vulnerable student who trusted her university to do the right thing and support her. The police and courts are also *terrible* at investigating and prosecuting rape cases, just look at the Brock Turner case. Instead of criticizing her why don’t you turn your criticism on the institution that failed her?

      • Val Ryland

        “She was a traumatized, vulnerable student who trusted her university to do the right thing”

        The university is legally incapable of “doing the right thing”. The most they can do is expel the accused student, which, if he’s guilty, is a slap on the wrist. She should’ve gone to the police.

        “The police and courts are also *terrible* at investigating and prosecuting rape cases”

        That’s a meme, not a fact. Rape cases are notoriously difficulty to prosecute because of the difficulty in obtaining reliable evidence. Universities are not suddenly immune to this difficulty: the most they can do is set up extremely low standards that won’t be consistently enforced anyway (see for example the case of Emma Sulkowicz at Columbia). Title IX boards are bad for everyone involved.

        The police and the courts on the other hand are at least trained to deal with this sort of case, and if sufficient evidence for a guilty verdict is found, the only reasonable punishment is available.

      • Val Ryland

        “She was a traumatized, vulnerable student who trusted her university to do the right thing”

        The university is legally incapable of “doing the right thing”. The most they can do is expel the accused student, which, if he’s guilty, is a slap on the wrist. She should’ve gone to the police.

        “The police and courts are also *terrible* at investigating and prosecuting rape cases”

        That’s a meme, not a fact. Rape cases are notoriously difficulty to prosecute because of the difficulty in obtaining reliable evidence. Universities are not suddenly immune to this difficulty: the most they can do is set up extremely low standards that won’t be consistently enforced anyway (see for example the case of Emma Sulkowicz at Columbia). Title IX boards are bad for everyone involved.

        The police and the courts on the other hand are at least trained to deal with this sort of case, and if sufficient evidence for a guilty verdict is found, the only reasonable punishment is available.

    • Concerned Alum

      Do not blame Katy here or further victimize her. She is a victim of a violent assault. She reported it to authorities who are in place to protect students like Katy. She did nothing wrong.

      • Val Ryland

        Nobody’s “blaming” anybody, nor am I “victimizing” anybody. What I stated is a fact: Title IX boards suck for everyone involved. Want something serious to be done, go the police.

      • Val Ryland

        “Do not blame Katy here ”

        Concerned Alum, I am not “blaming” anybody. Stop trying to censor a necessary conversation with this irrelevant moral posturing. I am stating a fact: universities are not equipped to adjudicate sexual assault cases. They err, and err badly, either in not taking accusations seriously enough, or in not allowing adequate defense to the accused. The proper place for such cases to be adjudicated are the legal courts, where proper standards of evidence will be maintained and adequate punishments will be dealt.

        “She reported it to authorities who are in place to protect students like Katy.”

        The only authority that is actually competent in that capacity is the legal system. It’s as simple as that.

        “She did nothing wrong.”

        There’s a difference between doing something “wrong” because it wasn’t the best option to attain one’s objectives, and doing something morally wrong. OP made a mistake of the first type, not the latter. Don’t try to conflate them.

      • Val Ryland

        “Do not blame Katy here ”

        Concerned Alum, I am not “blaming” anybody. Stop trying to censor a necessary conversation with this irrelevant moral posturing. I am stating a fact: universities are not equipped to adjudicate sexual assault cases. They err, and err badly, either in not taking accusations seriously enough, or in not allowing adequate defense to the accused. The proper place for such cases to be adjudicated are the legal courts, where proper standards of evidence will be maintained and adequate punishments will be dealt.

        “She reported it to authorities who are in place to protect students like Katy.”

        The only authority that is actually competent in that capacity is the legal system. It’s as simple as that.

        “She did nothing wrong.”

        There’s a difference between doing something “wrong” because it wasn’t the best option to attain one’s objectives, and doing something morally wrong. OP made a mistake of the first type, not the latter. Don’t try to conflate them.

  • JoelK

    This is disgusting. Why was this not reported to the police? Is this not a crime? Why does WashU think this is some sort of minor infraction? Thank you for telling your story. The world needs to hear this.

  • RamBam

    I’ve sent a number of children and the commensurate tuition, the better part of a million dollars, to Wash U. As a parent, I can promise that I will never send another cent in response to the incessant requests for donations until this issue is addressed.

    The University is quite interested in making a name for itself, becoming the major research center in the nation, having the highest grad school and med school acceptance rates, and so on. That’s all well and good, but somewhere along the line, it has lost track of the health and well-being of the students. I don’t believe in the coddling of snowflakes, so prevalent on college campuses today, but here we have a true crime, and let us not mince words, rape is a crime. If the situation is as portrayed by Ms. Hutson, Washington University failed her miserably. Please tell us…was the accused rapist the son of Big Donors? Was he on some athletic team? Was there some reason for him to be shielded from the consequences of his actions? Is there some reason we should not believe in the veracity of Ms. Hutson’s very courageous rendition of the facts?

    Again and again, we hear the “rape” culture decried. Consensual sex that leads to regret the next day has ended the college career of quite a few young men. I find it almost amusing that Wash U, in the person of “Jessica” has decided to go back to the primitive blaming (and shaming) of someone who truly appears to be the victim. Only the two kids involved know the truth of what happened, but for the University to be so very clearly biased on either side is shameful beyond anything I’ve ever known to happen on that beautiful campus.

    To reiterate my initial statement…not one more cent to Wash U until this situation is clarified.

    • JoelK

      Amen. Thank you for saying what I was thinking. This needs to be addressed!

    • upclose

      “Consensual sex that leads to regret the next day has ended the college career of quite a few young men”… really? REALLY?

      • Val Ryland

        Yes, really.

      • RamBam

        Really.

    • Tripper

      We haven’t heard the other side of the story. This may be just another false accusation.

  • Tommie Schneider

    Im an alumni and Im outraged by this!! This is unacceptable. I am so so sorry Katy, you are very brave for telling your story!

  • courthero

    I am so sorry to hear about your assault and disgusted by the University’s response. But this demonstrates once again that sexual assault, even when it occurs on campus, is a crime and should be treated as such. Colleges and universities will respond to the problem only when they realize that the matter is not in their hands — it’s in the hands of the police.