A Student Writes



Via Trinity News:

An anonymous foreign student at Trinity College Dublin writes:

Women in college are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than any other demographic. But most college women, myself included, don’t report incidents for reasons such as denial, fear, or just plain old confusion. The media presents rapists as being satanic old buck-toothed men with axes in hand, but that’s not always the case. The unwanted hook up in your own dorm room with a friend you’ve known for months can be, and in many cases is also rape….

…Having only been in Dublin a few short months, I still naively thought that I was going to leave this county in four years with a university degree and nothing else. Maybe that’s why I didn’t think twice before opening the door upon hearing the sharp buzzing of my apartment doorbell that woke me one November night. His pupils were dilated, his body shook with energy, and his breath reeked of alcohol. He knew what he wanted and he knew that I could do nothing about it. I resisted for a while, but after very quickly realising my sporadic attempts were being made to no avail, I stopped. I was emotionless, at least that’s what I told myself. I waited what felt like hours for it to be over. Eventually, his friend phoned him and he left “for something better”.

I didn’t tell anyone that night. I didn’t tell anyone the next day or the day after that either. For months, I stayed quiet. Over a year later, I’m still not sure why I stayed quiet. I suppose I didn’t want to admit that something so unthinkable could have possibly happened to me, but mostly, I was so horribly afraid of what he would do. I have spent every day since in denial, shame, regret, and more than anything, fear. I have denied myself the opportunity to heal by hiding in my self-created shadows of shame. Rumours still exist in my circle of friends that I was the one that took advantage of him because I was sober. I guess I was just too polite or passive or something to justify sticking up for myself, but in hindsight I regret not screaming the truth. But when I go to sleep every night, I don’t think about any of that. I think of him. The image of his face exactly as it was that night will never escape my mind, and it will never cease to terrify me. To this day, I haven’t done so much as kiss a boy without being physically ill within 24 hours. And I probably never will.

That being said, I didn’t write this article to victimise myself. I didn’t write this article to demonise my rapist. I didn’t write this article to shame my “friends” that were quick to judge the situation. I have come to a fuzzy conclusion that I owe this article to myself.

Personal expression could be the element, if any element exists at all, that will be helpful. I have spent over a year in nearly complete silence, and that was over a year too long…

More here: I Could Be Anyone: The Aftermath of Rape (Trinity News)

(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)

51 thoughts on “A Student Writes

  1. Clampers Outside!

    “Women in college are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than any other demographic.” – Seriously, WTF? What other demographics are you comparing to, other than men…..

    A dreadful line to start with…. sounds like histrionics from the off, and there’s no need for that when speaking of assault of any type.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      This just gets funnier by the second…. “The media presents rapists as being satanic old buck-toothed men with axes in hand” …utter horse manure !!

      I’ll read the rest before commenting again.

      1. The Lady Vanishes

        Than any other demographic of women, presumably.

        The American connection in the article is interesting. In many ways 21st century American women, for supposed power, are less empowered in personal interactions with men than my buddies of the 70s.

      2. Kieran NYC

        Yeah. It’s always best to read a full article about rape before going off on one and then looking ridiculous.

    2. Don Pidgeoni

      Except that’s BS’s starting paragraph not hers. Keep your hair on and read the original.

    3. Don Pidgeoni

      Except that’s BS’s starting paragraph not hers. Keep your hair on and read the original.

    4. John E. Bravo

      It may be a misreading of this from the US “The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network reports that college-aged women are four times more likely than any other age group to face sexual assault.” http://www.aauw.org/resource/campus-sexual-assault-talking-points/

      Either way, it seems your tone is way off here. Someone got raped. Of the two things, her standard of journalism shouldn’t be the thing that gets you upset.

  2. scottser

    jaysis, i’ve just been reading that whole ched evans saga on the guardian site and then this appeared..

    whatever the author thinks she owes herself, i hope she finds peace.

  3. Clampers Outside!

    “The unwanted hook up in your own dorm room with a friend you’ve known for months can be, and in many cases is also rape….” ALL unwanted hook ups, assuming you mean sex, is rape.

    1. Medium Sized C

      A student I would assume.

      So I would assume that she has stuff to learn just yet.
      She is learning. Don’t expect Orwell.

    2. Just sayin'

      Reminds me of all those creepy fellow students in college who thought it was great craic to crawl into girl’s beds at house parties. I’m sure a lot more went on than we knew about.

  4. Soundings

    That sounds awful, and I hope that writing it out in black and white helps the author.

    But seriously, why not try a rape crisis centre (if you’re in Dublin, try these folks – http://www.drcc.ie); wouldn’t it be horrible if you had the same feelings in 10 years time, and some rape victims do.

      1. Canal Bank Dog

        Yes. Do call them. The writer owes it to herself as a human being to be kind to herself and fight for herself and getting help with the pain and trauma is part of it. Very tough, maybe even unbearably tough, to have to deal with this alone. A good counsellor will listen and advise and let her make her own decisions.

