“I told him to stop. He thought I was joking. I froze.”

Kristina Erickson, Beloit College (Wisc.)

Click here to read her story.

It took a long time for Kristina Erickson to realize that she had been raped in a dorm at Beloit College.

“We were kind of wrestling around,” she said. “Things turned more sexual. I told him to stop. He thought I was joking. I froze.”

Afterward, she brushed it off. But later, in her senior year, a flashback crystallized what had gone wrong, and she broke down sobbing.

Not long afterward, in the crowded basement of a fraternity house during a party, a drunk man stuck his hand up her skirt as Erickson — totally sober — was walking past. She grabbed his hand, shoved it away and yelled at him to never touch her again. In that case, she filed a complaint with the college.

Erickson later wrote an essay for the student newspaper in which she disclosed that her mother had been raped while she was a student at Beloit in the 1980s.

“I am a legacy child in more ways than one,” she wrote, “and I have inherited the rape culture on our campus that I’m sure she prayed would be gone by the time I got here.”

Erickson, 23, graduated from Beloit in 2013 and teaches high school English in the Phoenix area.

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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“I was like, ‘No, please stop.’ He was like, ‘No, you’ll like it.'

Female student, Queens University of Charlotte

Click here to read her story.

The summer before her senior year, an acquaintance invited her to watch a movie in his dorm room on campus. He had a girlfriend, so she didn’t think anything sexual would happen. But as the movie wore on, he started kissing her and she felt uncomfortable.

“It got to the part where he tried to take off my clothes,” she said. “I was like, ‘No, please stop.’ He was like, ‘No, you’ll like it.’ And I was like, ‘No, stop.’ ”

“Some people are able to yell or scream, but when I get really stressed out I kind of shut down, so I just sort of disassociated myself and was trying to figure out how to get him off of me,” she said. As he began to rape her, she said, she asked whether he would get a condom, and he let go of her.

She confronted him immediately.

“He was like, ‘I didn’t rape you,’ ” she said. “I was like, ‘I told you I did not want your penis in my vagina, and that’s what happened, so how is that not rape?’ ”

Less than a year later, they both enrolled in the same small science course. She eventually dropped it, choosing to take it over the summer so she wouldn’t have to be in the same room as him.

“Even after I graduated, he would occasionally message me,” she said. “I think I was hoping that he would realize that what he did was wrong.”

She didn’t report the incident because her mother worried that it would be more stressful to go through that process than to leave it alone.

“I think he thought because we had started, because he had kissed me and I didn’t immediately shove him off and say what the f---, that meant he was entitled to have sex with me or something,” she said. “Which is not true.”

— Reported by Emma Brown
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“I don’t know why guys just think, ‘If I just do it, she’ll do it, too.’

Saalika Khan, Towson University (Md.)

Click here to read her story.

Saalika Khan had fallen asleep in a friend’s room after a party when someone else’s boyfriend crept up, started kissing her neck and tried to get into bed with her.

“I woke up and was pushing him off, telling him to back off,” Khan recalled. She was 18 at the time, a community college student in Maryland.

“He had his arms around my waist,” she said. She shoved, slapped and punched him. “I got out of there.”

Now 25, Khan is a student at Towson University. “When I look back on that, it could’ve gone worse,” she said. She hopes stories like hers help draw attention to sexual assault.

“I don’t want anyone to hide anymore,” she said. “It’s such a hush-hush type of topic. It’s not healthy.”

Khan said her experience has taught her the benefit of explicit consent: “I don’t know why guys think, ‘If I just do it, she’ll do it, too.’ I never understood that. There has to be a conversation, you know?”

She also has a suggestion for colleges: Teach martial arts and self-defense. “That would be fantastic,” she said.

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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“I woke up the next morning without any pants on, and without any recollection.

Female student, University of Pittsburgh

Click here to read her story.

A classmate at the University of Pittsburgh took her out to an Italian restaurant one night during her freshman year, then over to a friend’s house. He handed her a drink. It might have been a juiced vodka. A very strong one.

“I woke up the next morning without any pants on, and without any recollection,” she said.

Except for two details: She remembered there had been a baseball game on television the night before, and that there was an inflatable dolphin in the room.

“I was young,” the woman, now 25, said. “I didn’t understand what happened until later, maybe a few weeks later, when this person made a comment about wanting to see me again and do what he did before. It led me to believe we had some sort of sexual contact.”

