The Indiana Daily Student’s investigations team has been reporting on campus sexual assault and how IU handles alleged harassment, assault and rape cases this semester. It’s difficult work, but last week was particularly jarring.
The release of tapes of Donald Trump speaking lewdly about his actions with women illuminated a nationwide fragmentation between people who defend so-called locker-room talk and those who vilify it.
After one woman tweeted her first experience of assault at age 12 with the hashtag #notokay, thousands followed and contributed to an internet phenomenon: a communal unburdening. People came forward because others had. Some discussed their assaults for the very first time.
Reading through the tweets reminded the IDS that sexual violence is objectively not OK, and though we are journalists, we are students, too. Our own experiences are part of the very framework of rape culture on which we’ve been reporting on.
In the hour before the second presidential debate, we tweeted our own stories in hopes of encouraging others to share theirs. I prepared for an empty inbox. Instead the emails, texts and phone calls flooded in. It’s been one week, and we’ve had more than 20 responses. Most came from current or former IU students. Many stories happened on a college campus.
We’ve been humbled by your trust and amazed at the totality and ubiquity of the experiences. To say your bravery has better informed our understanding of the issue would be an understatement. We hope that by sharing a few of your stories in our paper today and descriptions of our ongoing investigations stories, you too will have a greater understanding of sexual violence, and perhaps you will consider coming forward with your story.
Hannah Alani, investigations editor
I told him no. He held me down and came inside me. I told him no.
I took a very drunk friend home so he wouldn’t drive. While in his house, he kisses me, and I told him I needed to go.
As I turned the corner, he slammed me up against the wall, stuck his hand up my dress and grabbed my crotch. The look in his eyes was cold and evil. He did not see me as a person at all.
In my young adulthood, I met a handsome and successful professional. He was 10 years older, and I was very naïve. He and I drank some wine, and we started to become intimate.
I consented to vaginal intercourse but not anal. He did it anyway and told me to just relax. Then he quickly took a shower and kicked me out of his apartment.
I was too intoxicated to drive, but did it anyway. I was in shock over what had just happened. I was scared to go to the police because I was tipsy, and I had consented to some sex. I knew it would not be a case that I would win. For days I bled, trying to rationalize and make myself believe it did not happen. It happened though.
Went in bed to “cuddle,” he did more than cuddle with me even when I said no.
I had separated and filed for divorce. I had a restraining order against my estranged husband. He kept showing up at my job. I would call the police, and he would leave before they arrived.
One night he showed up at my job when I was alone. He forced me into a back room and raped – it’s hard to even type that word – me. I called the police after he left. A few weeks later they arrested him.
When I went to do a deposition, his attorney started by naming every boyfriend that I had ever had and insinuating that somehow I deserved it.
I told him that I was pushing him away. He started getting angry and told me I needed to live in the moment, that I “didn’t have to do anything,” I just had to “lay down.”
He continued to force his hands in my pants and under my shirt. In the morning, he texted me “my b.”
I was sexually assaulted as an IU grad student, but not on the IU campus ... When I returned to Indiana, I sought an STI test from the Health Center about two weeks after I was subjected to my assailant’s unprotected penis and bodily fluids.
After the physician examined my genitals and took specimens to put in vials, I had to walk to the Health Center’s lab from my exam room with a clear plastic bag of my bodily fluids. I would have really appreciated a paper bag to avoid the weird looks I had to ignore while walking through the busy health center.
One thing led to another and started kissing, which I was OK with it. He kept moving on and trying to do more. I repeatedly asked him to stop.
He then pulled down my pants, pull down his pants, put one hand on my throat and one hand over my mouth and proceeded to rape me ... I kept trying to get away and it wasn’t until my dog jumped up on the bed and peed on him was I able to escape.
My sophomore year of college, I went on a date with a guy. I did everything right, I thought ... all public places ... dinner, a movie, and then a trip to a library to talk. He raped me in a conference room of the library.
He said I “owed” him because he bought me dinner, and I led him on because I kissed him.