Letter to the Editor


This letter is a response to the editorial printed in last week’s issue. It was anonymously sent in and will be printed in lieu of the editorial this week.

It was fall of my freshman year. That day the air was warm, and I was busy. I was all over campus: back and forth from my dorm, the Spit, the gym, and then back again. What I did that day was one of the first things Public Safety asked me during the investigation into what had happened later that evening.

Like most freshmen, when I came to Villanova, I was excited. It was so cool to finally be in college and I wanted to enjoy every second of it. Part of feeling like I was living up the “college experience” included going out frequently— even during the week. This particular day was in the middle of the school week, and a group of friends (and their group of extended friends) and I decided to go out to the Main Line bars.

The night started off great— until I found myself in a situation where I was too intoxicated as a result of one individual pushing drinks on me throughout the evening. I remember thinking “I should get home,” and when I voiced my concern about my level of intoxication, he gladly assured me he’d get me home safe.

After receiving a text from my roommate asking me to stall coming back, he offered to let me sit in his room for a while. But the second the door closed, I was in trouble. I was pinned down, unable to move, and assaulted in a way that is still incomprehensible to me. After eventually finding the strength to push my attacker off, I ran out of the room, leaving behind articles of clothing and a piece of myself that I’ll never get back. A friend later found me on the bathroom floor, crying, bruised, and unable to move. Despite my deep shame that someone saw me in that state, she served instrumental in my later battle with the University to get my attacker removed.

I decided to write this letter and tell my story after reading last week’s editorial on fraternities and sexual assault on campus. My attacker did happen to be a member of a fraternity, but so was my boyfriend, who stood up for me and walked me through the process. The problem doesn’t lie solely with fraternities—it is the cruelty within a person that motivates them to attack others. However, there is, I feel, a culture bred within fraternities that encourages “hooking up” and “getting girls”—for me, my attacker stopped at nothing. He permanently impacted my life—but I made sure he could never hurt another girl on this campus, and the investigation made clear that justice would be served.

Fraternity men—and ALL men—on this campus and everywhere else—need to know that no means no, and that drunk and incapacitated means no. It is horrifying that I am one out of every five women to have suffered at the hands of someone who didn’t accept my “no.” I am not a lone survivor on this campus, and I feel there is a resounding attitude among the students here that we are safe—things like rape aren’t supposed to happen here, right? But it does. And while Villanova has made some policy changes surrounding sexual assault, what needs to change is how the student body addresses it. This is an issue that needs to be talked about more—to both empower victims and to reinforce the idea of boundaries and respect between men and women.