The name of the sexual assault victim in this story has been changed in order to protect her anonymity.
On Nov. 13 between 1 and 2 a.m., Indiana University sophomore Audrie Davis was sexually assaulted by two men, thus making her one of at least 10 reported victims on campus in the fall semester and one of 14 in the past year, all being women.
A self-proclaimed “insomniac," Davis said she decided to take a stroll around campus. She said she noticed the beauty of the Dunn Woods on campus and then decided to go inside. Before she could enter, however, two men came out from the both sides of the forest behind her and attacked her.
This is where Audrie Davis was assaulted by her two attackers.
“They kind of jostled me around a bit,” Davis said. “One of the guys had a [razor] to my throat. It was fast. I don’t remember a lot.”
Davis clarified later that the weapon used against her was the razor blade from an X-Acto knife.
Davis admitted that since her attackers were pushing her around – and because they were wearing dark hoods over their heads – she was unable to detect any defining characteristics.
Davis said she managed to push down the razor from her attacker’s hand and fell down from his grip. She said she was told later by authorities that she was hit on the head when she fell and was knocked out unconscious, but she said that she has no memory of this.
“What I remember is that I jumped up and ran to the light,” she said. “[The attackers] didn’t follow me, I guess, because I was in the light and around people. I called my friend Daniel and waited for him by the Sample Gates [the entrance to the university].”
Davis’s friend arrived two minutes after her call at 1:46 a.m. and headed towards the police to report her story. Her attackers still remain at large.
While sexual assault on college campuses is frequent, Davis is included in a considerably larger statistic. The university is currently seeing a drastic increase in sexual assault reporting. While a recent survey conducted by the university said that 86 percent of undergraduate women and 85 percent of graduate women do not report their sexual assaults, this increase in reporting could potentially decrease those statistics.
The student-led organization Raising Awareness of Interactions in Sexual Encounters (RAISE) works to prevent further events like this from occurring, as well as to encourage victims to report their incidents. Co-president Karis Neufeld has said that she noticed the large increase of reports.
“It seems like you see them every day,” she said. “I think reporting has been unusually high this semester.”
Neufeld clarifies that she thinks there has only been an increase in reporting, not assaults. She also said one of the primary reasons for the regularity of sexual assaults are lack of sexual education, as well as the increased use of drugs and alcohol once students arrive on campus.
“A lot of people come to college, and they’re thrown in this environment, and they don’t have a lot of experience with alcohol or drugs – or even sex – and they don’t know how to ask for consent,” she said.
When asked about the same thing, Davis attributed the reasons for the attacks to the large-scale size of the university, as well as its reputation for being a “party school.”
Though she insists that sexual assault is still a problem, Neufeld said that the increase in reporting could bring hope. “More survivors [now realize] that if they report their experience, it will be listened to,” she said.
So here’s the rub: do we call what’s happening on my campus a triumph or a tragedy?
You’re probably confused by the drastic shift I just took there with this article from the strict objectivity of almighty journalism to an editorial tone, but I think this piece deserves its own commentary.
I’ve been attempting to publish this for over a month now with little to no luck, but to be honest, I think I found the right group of people to give this to. My generation needs to know this is happening more than anyone.
While I think one is too many people to be assaulted at any point, I'm not ignorant enough to propose that only 14 women and no men have been sexually assaulted and/or raped since fall 2015, and until our reporting level reaches 100 percent, we have no victory to celebrate. The battle is still raging, and the war has just begun.
We can't be silent any longer. The world needs to know that it’s no longer safe to walk out alone at night. The world needs to know that battle for gender equality is far from over. The world needs to know that my school has basically become Sweden for women. The world needs to know that we all still need feminism.
So let the world hear your voices. Show everyone what has been going on not only at IU but all other schools in the country. Get angry, because you deserve to be. Petition. Protest. Protect. It’s your body and your right, and nobody – I mean nobody – ever had the right to decide what’s best for it.
“Survivors unite! Take back the night!”