Trigger Warning: Explicit descriptions of sexual assault and/or rape.
Before I ever set foot in Claradise, I scrolled through Instagram trying to meet potential friends. I found his profile, liked some of his photos and he liked some of mine in return.
The first night we met was when we chatted after matching on Tinder. Within the hour, he was in my room. We talked and got to know each other for a short while, bonding over the class we had together.
The next morning, he kept telling me we should have sex.
I got the impression that he wasn’t going to be happy with me if I didn’t do something for him, so I gave him head.
A few days later, I went to his apartment because we were going “to do homework” together. I didn’t want to go back to my dorm alone, so I stayed the night.
In the morning, I was half-asleep in my underwear when I turned over to see him pointing his phone camera at me.
I swatted at his hand, and he told me to stop. I couldn’t get him to put the phone down, so I laid there and let him take pictures. I told myself that it was okay, because maybe he wouldn’t show anyone. After all, it was my choice to see him in the first place, and I had to deal with the consequences.
“I think we should f**k.”
“No, I don’t think we should.”
“Because, I don’t want to.”
“I think we should do it.”
I said nothing. He pulled down my underwear, pulled my hips back toward him and had sex with me. I waited for it to be over, and thankfully it didn’t last very long.
He gradually spoke to me with less and less respect. I was a “slut” and a “b*tch” whenever he was mad. He would insult my appearance, saying I looked like a child.
He eventually started asking me to do his assignments for him—to write his essays, take his quizzes. He told me he wouldn’t speak to me any more if I didn’t do what he wanted.
I thought about calling him abusive and seeking help—but he wasn’t my boyfriend.
Any person with good sense would block his number. But I didn’t. Any protest I gave he would turn the blame on me. I sent him photos. I had sex with him. If I didn’t like him and if I didn’t want to do any of it, then why did I?
One day, I sent him a sexy Snapchat because I was looking for positive attention. He screenshotted it, going against what I thought was an unspoken rule of Snapchat.
“Don’t screenshot me, a**hole.”
“Stupid b*tch, who the f**k do you think you are talking to?”
He then requested more photos, but I refused. Later, he came over under the guise of getting help on his homework. Soon we started making out on my bed. He pulled down my panties and put his fingers in me.
“Why did you call me a ‘b*tch?’”
“Because you were acting like one.”
I tried to pull his wrist away from me, but I couldn’t. He flipped me over as I buried my head into my pillows. I had sent him a photo and allowed him to come over.
Maybe I didn’t have the right to decline.
decline. He stopped only when my roommate knocked on our door.
When I turned around, I saw he wasn’t wearing a condom. Weeks later, I got a call from the Cowell Center telling me I had tested positive for chlamydia.
“You don’t value yourself,” my mother said when I called to tell her. And she was right. But he didn’t either. I wanted to hurt him as much as he had hurt me.
I never wanted to see him again; I wanted to get revenge.
“I hope you rot in hell.”
“You didn’t get that from me you dirty slut. Watch your back around campus. Kill yourself you wh*re. No one cares about you. I’ll f*ck your mom.”
I did not know I was raped until I explained what happened in a friend’s bedroom surrounded by people I trusted.
I shared what happened from start to finish to verify if my perception of the situation was real. Was he being abusive? Was I assaulted?
My friends validated that he had assaulted me, that he’s a terrible person and encouraged me to report my assault.
I looked down at my hands tightly fastened together, thinking maybe things would work out and he could be expelled. I thought it would make the campus safer, just by telling my story.
After presenting the Title IX coordinator with screenshots of all the texts he sent, I was told that “there is no policy violation against being mean.”
She said that if he were going to be penalized, I had to prove he had intentionally given me an STI, or that he had distributed the photos, or that he had raped me.
Santa Clara concluded there was not enough evidence to prove anything, and the case was closed.
In the middle of my investigation, Title IX told me they didn’t want to go forward with it due to the “consensual nature”’ of my case. I had to tell them that coercion is a form of sexual assault. I was told that he thought I accused him of raping me because I was “jealous” he was seeing other women.
I was only granted a no-contact order. But days later, less than 10 feet away from me, there he was nonchalantly talking to another girl. I stopped the conversation I was having and ran away.
I stopped eating and stopped going to class because I was afraid of seeing him. I slept until 7 p.m. every day. I was falling behind on my school work. I stopped taking my antidepressants and almost killed myself.
Eventually, I dropped out of Santa Clara in the middle of my first year, after spending 72 hours on hold at a psychiatric ward in a nearby hospital. He went on to graduate without consequence.
I hadn’t thought that reporting what happened to me would make a difference. I was right, and Santa Clara failed me.
This story was submitted anonymously by a sexual assault survivor at Santa Clara through The Amplify Project. If you are interested in sharing your story, reach out to Emma Hyndman at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit amplifyproject.wordpress.com