If There’s a Reason: A Letter from a Survivor of the Campus Sexual Misconduct Debacle

Content note: this letter discusses sexual assault

I had a hard time deciding who this letter should be addressed to. There’s a lot of people I want to address, you see. The first, of course, is the scumbag who sexually assaulted me. And I guess I could talk about that. But, as a professor once taught me, sometimes the best rhetorical strategy is to simply not address your opponent at all, because it means they are beneath your notice.
So let’s talk about someone who actually matters in this situation.

Hello, survivor. I see you made it through another day.

That was the hardest part, for me. To make it through another day. It’s amazing how unsafe you feel after being assaulted like that. The situation eats at you, until you hit a breaking point.
I had trouble leaving my bedroom for a long time. I was really scared, scared of a million different things. That it would happen again, that I would see him, that someone would find out.
And reporting it? Well, we all know how much trouble that could be now. I tried to report it, after it happened. It’s amazing how much of a blow it is to be ignored by a person in a place of power, who is supposed to help you through the situation in the first place. It’s amazing how much of a different person you can become.

It’s amazing how angry I am now.

Whatever happens now, whatever you have to face, my advice to anyone out there who has survived this trial by fire is simple: don’t give up. You are here at university because you have ambitions, and ideas, and knowledge that very few people may have. Do what you feel you need to do to stay sane and happy, but don’t give up, no matter what you do. This experience will change you, there is no way around that. But it doesn’t need to change everything. I have changed, but I have not given up, and that is the greatest revenge I will ever take on the bastard.

It’s been a year, almost to the day, since an acquaintance tried to rape me. I won’t claim that the road has been easy, because it hasn’t. But, a year on, my life is better. I know I haven’t completely dealt with the issue though. I still have a hard time trusting people. And I’m angry. But you might deal with the problem differently than I have. You may feel different things, and may need to take different steps to heal.

This is my healing process. This is my moment, where I reach back to the people who matter most, and I say, “Everything will be okay.”