“I remember telling him ‘no’ ”

Ohio college student says she blamed herself after assault.

She said she wasn’t attracted to the guy. She didn’t even like him.

But she never told police or university officials that he raped her.

It happened in spring 2014. The woman — who this newspaper agreed not to name — was a student at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio.

She had a drinking problem. She says she knows that now. And that night she was downing tequila in a friend’s dorm. He was there, though he didn’t drink. They had a heated debate about race.

“I remember being ready to leave, then my memory is gone,” she told this newspaper. “I remember walking across the street to my dorm, and he’s holding my arm. Then it kind of goes black again.

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“The next thing I remember, for a brief moment, I have a flash of memory where he’s on top of me … I remember telling him ‘no’ and using both hands to press up on his shoulders and trying to move him, and my memory just goes away from there.”

The next day, she blamed herself.

“I remember getting in the shower and just sitting on the ground in the shower,” she said. “I just felt very disgusted with myself. I just remember thinking over and over … ‘If you wouldn’t have drank so much this wouldn’t have happened.’ ”

In the following months she thought about telling someone at the school, but anxiety overwhelmed her. Finally she did tell an off-campus mental health counselor, but the incident was never reported to police.

She said he was expelled from school soon afterward for threatening a professor. She transferred to Wittenberg University.

“It worries me that he has perpetrated other times,” she said, adding that she has never told her family about the assault.

She doubts reporting it would do any good.

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“Based on the facts I remember, and my state and the little evidence that was there, I feel like it would be dropped very quickly,” she said. “I feel like it would be pointless. I’ll put myself out there and it won’t be believed and nothing will happen. And now people will know. And that would be it.”

Her story is a common one, according to survivor advocates, who say what victims need is more places to report assaults and get support and work their way toward engaging the criminal justice system.

“If I could be assured I would be supported and believed and something would happen, if we saw a more consistent arrest or conviction rate, I think reporting rates would increase,” she said. “People would feel more confident.”


Editor’s note: This story is part of a special report by the I-Team on how campus police at Ohio’s universities handle reports of sexual assault. Parts of this series contain detailed descriptions of alleged sexual assaults. We believe these narratives — gathered over several months — are vital for understanding campus sexual assault, and the alleged crimes that led to no charges being filed.

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