Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

No longer silent

I am a college professor-at least I was-until a male student trapped me in the classroom and said he wanted to rape me.
I spent over 2 hours listening to him describe how he molested his younger siblings, how he hated having a penis, how women are cunts, how he tortured a cat and the extreme pleasure he took from it. How holding the cat under water made him feel powerful and excited.
I didn't move. I was on the 2nd floor of the building, between 2 staircases. The college does not have ANY security measures in the classrooms, I couldn't even trigger an alarm. What was I going to do? Jump off the balcony or get caught in an empty stairwell? Besides, running from a rapist is like running from a pit bull with bacon in your pocket...
I managed to get out of the room by letting him walk me to my car-the parking lot was deserted but being in an open space made him back off. It was dangerous and could have backfired, but I HAD TO ESCAPE!
I got into my car, locked all of the doors, sped to the only locked office on campus and fell apart. I couldn't believe I made it out...little did I know I would be blamed for the incident and lose my career.

Prior to teaching I was a social worker. I've spent years working with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, abused children, even as a Victim/Witness Advocte for the local Distric Attorney's Office-specializing in minor victims of sexual assault. The irony...
Why have I dedicated my life to protecting women and children? I am an INCEST SURVIVOR. My mother was my primary aggressor, yes my MOTHER. I hope as sexually abused by her and her partners/friends from birth to age 10. There were at least 9 DIFFERENT PEOPLE and too many incidents to count. I had to be hospitalized after one incident at age 8, because my vagina was so raw and damaged I couldn't urinate. Charges were never filed, I never received any intervention, services, or therapy. I should be, what was referred to at the time, as a 'Lost Child'. Instead I became a 'Type A' perfectionist.

My family has a long and healthy history of incest. Everyone knew what happened, but nothing was done. It was just bad luck I needed to GET OVER.

I turned to school as my outlet. It was a nightmare because I was NOT popular, but my ONLY escape. I believed that if I worked hard enough, if I obtained an education, had a career, contributed to my community I would be 'good enough', I would 'matter', I wouldn't be viewed as damaged goods.

I managed to enroll in college by the time I was 20. It was heaven. I was 3000 miles away from 'home', nobody knew I was damaged, a fresh start! I became involved with community resources, did volunteer work, went to therapy-I had made it! Granted I was always batteling depression, SEVERE ANXIETY, and PTSD-but I DID IT.

When I went back to school it wasn't with the intention of becoming a teacher. Me? No way! I'm not good enough or smart enough. I wanted to stengthen my public speaking skills, group facilitation skills, but never considers myself to be...anything.

I taught my 1st class as a sub and immediately knew I had found my purpose. I could help people, but it didn't have to be in a crisis situation! Stop the problems before they start!

I taught at 2 local community colleges and a university-simultaneously. I LOVE TEACHING. LOVE IT.
I couldn't believe I'd escaped, obtained my education, found a career I adored AND finished therapy!!!!
My therapist of 5 years retired and did not refer me on-I had the skills, had done the work, now it was time to LIVE!

The incident with student at SRJC happened in 2011. The 1st administrator I had to report to, told me, "A young lady like yourself should EXPECT that kind of treatment from male students'.
I was FLOORED. The school minimized it and tried to hide the incident. I tried to continue teaching but the stress was unbearable.
I made a formal compliant. I was told there wouldn't be retaliation. I was told I would be taken seriously. The exact opposite happened and a 5 year legal battle ensued that desroyed my career-even though I 'won' my case. After 5 years without an income, I was forced to settle for less than a years salary- Even though I was determined to be disabled, by doctors CHOSEN by the defense, due to the incident and schools treatment. The magistrate said she was going to dismiss the case entirely because the case was killing me and the school did obtain a restraining order against the student. That's all they had to do, obtain a restraining order and that shows they responded to the incident. So-dismiss or settle...
Shouldn't I have been given a chance? I went through hours of psychological testing, hours of depositions, 5 years of fighting, just to be told cases like mine make people UNCOMFORTABLE, so it's best just to settle. What about MY comfort? My career? My future?

The case settled a year ago-SRJC has not done 1 thing to improve security measures. Not ONE administrator that mishandled the situation or that made comments in meetings like 'SHE WAS ASKING FOR IT' experienced ANY consequences. NONE. SRJC didn't even report it to the Chancellors office! ZERO CONSEQUENCES.
The student? No consequences and the incident isn't on his transcripts. Schools are not ALLOWED to share that information!

Me? Unemployed, lost my friends, sever depression, severe anxiety, PTSD,agoraphobia, insomnia, nightmares...and a world that expects me to just MOVE ON.

How much can a person take? What now?
I AM NOT DONE FIGHTING and will help ANYONE who needs it. I can now testify and help victims of discrimination/sexual assault. I will ALWAYS be an advocate.

The problem is that I don't know how to do it for MYSELF and I am tired AND scared. I feel like I do NOT matter. I finally stood up for myself and it didn't make a difference...
I can fight for other people, but not if I'm a mess. EVEEY day I flounder between totally giving up or continuing to fight.
I'm still here today, I plan on being here tomorrow...but I just dont know what the future holds.


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