I’ve been a little lost for words lately. I’ve always used this blog as part-catharsis, and I have to get this post out. I’m also going to stick the post under a cut, as a possible trigger warning, just in case.
Eleven days ago, I was very nearly raped by another student from my residential college. He apparently took my having dared to talk to him while intoxicated as not only interest but consent to sex. This time, I got lucky. I managed to get him off me, and got him out of my room. I’ve been going over that night again and again. If I’d had even another glass of wine, I think I’d have been too drunk to stop him, and I was already in no state to consent to anything, which he had to have known in the circumstances. There was also strong potential for a very nasty trans panic situation.
I woke up the next morning, and the full gravity of what had happened hit me instantly. It’s a sick fucking culture we live in; for those first few hours, I was freaking out, but equally freaking out about whether I was allowed to be freaked out. Freaked out about whether I’d shown enough that I wasn’t consenting. Intellectually I could understand that this was wrong; when I hadn’t even shown the slightest interest, why in the fuck was I worrying about having shown that I wasn’t consenting, when he clearly didn’t give a damn whether I was in the first place. But it didn’t help much - ultimately, we’re so socialised to blame ourselves, to wonder what we must have done wrong, instead of throwing that blame firmly at the men responsible.
After talking things over with a few people, I chose to report what had happened to the head of my residence. I knew the university had a poor reputation for handling anything to do with sexual assault, but I still quite wasn’t expecting what happened; after being initally helpful, giving the man concerned a talking to, and warning his senior resident to keep a close on eye on him, she rounded on me and tried to make it go away, putting pressure on me to make nice with him because they’d forced him to apologise, and giving me the strong impression that she’d basically giving him the impression that it was all good now he’d done that. After several emails in which she insisted that I should make contact with the guy and make nice, and after I’d refused several times, we had this bizarre phone conversation where she kept stating that she didn’t want to be a mediator, while all the while I’m thinking “What in hell’s fuck is there to mediate? This is a guy that tried to rape me. He’s not a scorned lover.” Only after great insistence did she agree to try and make him stay away from me - and only after enlisting, in great detail, a list of the exact distance and circumstances in which I expected him to. I was already in an awkward position; being in a catered residential college it’s impossible to avoid anybody, and the man concerned was a fairly popular student. But after the dealings with the administration, and realising that I was going to get no support on that front, I fell apart, and wasn’t leaving my room much apart from to go to work.
In order to be at all taken seriously, and with the help of some supportive friends, I had to go over the head of the head of my college, and go to the university’s dean of students, who to her credit was fantastic, and helped a lot. The head has been counselled that that’s really not how to go about things, and presumably at the dean’s instigation, I’ve suddenly been offered a transfer to another complex on campus (and one I’d actually been after, but wasn’t eligible for). I’ve spent the weekend starting to pack up my room here, and I guess it’s the best resolution for me in the circumstances, but I’m still frustrated that I’m winding up being the one who’s having to leave, and angry at a culture that basically gives me no option when a popular student turns out to be a would-be rapist, and leaves only me here knowing what he’s capable of.
I’m starting to get over the initial shock, but there’s things that won’t go away so easily. I’ve never been particularly trusting of men, especially straight men, and just as I was starting to develop a skerrick of that, it’s been basically shattered. In the past, I was always been fairly cavalier about walking around at night alone and such, but that’s suddenly become almost incomprehensible; I keep thinking that I might not be so lucky if there’s ever a next time.