• RISE

Interview with Hannah E. Williams

My name is Hannah. I'm currently in college or have been for several years. It happened my freshman year of college. I'm a journalism major and I was working at the radio shack. I got the 7pm shift so I was the only one in the building. My first shift I was the only room when a senior, who was already hitting on me after being rejected, came into the room. He locked the doors, took my phone, and made it seem like he just wanted to hangout. I was sexually assaulted then. It was awful and I had a panic attack. He was a senior in college doing this to freshman. I was barely 18. The next day, I reported it to the title IX coordinators and the first question they asked me, "Are you 18?,". I didn't know what that had to do [with my assault] but I said I was. They asked me if I wanted to do anything because I would ruin his life. Nothing was done about it, obviously.

I told my boyfriend and instead of comforting me, he accused me of cheating on him. I tried to move on but as I tried to go onwards with the school, some girls asked if the school helped me out. I said that they didn't and apparently, this guy did it to other girls too. It was interesting because we had title IX coordinators and consent seminars but they were shoving it all under the rug.

Not even a month later, my roommate went out and she didn't have a key so we left the door unlocked. There was a security guard so I felt safe. There was a guy selling drugs and he came in to see what he could get his hands on. That was when I was raped. I thought I was going to die that day because he walked in with a sick smile. He had his hand around my throat and I passed out. I didn't think I would wake up. I felt guilt but for no reason, I didn't do anything wrong but in the moment, you don't know that. I didn't report this one because I was in so much shock and they obviously weren't going to help me. I went about my week but the [school administration] called me in. I told them that I was raped. This was an on campus psychologist and she was supposed to help me. The next day, there were 3 police officer outside of my room and I had a panic attack. They told me I was taking too long and I was just crying. I didn't know what to do. I was kicked out of school and I went home. I was overwhelmed with guilt because I was mad at myself for letting it happen but also the fact that there were so many other girls that this happened to me. If they spoke up, their scholarships were taken away or they get taken off campus. They have to stay silent.

We have this whole painted picture of our administrators. They had a 2 hour orientation about consent but when something happens, they hide it. It's disgusting. It happens everywhere. It's honestly not shocking at all but it shocked me.

I lost all sense of myself. It's only now that I've started to get myself together. I can't let this ruin my life any longer than it has. I've been putting my story out there. People don't know that this happens as often as it does because we're always told to stay silent. Nothing will happen if you do speak up and if it does, it not positive for you. Most importantly, I listen. Anyone who says I need help, I'm there. Women have to support women. People have to support people.

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