  5. The Lady Vanishes

    Worth noting this paragraph from the full article:

    “Like most foreign college students, initially became friends with the people it was easiest to be friends with at Trinity rather than people that were psychologically tested to be suited to me. I met a few Americans at a party the first weekend I was here, and by way of convenience, became friends with almost exclusively their friends. They partied, drank, did drugs, dealt drugs, and did just about everything else imaginable other than go to college or study. I distanced myself from the negative aspects of their personalities and ultimately decided it would be far easier to warp my vision of them into something positive than to venture off obliviously in the attempt of making new friends with no guarantee of any sort of remote success.”,/i?

    Kids (everyone?) need to choose their friends wisely. And the sweeter you are, the more careful you need to be. There are people out there who will take advantage of passivity and a nature inclined to think the best of others. Also this:-

    Above all else, I now possess a hypersensitivity to my own emotions and the emotions of others. If anything, I have learned to be hypersensitive to these emotions upon painfully realising that very few other people are. Of course, I should not spitefully assume that everyone else in the world is as emotionally unstable as I am, but I also can no longer ignore the possibility. I will (hopefully) leave Trinity with a degree, but I will also leave with this new perspective.

    None of us really appreciate other people’s pain till we have suffered pain ourselves. When this happens, eyes are opened and the world is a much more unpleasant place all of a sudden.

  6. Frilly Keane

    ’Suppose “satanic buck- toothed old men with axes” will be the next leaflet from the Iona ‘IHateYou’ department

  7. bisted

    ‘….Women in college are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than any other demographic.’….bollox….take a walk just round the corner and talk to the women round Merrion Square. Their ‘demographic’ will tell you all there is to know about sexual and physical violence on a daily basis.

  8. Niallo

    Fair play in confronting this demon.
    No one knows what they will do until they are pushed into a situation.
    I think you need to find closure here.

      1. Don Pidgeoni

        Sighing at a comment filled with victim blaming is not acting ‘superior’. And how is it being a ‘superior know it all’ by actually reading her reasons for not reporting and that being enough? Insert a snide reply if it makes your feel better

        1. Lilly

          I read her reasons but thought that by her own admission she had managed to overcome them. Nowhere in my comment was I blaming the victim but if she is clear sighted enough to put pen to paper in this way, she has what it takes to report her rapist IMO.

          1. Don Pidgeoni

            It was another comment that was deleted I commented on.

            Justice may help her but maybe not, it’s different for everyone. Realistically, we know the stats on rape convictions and sadly, I do not think this case would go anywhere beyond bringing it all up again. She may make that choice when she is stronger but she makes it clear why she never went to the police.

  9. Lilly

    Why doesn’t this woman go to the police and report this crime? Who cares if it was a year ago. Think of the other women who may be spared this horrific experience if the man in question is called to account. Even if it is impossible to prove, a record of the complaint will exist for future reference.

    1. Canal Bank Dog

      Reporting a rape is not easy. Particularly in a foreign country. And against someone who is in the same college, and who the victim will have to encounter in the future. And with whom she may share mutual friends. Everyone says ‘talk about it’, ‘report it’, but it’s not that easy. On the other hand, the powerlessness of not feeling able to report it may be as bad as the rape itself. The first step should be for this woman to talk to a good rape crisis counsellor, and as part of that process to consider the question of reporting the rape, and its implications. But I agree that it would be better for others if such rapes were reported. And even for the woman concerned, the other hand, the powerlessness of feeling unable to report the rape may be as bad as the rape itself.

  10. Sinabhfuil

    Many here seem eager to tell the young woman how she should behave. Perhaps – certainly – this kind of helpfulness isn’t going to help her to rebuild the confidence and self-worth torn apart by her rapist. She should report him – *if* she decides to. But at this stage it’s her word against his.
    Fair play to her for doing the now more useful job of warning other women in Trinity about this danger.
    And Clampers, not everyone’s a professional writer, and it’s difficult to write clearly when you’re writing about something that has shattered you.

      1. Don Pidgeoni

        Try listening to her story and making sure you don’t say stupid things like some of these comments would be a good start

        1. Gerry Johns

          It’s very harrowing. What strikes me most is the sense of her being frozen – stuck in slow motion almost. Constant mind replays. The mental anguish way worse than any physical pain. I don’t know how you get past something like that but maybe the closing point is right – she wrote it for herself.

          1. Don Pidgeoni

            People have this idea that people fight back but m any don’t from fear, disbelief, shock etc. It’s an awful situation but hopefully she seeks help

  11. Lilly

    Same thing happened when I was in college – plenty of people knew about it but nothing was done. I knew both parties – the girl was sweet and innocent, the guy a few years older and probably a bit confused himself, both Irish. He went on to become a banker, and presumably continued to rape people one way or another.

    1. Don Pidgeoni

      Rapists should learn to stop raping people then. Not everyone is strong enough to report it. Not everyone is believed. It’s not their fault if their rapist rapes again!

      1. SADDo

        Except that first sentences was the message that should have been in the article. Why anyone feels the need to share such an article from Trinity News with Broadsheet beats me. It’s not like there’s not 5000 copies of the publication stashed under the stairs in No 6 in TCD Front Square awaiting the pulp machine already.

  12. Yogy

    Why would a rapist have an axe in hand? Would that not get in the way.

    Terrible experience for anyone but very badly written piece.

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