To my rapist
Letter to the Editor | 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.
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.