If so, the woman said, it was without her consent; she was incapacitated.

“I was in no state of mind” to say yes to sex, she said. “The memory is so, so foggy.”

The man, a couple years older, was kind, good-looking, church-going, close to his family. “I put too much faith in him,” the woman said. “His personality didn’t lead me to believe he would do something like that.”

In the years since, she hasn’t dwelled on the incident. “It hasn’t severely impacted me,” she said. “He’s gone about his life, and I’ve gone about mine.”

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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“Definitely there’s an awkwardness to saying no.”

Male student, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Click here to read his story.

He was drinking with a small group of people in a dorm room when she approached him and sat down on his lap. Alcohol was flowing, loud music was playing. He didn’t want to hook up with her, but it seemed socially inappropriate to push her off.

“You don’t want to be rude, you don’t want to be weird,” he said. “Definitely there’s an awkwardness to saying no.”

When his friends saw what was happening, they moved the party elsewhere, and he was left alone with a girl he didn’t know. He knew he didn’t want to have sex with her, but she was persistent and he didn’t say no.

As things heated up, he said he felt his body sent him a message: He didn’t get an erection. Even though he was uncomfortable with the situation, he was confused by his body’s behavior.

“I’m like ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, I must be broken, this doesn’t make sense,’ ” he said. “So what I told myself, and I think it’s true, is for me it’s important that I like someone, I like their personality to an extent enough that I can become sexually attracted to them. And if I’m not at that point, then it’s not wanted.”

He said it would have been the first time he had sex with someone after breaking up with his high school girlfriend, and he just wasn’t ready for it. “It would have been a momentous life event, like a new chapter,” he said.

Even though the woman’s advances were unwanted, he said he didn’t consider it to be a sexual assault. “She could not have known that she was doing anything wrong,” he said

— Reported by Emma Brown
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“I had no intention of sleeping with this woman. I kept telling her.”

Daniel Episcope, University of the Pacific

Click here to read his story.

Daniel Episcope has definitely seen some troubling things in college, like when he visited a big state school and saw a guy slipping something into punch he was mixing for a party. Episcope, shocked, asked, “What IS that?”

The guy shrugged, he said, and answered: “You gotta do what you gotta do to get some.”

So Episcope worried about women getting into bad situations, and thought, “We need to protect the girls.”

But over time, he came to believe, with surprise, that it was more complicated than that: “It happens to both sides.”

When he was a sophomore studying abroad in Shanghai, some other exchange students suddenly started pouring him shots. “These women were like, ‘Drink, drink, drink, drink!’ ” he said, and because it was the first place where he was legally old enough to drink, he got much too drunk too quickly. One woman had told him she wanted to thank him for helping her move in. As he drifted in and out of blackouts, he realized he was having sex with her.

He mostly laughs it off, but it was troubling, too. It wasn’t like he could say no, or walk away.

Another time, back in California, Episcope stopped by a party at his fraternity after work. He chatted with a woman he knew slightly, then said good night to her and his friends, and headed upstairs to go to sleep. About 15 minutes later, he said, the woman came into his room, very drunk and making it very clear that she was interested in him. He was sober, he was tired, he had a girlfriend, he had absolutely no intention of having sex with her, he said.

He asked her to leave, but she wouldn’t go. “I had no intention of sleeping with this woman. I kept telling her. She was really belligerent,” he said. He then led her out of his room.

That’s where it went from annoying to alarming: As he opened the door to the hall, “she fell on the ground, screaming, ‘Stop it, stop it, I don’t want to have sex with you!’ Then she looked around to see if anyone was paying attention. She was trying to stage it.”

If someone had heard her, he has no doubt they would believe her story first.

“She took advantage of that perception that girls are weak, girls are the victims, and totally turned the tables on me.

“That was completely messed up. I have yet to forgive that girl for that incident,” he said. He thought he was just turning down an unwelcome offer, but suddenly he was imagining himself trying to fight a false accusation of attempted assault.

After that, he thought, with shock, “I need to be open and hear both parties before I pass judgment.”

— Reported by Susan Svrluga
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“Thinking people would have found a way to stop it if they didn’t want it is victim-blaming, and it is as ridiculous as telling a victim of a robbery that they would have stopped a robbery if they really didn’t want it to happen.”

