These Viewpoints discuss sexual assault on campus. Please refer to the end of the article for on- and off-campus resources. Over the last several months, The Hoya has published a series of anonymous Viewpoints from survivors of sexual assault. Read their stories below:
I was sexually assaulted as a student at Georgetown. What shocked me was what I learned from filing a complaint.
Sept. 27, 2020
Today is the three-year mark of my assault, and only now am I ready to finally share my story. During my trial, my perpetrator focused on the fact that I didn’t file a complaint sooner, but processing these things takes time.
Writing this article doesn’t change my circumstances. I was stuck in the same spaces as my assaulter regardless. Georgetown’s culture of assault is so normalized, and while it’s hard to speak up, doing so is critical in hopes of changing a broken system.
Sept. 4, 2020
I’ve stared at this blank page for hours as I try to put my experience into words. Everything my abuser did comes back to me in waves, momentarily consuming my thoughts and inhibiting my ability to think properly. I feel absolutely sick to my stomach and numb to my senses as I write this, but I honestly have no other choice. Georgetown University has repeatedly ignored my calls for action, and I will no longer suffer in silence. I am a survivor, and Georgetown has failed me.
April 12, 2019
You may have noticed the parade of blue flags lining Copley Lawn earlier this week. It is difficult not to. Unless of course you’re doing so intentionally — which seems to be a pervasive theme at Georgetown University. The flags represent the thousands of students who have reported experiencing sexual harassment at Georgetown. “This one’s you, and that one’s me,” my friend joked, pointing to two of the flags as we walked across campus. You may recall an anonymous op-ed published in The Hoya last fall in which two survivors described their experiences with Georgetown protecting predators despite its promise to support survivors. The accused perpetrator from the November op-ed is still a Georgetown undergraduate. He has in no way changed his behavioral patterns. His continued presence on campus, despite several formal Title IX complaints against him, poses an active threat to women at Georgetown. The university’s systemic negligence is dangerous for all survivors of sexual assault and interpersonal violence.
Nov. 8, 2018
Blue denim skirt. Vodka on a Village A rooftop. Trapped between an athlete and a brick wall on a twin-sized bed. These details ring familiar to many Georgetown University women. These same details I painfully recounted in December 2017 to then-Title IX investigator — now also occupying the role of Title IX coordinator — Samantha Berner. I reported to the university what had happened to me a month earlier because I knew it was unjust; Georgetown had just spent weeks informing my whole freshman class about its purportedly extensive resources for sexual assault survivors. Instead, my experience with the university’s Title IX proceedings was assaultive.
Oct. 19, 2018
After my best friend was raped last year, I thought a lot about what I would do in a similar situation. Would I scream? Try to fight back? When I was sexually assaulted a few weeks ago during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, I did something I never predicted: I froze. I had never been to a club, let alone had a random guy dance with me. I typically avoided parties for fear of getting too drunk and/or having someone take advantage of me in an unfamiliar environment. I was afraid of being a statistic, and after hearing many survivors’ stories, it didn’t seem like most people got justice — or that others even believed them. After my assault, I realized how much courage people must have to tell their stories, for fear of being ostracized or having people refute their experiences. My own fear reinforced the importance of believing survivors.
Oct. 2, 2018
I am a Georgetown University student and a survivor of multiple instances of sexual assault. When I see Christine Blasey Ford telling her story, I am not proud; I am not empowered — I am heartbroken. Heartbroken that this woman, who could be me in 20 years — a woman with a career, a family, a life that seems happy and full — is still haunted by those moments of weakness, shame and fear that I had hoped would pass. What Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is accused of doing to her is terrible. It is wrong to laugh at someone’s pain, to control someone just because you can, to press your hand over someone’s mouth and make them fear for their life. Using someone’s body to make yourself feel powerful is an act that forever taints your humanity.
Resources: On-campus confidential resources include Health Education Services (202-687-8949 or [email protected]) and Counseling and Psychiatric Services (202-687-6985); additional off-campus resources include the D.C. Rape Crisis Center (202-333-7273) and the D.C. Forensic Nurse Examiner Washington Hospital Center (844-443-5732). If you or anyone you know would like to receive a sexual assault forensic examination or other medical care — including emergency contraception — call the Network for Victim Recovery of D.C. at 202-742-1727. To report sexual misconduct, you can contact Georgetown’s interim Title IX coordinator at 202-687-9183 or file an online report here. Emergency contraception is available at the CVS located at 1403 Wisconsin Ave NW and through H*yas for Choice. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/GUselfcare.