I reported being sexually assaulted on campus, and my college did nothing — this week I’m telling the world my story
Two weeks after the assault, I attempted to take my life. I want to prevent other students from having the same experience.
On the night of her 18th birthday, Chelsea’s Halm was assaulted on campus, and she’s finally decided to share her story. In sharing, she hopes to draw attention to Bowling Green State University, and the ways she says it failed her in a time of need.
For legal reasons, we’ve chosen not to name him.
She will not be returning in the fall. Here is her story.
I started my first year of college in the fall of 2016. When I arrived, I was homesick and shy but I made it a goal to make as many friends as possible and put myself out there — that’s something I hadn’t done in high school. My goal worked and soon enough I was going out with friends for lunch everyday and occasionally parties on the weekends.
Quickly after that I met a new friend, but little did I know this “friend” was going to be the person that ruined everything for me. I met him in the beginning of September when I was moving rooms in my building. We swapped numbers and began texting for a while and he invited me to a party that night but I declined the offer because I had an essay to work on for one of my classes. He didn’t text me for a few days after that, until he saw me walking back to my dorm after a class.
We started talking again and he invited me to go out to a club with him, I told him I couldn’t because I was still 17. This was the last time he talked to me for about a week. About two weeks before my birthday we started talking again and began watching American Horror Story together on Wednesday nights. The more we hung out, the more possessive he got towards me although I had made it clear that we were only friends. A couple times my ex had texted me when I was with him, he told me not to delete the messages because he wanted to see what was said between us. As the month passed and I got closer to turning 18, he began joking around about me “becoming legal”. When he said this I assumed he was talking about me being the legal age to go to clubs like everyone else, sadly I was wrong.
On my 18th birthday I went to dinner with my family, then returned back to campus where I was sexually assaulted. That entire night after the incident I sat in the shower, completely numb. I laid in bed for the next few days and finally reported it that Friday. I was contacted by the school the following Monday and asked to come into the Dean of Students office to speak about it. After explaining what had happened I was asked if I had been drinking and what I was wearing. For anyone who thinks my attire would’ve actually caused this, I was wearing a dance t-shirt and a pair of shorts, and no, I wasn’t drinking. I was told that if I wanted to start an investigation, I would be safe and he would not be able to contact me. They were wrong.
He was removed from the building but his friends that were still in the building continued sliding notes under my door and spreading rumors about me to other people. He began making fake accounts and sending me messages, when I reported it the school did nothing. He even showed up at my work, causing me to be sent home early, and the school did nothing. Two weeks after the assault, I attempted to take my life. I took 114 pills and after telling a close friend of mine, an EMT squad came to my dorm. They took me to the hospital but I don’t remember arriving or anything that happened for the next three days. I was in the hospital for about 5 days and once I left I chose to return to my dorm because I didn’t want to miss anymore classes. A couple weeks later I started going back to the meetings for the investigation, but it turned out that it was all for nothing.
At the end of the investigation I was told that there wasn’t enough evidence to support my accusation. I was told that I could get a restraining order through the court, but that would mean having to go through an entire investigation again and I couldn’t handle talking about it anymore. Even after the investigation was over, he continued messaging me, and even threatened me in person when he saw me on campus. Each time I reported it to to Deans Office but nothing was done.
I will not be returning to BGSU this next fall, and to anyone considering this school, I would highly encourage you not to. I reported being assaulted, threatened, and harassed by the same guy but yet they “didn’t have enough evidence” to do anything about it, so they swept it under the rug. This was an issue that I almost lost my life over, something that I’m still dealing with on a daily basis. I have nightmares almost every night, I still break down over it constantly, I’m afraid to walk around on campus or even go out around BG because I’m afraid I’ll see the man that ruined my life. It disgusts me that universities are more quick to expel someone over plagiarism than sexual assault. So, I’m coming out about what happened. I know the chances of anything being done about it at this point is slim to none, but maybe now BGSU will realize how important it is that they actually do something about these issues because I can guarantee I’m not the only student on campus whose dealt with them.
Please share and tag the University. Nothing can be done to reverse what happened to me, but maybe it can help prevent other students from having the experiences I did. Thank you.
Today we spoke with her about the assault, and the months that followed.
How did the comments your University made about your clothing affect you?
They kept asking what I was wearing. It was a Hanes t-shirt — the one with iron on designs you know, and a pair of short because it was still eighty degrees in the dorms. It was so hot.
You said his friends kept reaching out. Has that stopped?
The last thing that happened was a bit ago. It was him and his friends and they were at the Student Union. I guess I walked past without seeing them, and I was busy picking up a package, and that’s when they came over and started talking about me right next to me.
Did you hear anything they said?
His friend kept saying he was going to hit me — but he didn’t.
What was the timeline for all of this?
The assault happened on Wednesday September 28, my 18th birthday. I went to the school to report it the following Friday, and they got in contact that Monday. That’s when the investigation started, but it was so slow in the beginning. And it was hard — me having to give them every detail. Talking about it was really hard.
One day I went and couldn’t get myself to speak to them, so I ended up leaving and having to go back another day. They took a while to get back about the final decision.
His roommate testified against me as well.
Is this the only thing that played into your decision to not return?
Yes. I would have returned if it hadn’t played out this way.
Have you been surprised by the amount of people reaching out?
Definitely. I was hesitant to tell my story. I had this status typed up for days before I had the courage to post it. I was hesitant to say it happened to me.
What caused you to finally post the status?
At first it was anger at him because I am still letting it control my every day life. When I get asked to go out with friends — it’s a party school, you know — I already rarely go out, but now even when I want to I always end up changing my mind – what if he threatens me or does something?
He was expelled from another university for sexual assault and BG still let him in. When I posted that status I started getting all of these messages from girls – people saying “I went through the same thing but I was never able to tell people because I was afraid”.
I feel satisfied with the amount of people who told me I gave them a voice.
We reached out to the University for comment:
“The safety of our students, faculty and staff is the top priority for Bowling Green State University. The University thoroughly investigates all reported incidents of sexual assault. Investigations are conducted by BGSU Police and/or the Office of the Dean of Students, depending on the circumstances of each individual complaint.
On April 25, a student shared on social media concerns about how the University responded to a report of sexual assault that she filed last fall. Federal privacy laws prohibit BGSU from sharing specific details about these allegations or any similar incidents. However, we can assure the University community that upon learning of this reported incident last fall the matter was thoroughly investigated by the Office of the Dean of Students. BGSU Police also spoke with the complainant. She asked the police not to pursue this as a criminal investigation. Based on its investigations, the University determined that there was not cause to pursue further action.
Respect for one another is a core value of Bowling Green State University. Sexual assault has no place here. We all must take an active role to prevent sexual assault.
All members of our community are encouraged to report offenses and/or seek support. The Counseling Center, Department of Public Safety, Residence Life, the Title IX coordinator, and the Office of the Dean of Students are among the campus units providing resources and support.”
We will continue to update the piece.