(I have only ever shared this story with my husband…and no one else…but in light of this article, I feel the need to share.)
It was a chilly evening in October 1997. I was a freshman at BSU and had just started dating a boy we will call JS. He was also a freshman and a friend of my new roommate. We had only been dating a couple weeks as the school year had just begun a couple months earlier. He was a HS school football star (totally not my type but alas it was college and I was willing to give it a shot) and was rushing a frat. He often brought me over to the frat house to hang out with the guys and, looking back, probably to give him credit as ‘frat guy’ material for “getting the girl”. Even though I was not the frat house type, I enjoyed my time at the house. The guys all knew me and liked me and I felt safe knowing they all had my back.
On this particular evening, we had been hanging out in one of the common rooms drinking whatever cheap beer they had available (probably Natty Light…ewww!). I had only had a beer or two over the course of the evening because, well, it was a weekday and I had class in the morning. JS was asked to go with a Brother to help move a couch into another room. Being that the rooms were small and there wasn’t a ton of room, I agreed to stay in the common room and hang out while he helped. It would only be a minute or two and again…I knew I was safe here.
Shortly after JS left the room, a guy I had never seen before approached me and started talking. He introduced himself as D and told me that he was a junior and fellow Brother. He seemed harmless so I stood and chatted for a bit. We talked about JS and his rushing status at the house. He asked about my major and wanted to know about my art. After a couple minutes, the music got louder in the room so he suggested we move out to the hall. We walked out to the hall which was crowded with others standing around talking, drinking, what have you…so he lead me into a darkened room off the hall. We sat on the lone couch in the large darkened room and I quickly realized he was no longer interested in a friendly chat about school. He leaned in to kiss me and I could smell the whiskey on his breath. I lightly pushed him away, turned my head and reminded him JS was my boyfriend and would return in a few. He didn’t take no for an answer. He pushed me down on the couch and whispered in my ear, “It will be okay because all Brothers share everything and if JS wants to be a Brother, he will have to learn to share!”. I tried to push him off me as he tugged on my shirt. I deflected his hands from my shirt as he reached down for my waistband. He was much bigger than me and being as drunk as he was, he was pretty much dead weight. I screamed for help as the tears rolled down my cheeks.
A moment later, the door (which I didn’t realize he had shut and locked) flung open and three Brothers burst through the door. One grabbed D off me and immediately punched him in the face several times. The other two guys grabbed me, hugged me and asked if I was okay while yelling for JS. D screamed that I “was asking for it” through the bloody nose and bruised face. Two of the Brothers dragged him out the door and told him he was never allowed in the house again. They informed me that he was, in fact not a Brother, and that a Brother would NEVER violate a girl like that…ever.
JS and two of the Brothers walked me home to my dorm that night and I never mentioned the incident. I never reported him to police or campus authorities. I never spoke a word of it to my roommate or friends. JS and I never mentioned it again. We broke up shortly after that night and I continued to date other guys (although never another frat guy interestingly). Less than a year after that, I met Alex. We fell in love and got married. I did tell Alex briefly about the night but not in detail and honestly, have never even thought about the night until today.
When I read an article stating that college campus rapes are on the rise and that some believe it to be because sexual assault is becoming a “coveted status”, all these details and memories came flooding in my mind. I could remember the sights, the sounds, the smells, the emotions. I am thankful for those Brothers who stormed in to save me. I am thankful that it did not go any further than it did. BUT I am NOT thankful it happened or glad I could be a part of that “coveted status”. That thought is absurd. I hid what happened to me. I didn’t speak a word because I was worried. I was ashamed even though I did nothing but trust a “nice guy”. I was afraid of what people would say about me or what he would do.
I hid my story for 17 years. My hope is that other girls in similar situations aren’t afraid. I hope they don’t feel they have to hide. It is not your fault.