#MeToo: What To Do If It Happens To You

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Story by Parker Hutson, Staff Reporter

I know it can be scary to admit, not just to others, but to yourself. No one ever wants to be the victim of a sexual assault or rape, but it does happen, and it should be acknowledged.

If the person who did this to you or someone you know goes free and what they did is kept secret, then they could do it again. I know from experience.

I’m not here to hound you to going to the police or talking about what was done to you, but I’m here to help you know what to do if this has happened to you or it may happen to you in the future. When it happened to me, I had no clue what I should do or what would happen, and it terrified me to not know. I don’t want that for anyone else, so I hope that this article helps some people out there.

First off, it can happen to anybody. When you ask yourself “Why me? Was I asking for it? Was I not being aware enough?” or tell yourself, “This is my fault. I should have done something about it.” Stop. This was in NO WAY your fault.

You couldn’t have stopped it, they should have. You were not asking for it; no one asks for something like this. It is not your fault and you are not alone. I was raped by someone I thought was my friend, so it isn’t just something that happens from a stranger.

When it happens to you or a friend, you or they will probably want to forget about it and go on with their lives. It’s an easier option, maybe, but it will only hurt you in the end.

I was not the first victim by the guy who did it to me, and the person you let go may do it to someone else. I realized that, and that is why I went to the authorities.

The morning after it happened to me, I went to the campus police with a friend of mine. That is usually the best step.

Go to a friend or someone close to you first, and then take the steps to go to the authorities. At the campus police station I told them what happened to me and they immediately called the city police so that they could come and get me to take my statement.

The campus police made sure that I was okay while we waited for the city police and asked me a few basic questions like if it happened on campus and if the person who did it to me was also a student. The city police showed up and took me to the police station and a very nice man in normal clothes took me to a questioning room for my statement.

Everyone was very nice and made sure I was okay during the process, and if I started to cry or break down they would ask me what I needed to feel better.

After I gave my statement, the guy in normal clothes who was an investigator took me and my friend back to my dorm to get any evidence (clothes, accessories, etc.). However, I had done the thing that a lot of victims do and I had washed the clothes and myself from disgust, but I did still have my socks, which he took.

It wasn’t long until I got a call from the school, and they explained to me that they knew what had happened and would like me to come in to see how I’m doing and what they could do to make me feel safe. When I went to the meeting, I told them how scared I was that he was on campus.

It wasn’t but three days after that meeting that he was expelled from the school. During that meeting I was also asked if I wanted a counselor to talk to get through this, and I did. The counselor really did help me through what happened to me.

I would have bad episodes of fear and anxiety, and they helped me through every one of them. I don’t think I would have gotten through the long process of recovery without them.

In the meeting with the school, I was also given a number for my prosecutor who would help me to get him put in jail. The prosecutor does not cost a penny, so if that’s a worry, then let it not be one anymore.

He was arrested, and though the arrangement of his plea took a year and a half to accomplish, he is now a registered sex offender, and may never step on these school grounds again. He also cannot be within a certain distance of me, or he will be put right back in jail.

It does annoy me that he only got six months behind bars, but that title that he now has stamped on him is the real punishment that will stay with him for a very long time.

I know, it may be scary to go to the authorities, but know that Henderson and the city police take this matter very seriously and will do their best to help you feel safe and punish the person who did this to you or someone you know. Also know that it is never too late.

If this happened to you last year and you want to speak up now, do it. You have a voice, and that is a strength to use.

He didn’t listen to my voice when I said no, but I know that I can now use that same voice to help others who have been through this horrible situation and see the strength within them to stand up and say “No. This will not go unnoticed.”