I tried to report my sexual assault months ago. I just got a call back about my complaint
And now the University of Maryland wants to charge students to deal with their assault
Next fall the University of Maryland may start charging students $34 a year in order to deal with their sexual assault cases. The director of the Title IX office at UMD claims there are too many cases and it’s too much for her employees to handle.
Because being sexually assaulted is such a breeze to deal with right?
Sexual assault cases are already difficult enough for students to report because of their reputation for rarely being handled correctly, which means everything from victim blaming to public shaming. Only about 20 percent of females on college campuses who are assaulted report to the authorities, and the number is even lower for male students. Even with all the sexual assault cases being reported on college campuses, there are many more survivors who stay silent about it, which can be damaging to their mental health.
In the spring semester of 2016, I was sexually assaulted in College Park. I lived in an off-campus student apartment, where I felt really safe and protected. I had lots of friends living there as well and every night we would hang out in each others apartments, drink and have a good time. One of those nights, I decided to visit one of my “friends” after coming back from a party. I was buzzed, wide awake and I had a lot on my mind so I didn’t want to just be alone — I thought hanging out with a good friend would cheer me up.
If I had known I would be locked in a room, pinned down on the bed and have my skirt pulled down while I was screaming frantically, I wouldn’t have even thought to go in. But humans can’t tell the future, and I just thought I was gonna go have a nice conversation with my friend like I usually do.
Luckily, I screamed and fought my way out of it.
Of course, a close friend told me I need to report what happened immediately.
But I stayed silent for two days. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t leave my room because I didn’t want to run into him. I felt weak, powerless and depressed. I didn’t feel like doing anything except just laying in my bed and being alone. How do I trust anyone after this? I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted him to face consequences so I could live my life again.
I told the UMD campus police what had happened. They made me wait in a room for about an hour, then a man came and told me that since my building was just a little bit out of their jurisdiction, they couldn’t help me. I had no choice but to go to the county police. And I didn’t know what I was in for. The last thing I got was justice.
It was late at night, and storming hard outside. I was waiting at the police station forever until I was taken into an interrogation room. I had to answer questions like, “Were you drinking?” “But he was your friend right?” “Are you sure you guys had nothing going on?” “Why did you even go into his room?” “What were you wearing?”
I sat in the interrogation room for hours while the detective took my phone to read through the conversation I had with my assaulter. I still don’t understand why the relationship we had mattered to the detective. My friend sexually assaulted me, and whether he was my boyfriend or a random stranger, his actions were wrong. But here I was, sitting in an interrogation room like a criminal.
The detective eventually let me go and said, “I’ll have the state attorney call you after we investigate further.” I never got the call. Instead, I ended up getting a call from another officer notifying me that the assaulter was trying to press charges against me because he felt as if I was putting his life in danger and he was fearing for his safety. One of my good guy friends had visited him, and asked him nicely to leave me alone. He ended up telling the officers that I sent an armed man to his room to kill him. He ended up getting more protection than I did. I ended up getting investigated more than he did. My parents had to pay for a lawyer to defend ME in court a couple weeks later. I still hadn’t received the call about my complaint against him.
Last month, I just saw him. The sight of him made me shiver and almost burst into tears. I felt anxious, uncomfortable, sweaty and so full of hatred.
I finally got the call last week, months after the incident, when I had finally found peace, asking me if I wanted to go further and take this to court. I told the detective to forget about it, and leave me alone. I was done dealing with this, and I felt like I had wasted my time.
I should have just kept my mouth quiet, I still think to myself. It’s been months, and I still believe that if I am ever assaulted again, I won’t report it.
My sexual assault case wasn’t the only one that let me down. Millions of people on college campuses who report sexual assault are unsatisfied and don’t receive the justice they deserve. I mean, look at the Brock Turner case.
As if there wasn’t enough holding student’s back from reporting sexual assault on campuses, a $34 fee is like the icing on the cake.