College: the time in which a young person can spread their wings and begin the journey of finding out who they are meant to be. It is in fact, probably the first time most are on their own.
It can be an exciting time; students are given more responsibility and really feel in charge of their lives. They make lifelong friendships, have late night adventures, and eventually graduate to get a degree in their chosen field.
When it comes to the well-being of students, parents easily put their trust in their child's university, and I understand why parents would do that. After all, it is not unreasonable to have the expectation that universities will ultimately protect their students who have been victimized, especially after an investigation was conducted and the perpetrator had been found guilty.
An Evangel University student, who will remain anonymous, was assaulted by another student. Her relationship was abusive; she was pushed to do things that she did not feel comfortable doing.
She said no. She pushed him off. Yet, he continued. She stayed in the relationship even though she had a difficult time trusting him. At this point, you could be asking yourself why she didn't leave.
She didn't leave because of the fear of what life would be like without him; she didn't want to believe that he was as bad as his actions portrayed him to be. That is the thing with guys like him; they break down your walls, manipulate you to believe that you are nothing without them; they keep you hanging on in some way or another.
Finally, almost a year later, and much prayer and consideration, she decided to report it to the school. She said that the school was helpful and understanding in the process.
A Title IX investigation was conducted and he was ultimately found guilty. The administration decided not to suspend him, and he was allowed to stay on campus the following summer.
After all of this, she was told that she needed to stay quiet about what had happened; it was something she kept to herself until she felt she no longer could. She sought wisdom and guidance from our counselors and our campus pastor and they were so helpful during this time.
Today, while she is not fully healed, she can say that the Lord has guided her through this and that whatever consequences come to her perpetrator she believes will come from the Lord. While she is continually healing from this event, her goal moving forward is to champion on other women that have or have not been through something like this. While this is something that no college student should have to experience, she firmly believes that because of this experience she is able to relate to other women who have gone through this.
Yes, she had the support of her counselor and our campus pastor, but she was mostly left to pick up the pieces knowing that the university had done everything that they were going to. She truly deserved better. She didn't deserve to feel like she was a crazy person. She deserved to have someone truly take her seriously.
The thing is, this is not the first time sexual assault on my college campus has been mishandled. I know of at least one person per year over the last four years who reported sexual assault and it was mishandled. Chances are everyone on campus knows someone who has been victimized, whether they realize it or not.
At the end of the day, all I really want is for my university to do better. It's not a perfect university and nor am I asking it to be one; all I am asking is for them to do better.
I just want to say a huge thank you to the brave person who allowed me to write this. Your courage and willingness to speak out inspires me constantly. I am so proud of you, and if anyone else who has been through this. You did not deserve what happened to you or the way that you were treated afterward.
If you have been affected by this, there are lots of great resources you can connect with
The National Sexual Assault Hotline is 800-656-4673. If you have been victimized, please do not hesitate to reach out to a friend or by calling The National Sexual Assault Hotline. If you don't feel comfortable reaching out to a friend just yet, that is perfectly okay.