Survivor stories

*TRIGGER WARNING: This section contains experiences with sexual violence that may be triggering to survivors and others.


When I was a PhD student at UO, I was raped by a fellow PhD student in another department. At the time, and for months afterwards, he claimed his persistent physical and emotional abuse (which included but certainly wasn’t limited to the rape) was “just part of our dynamic,” and took great offense when I eventually worked up the courage to confront him with what he’d done. “I admit that I sexually assaulted you,” he told me once. “But I don’t like being called a rapist.” I was so taken aback that I couldn’t think of anything to say; years later, I am still searching for the words.

 


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2 thoughts on “Survivor stories”

  1. 4/8/2014

    At roughly 1:15pm, I was sitting in my office with my office mate. My office mate was sitting closest to the door and I was sitting in the far corner by my desk.
    A man (UO employee) walked to our office door and said loudly “Put out your hand”.
    I said “What?”
    He said, “Put out your hand” and marched quickly toward me, cornering me in the room. He was standing and I was sitting in my chair. I put out my hand, as that seemed to be the only thing that would make him stop charging toward me.
    As he got closer to me he smacked the back of my hand rather hard and said, “You didn’t empty the recycling or clear the desktop!” I was shocked and still confused about what he was talking about and said
    “[Man name], in so many contexts, what you are doing is incredibly inappropriate. You need to stop.” He did not back away from me and I was still cornered in the room.
    Then I said, “I don’t even know what you’re talking about.” He angrily and harshly explained what I had done wrong, which was a relatively insignificant offense.
    I started to cry and said “Okay. I won’t ever do it again. But you need to get away from me, because what you’re doing is making me feel incredibly uncomfortable.”
    He gestured to my office mate and said, “But they let me do it.”
    My office mate said, “But it makes her uncomfortable, [man name].”
    I continued to cry and he left the room. I had to rush out of my office and out of the building, because I could not breathe from crying so much.

    In my estimation, this is gender harassment (which is a form of sexual harassment), physical assault, and is unacceptable. This experience was incredibly upsetting. I have made a formal report of this incident to the UO.

  2. 5/27/2014

    I worked in the athletic department, I knew the athletes who would come and go, we shared classes or went to mutual parties so it was never out of the ordinary to be hanging out with them. It was 2001, Cinco de Mayo and I like many others (who were old enough to drink) were at an infamous restaurant celebrating. My roommate wanted to leave late in the evening and I wanted to stay, so one of the athletes, who I had classes with offered me a ride home, and I accepted. We stopped at his apartment, it was just him and I. After using the restroom, he had locked us in his bedroom. He kissed me and I kissed back, but it wasn’t until his larger body was on top of me that the anxiety set in. As he proceeded to go further I said to stop and he wouldn’t. He said to take it, so I laid there and let him handle his business. He even used a condom, pinning me down with one arm while adjusting down there. I was so ashamed and without words, he took me home and faking that I had a great time to my parents who were watching my 9 month old son at the time was difficult. I remember watching the tv the next day and the news popped in with “breaking news” about two athletes who possibly drugged a raped a girl at a party “on at 11.” I waited until 11pm to hear about it and it was never on. That made me not want to report it even more, who was going to believe me? I didn’t need news cameras at my house, I didn’t want the attention or the ridicule because a precious athlete may have a bad rap. So as the days passed by and now a few weeks, I got bad news. I was pregnant from this horrible night. I knew I had to report it. I reported it to U of O, I gave my statement, the police took my clothes from that night and I waited. The head coach even called my house asking my story and “If I was sure that was what happened?” “Really?” I replied, “If this was your daughter, would you be talking the same way?” and I hung up. I couldn’t face my work, they drug my best friend at the time (also worked for the athletic department) into the middle of it trying to persuade me. I didn’t even want to leave my house! I ended up having an abortion because I couldn’t mentally deal with any of it and that was the hardest thing I could do. U of O asked me if I got a DNA test from the aborted fetus, the police never followed up and U of O ended up dismissing the case because it was his word against mine and his roommate’s word (she wasn’t even there that night). But you had two athletes words over a non-athlete, they are going to take the revenue people’s side, they are more important to that school than a regular, local, single parent female who is on financial aide. I would have sever panic and anxiety attacks when I would see him and we went on to play in the NFL while I had to drop out for a while. I saw him at the Rose Bowl, the first time in 11 years, and the anxiety and panic was just as hard to deal with as it was back then. To feel alone and see how people lie and manipulate the system is disheartening because we live in a society where people look away. I read these stories and I relive the events. I wish I could still press charges and let him know what he did was wrong but I survived and will always survive.

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to raise awareness about sexual violence on our campus, and advocate for a safe and equitable educational experience.

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