Op-ed submission: HAGS
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.