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viewpoint

To my rapist

| Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Editor’s note: Per our Viewpoint policy, The Observer does not typically accept anonymous submissions. An exception was made in this case, owing to an ongoing University investigation and the importance of the Letter’s content to the campus conversation surrounding sexual assault.

Why?

As the one who was sexually assaulted in the recent case in Keough, I never realized how important speaking out was. I thought that awareness was everywhere already, particularly here, so I didn’t really care. Now, I get it. I’m the second reported case just this year. And who knows how many others have fallen victim to this crime this year that may not have reported.

This rape has changed my life forever. And I feel that even though this case has gotten a lot of attention (thank you to the entire community for being a fantastic support network — you’ve helped me to bear this more than you know), it needs to be understood how this not only personally affects me, but the entire community.

I am one of the community members; and even though not many people may know that I am the victim in this case, it still affects them. I am a classmate, a friend and even family to some in this community. This is personal.

Along with me, you — my attacker — are a member of the community. To others, you are also a friend, a classmate or just someone that hangs around campus. You are sitting next to people in your classes. Little do they know, they’re sitting next to someone who has truly harmed another in their community.

As for personal effects, I am almost certain that this has affected me more than it has you so far. I have visited the local hospitals three times thus far; how many times have you had to go and get seven vials of blood drawn, a painful shot in the hip, a very unwanted bodily inspection, take nine pills and — to top it off — have pictures of your entire naked body taken as evidence? There were bruises found all over that I had no knowledge of.

How many classes have you had to drop because of this? I have already dropped a class and, though I was once a dean’s list student hoping to get a 4.0 this semester, I now question if I can even pass and move on to the next grade level.

How many clubs have you quit? I had to quit my favorite club this semester. It was my biggest passion. It was my place to be free and happy. Now it has no part in my life.

Lastly, how many people have you been looking for approval from? Where I was once a confident person, never really caring to look for the approval of men, I now seek to find a guy who won’t see me as an object. I was never skeptical of any men before. But now, I just want to find the approval of someone that I, in hindsight, don’t need the approval of. My love for myself has somewhat dissipated. Now I feel a need to find someone who doesn’t see me as a one-night object. I’ve always thought the people in Keough were very nice, but now I feel scared to hear that anyone is from there.

I wish I could escape this crime scene that is my body. No matter where I go, I am still in the crime scene. It follows me everywhere. But I picked myself up and realized that I am okay, and I am enough. And for that lesson, I almost want to thank you.

This case has only been going on for six weeks, but I’ve grown up pretty quickly in this time period. And though it may take longer for you, I truly hope that you grow up as well. That maybe, one day you will see a drunk girl being taken away by a guy your age and you’ll say, “Dude, that’s not cool. She can’t figure out what’s going on,” much like I couldn’t during that night between Aug. 26 and 27.

I wish you well.

As for those who are going through similar situations, I am here. I am always here. As someone who has gone through this, I will do more to make this community a better place. I will do this for you and anyone else who has to go through this. I will never forget to always help those in need even when they are unknown to me, just as the Notre Dame community has supported me without saying a word to me personally.

Anonymous
Oct. 4

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About Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor can be submitted by all members of the Notre Dame community. To submit a letter to the Viewpoint Editor, email viewpoint@ndsmcobserver.com

Contact Letter
  • Matt Benedict

    Thank-You, Anon, for your painful, yet also transformative witness. Although “Thank-You” seems exceptionally inappropriate, seeing that We, as a community, a nation, a people, still have not “figured out” how to eradicate this scourge. For what it’s worth, Anon, this Alum stands with you.

    And to the “You” and all the other “You’s” out there – This is what 6 seconds of “sexual” “gratification” creates. Was it worth it?

  • Nathan Troscinski

    As an alumni looking back, I always considered it to be one of the greatest honors of my life to have attended Notre Dame. While on campus, I felt at home, and I genuinely thought of us, the student body, as a family who loved and cared about one another. To hear that someone would abuse the trust and violate the body of a fellow member of the Notre Dame family makes me sick to the stomach. Our community is only strong because we implicitly are able to trust one another to have each others interests at heart.

    To rape or attack one of us is to strike a blow to that collective trust and to be a rot within the community. Like any rot, I hope the criminal responsible is found, that justice is served upon the guilty and that they are cast out. There is no place for someone like that at Notre Dame as far as I’m concerned.

    To the victim, I’m sorry. For you, that implicit trust is shattered and that will take a long time to repair, if it’s ever repaired at all. It’s horrible that you should have to spend the remainder of your time at Notre Dame grappling with that, especially at a time in your life when you should not have to worry about anything more consequential than a midterm. It’s probably not useful to tell you that there are a lot of us who are on your side, but know that many domers, both current and alumni will be praying for peace and justice for you in the years to come.

    God be with you!

  • alum2014

    Thank you for your grace-filled testimony to a horrific event. You are a hero. We in the ND community love you. We are proud of you. We support you. You are so brave!

  • ’14 alum

    Hey Anon,

    Just wanted to let you know that I’m another ND grad who is your sister in this. I wasn’t assaulted at school, but after. You are so brave, and I am so proud of you. Please reach out if you need someone to talk to – I know firsthand how hard it is, especially if you too have been diagnosed with PTSD because the truth is that people who haven’t gone through this are essential to our recovery – we need support – but unless hey have experienced it they will never totally get it. It’s made me feel so alone at times, therapy helped a lot, talking to other survivors helped a lot. I think Observer staff can connect us because they can see my Disqus profile and the email in there (or maybe anyone can see it?) regardless, please reach out if you need an unbiased, unconnected person to talk to. No pressure but just wanted to let you know you have a friend in me if you need another one.

    Again, you are so brave and I am so proud of you.

    • Pierce Witmer

      @NDforever1:disqus Thanks so much for support for a fellow survivor. I realize that value your privacy, and rightly so, but I would like to get in contact if you would like to, to ask your opinion on how Notre Dame deals with cases of sexual assault. I am currently the president of the student group Men Against Sexual Violence, you can reach us at mavmen@nd.edu

  • RandallPoopenmeyer

    Yea right! You waited two weeks to report it! Seems like someone just regrets their tryst…