I entered “UBC sexual assault” into the Google search bar.
“UBC student assaulted on campus.”
“Sex assault at UBC sparks police warning.”
“RCMP looking for suspect after second assault at UBC.”
Reading the online headlines was when it hit me. Those articles were talking about me — I was now a news story.
I am telling my story so that “the second sexual assault” can start being seen as what it should be: a warning, and a hard-knock glimpse into a serious reality on our campus.
I arrived home at Fairview Crescent late a week ago. As I got to the door, I turned around to fetch my keys from my bag and saw a man standing behind me.
Call me naive, but I actually waved and was about to wish him a good night — I thought he was a neighbour I’d yet to meet, or another student waiting to get inside. It never occurred to me that he intended to harm me.
An attack like this one is personal. I feel violated as I walk around campus overhearing conversations about “that girl who was attacked,” or sitting in class within earshot of classmates discussing my attack.”
If you want to know what happened after that, you can read one of the dozens of news stories published about the attack. I know I have. I’ve been forced to relive the attack over and over again as friends and family, unaware that it was me who was attacked, send me news story after news story about the attack.
An attack like this one is personal. I feel violated as I walk around campus overhearing conversations about “that girl who was attacked,” or sitting in class within earshot of classmates discussing my attack.
Imagine sitting in class and having the professor bring up your sexual assault. I wanted to stand up at say, “Yo, this is my story. Who are you to talk about how I could have prevented this? Don’t I have the right to walk home alone?”
What nobody seems to understand, and no newspaper article has so far reflected, is how your perspective changes following something like this; how you become angry.”
What nobody seems to understand, and no newspaper article has so far reflected, is how your perspective changes following something like this; how you become angry. Every time I see myself referred to as a victim, I get angry. I was attacked, but I am OK, or I will be. The connotations surrounding the word “victim” make me feel weak, and suggest that somehow this man will stop me from being me. It makes me see myself as a weak, Cinderella-esque character, dependent on others.
I have never been that woman and I never will be.
It makes me angry that we don’t live in a society where I can walk home free from fear. Instead, I have to fear men because I am a woman. Instead of ending rape culture, we perpetuate it through television, through music and through our own words.
“Dude, I totally raped that midterm.”
Dude, I’m pretty sure that’s not what you did.
Despite the anger, the best I can do now is adapt. This happened to me, and it could happen to anyone reading this. Please do not let your friends walk alone at night. Please. Please. Please.
I am OK, but it doesn’t mean the woman after me will be, or the woman after her.
This piece was written by the woman attacked on Oct. 13, 2013, the second of the recent sexual assaults reported on campus. When contacted by The Ubyssey for comment, she said she preferred to tell the story herself. In line with standard journalistic practice to not identify non-perpetrators in cases of sexual violence and the woman’s request for anonymity, we have withheld her name.
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