Female student, Northern Illinois University

Click here to read her story.

The student at Northern Illinois University had an appointment in Chicago and needed a ride. So she arranged to stay that night in April 2013 with a friend who could drive her into the city the next morning.

“She picked me up on campus and took me back to her place after my classes,” the student, now 23, recalled. “The night was uneventful, but when it was later, and I was getting ready to sleep, she started to kiss me. I froze and didn’t reciprocate.”

She said she didn’t know what to do.

“She told me not to be such a prude and said that she knew I wanted it and kept on kissing,” she said. “I turned my head away but she didn’t stop. She started touching me other places. I still didn’t say anything. After a bit she stopped and called me a prude.”

The next day, the student, who is a lesbian, told her then-romantic partner what had happened.

“All she said was, ‘If you didn’t want it to happen, you would have found a way to stop it.’ . . . I didn’t talk about it at all to anyone over summer. I cried a lot and felt dirty, and just gross. I felt like it was my fault and like I was broken. I felt like I had been unfaithful to my partner because I didn’t stop it.”

During the next school year, the student said her grades plunged, and she had a hard time focusing on classes.

“I had to take two incompletes in the fall and it just felt like I was crying all the time. Everything felt like a blur and I felt dirty, small and numb,” she said. “I felt like a zombie.”

The student did not report the incident.

“The person that did it never had repercussions for her actions,” she said. In the past year, her grades have improved and she is starting to heal. She said she wants to tell her story because too often sexual assault within the LGBT community goes unnoticed.

“For me, it almost felt like there was an extra additional component of shame,” she said. “Logically, I know it is not my fault. I know what happened was sexual assault, but I still do struggle with feelings of guilt and being dirty. I want people to know that the culture and beliefs we have about sexual assault in this country are not healthy. Thinking people would have found a way to stop it if they didn’t want it is victim-blaming, and it is as ridiculous as telling a victim of a robbery that they would have stopped a robbery if they really didn’t want it to happen.”

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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“There was no question about consent. I said ‘no’ and he didn’t care.”

Female student, Northern Arizona University

Click here to read her story.

She kind of liked kissing the guy, at least at first. The 19-year-old sophomore was visiting friends last fall at Arizona State University in Tempe, a couple of hours from her own campus. She was at a party, outside smoking with the DJ, who had been trying to pick up her friend and was now flirting with her. She didn’t mind the kisses but had no plans to go further. She never had before.

“I’m not sexually active,” she said. “I’m very old-fashioned.”

That didn’t stop the man, another sophomore. She says he led her to the deserted kitchen, pushed her against the counter and began groping her under her clothes as she tried to shove his hands away. He tried to pull her into another room and she went from annoyed to frightened. She was pushing him hard when her friends came in and immediately pulled her out of the house.

“There was no question about consent,” she said. “I said ‘no’ and he didn’t care.”

But as they climbed into a cab, the man ran out and insisted the girl come with him. The cab driver told him to get away from the car. She was shaking and worried that the man knew where they were staying. She called another friend and went to his apartment at 1 a.m. “I was crying in the rain,” she said.

She slept, but she awoke to another scare: Her phone was full of messages from the man. He had found her on Tinder, a dating app that indicated to him that she was nearby.

“I can tell you’re within a mile of me,” he texted. She panicked all over again. Her friend took her phone and realized the man lived in the same building. He and some buddies paid the man a visit, she said.

“They just told me they handled it,” the woman said. “I never heard from him again.”

But the episode exacerbated problems with anxiety and depression that she had already been experiencing. She flunked her classes that semester and has temporarily withdrawn from school.

— Reported by Steve Hendrix
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“We had sex, or more accurately, she had sex with me.

Male student, Public university in North Carolina

Click here to read his story.

Twice, this student recalled, a woman “took advantage” of him when he was “far, far too intoxicated.” The man, now 23, is graduating this year from a public university in North Carolina.

The woman was a friend of a friend. While he was partying on his 21st birthday, he said, she pulled him into her room. “We had sex, or more accurately, she had sex with me,” he said. “That was not something I was thrilled about.”

She did it again after he had gone bar-hopping on St. Patrick’s Day. The man said he doesn’t much blame the woman.

“Technically and legally,” he said, it was sexual assault in both cases because he was incapacitated. But he said he was not traumatized. “I should have been more aware of my surroundings,” he said. “I hold myself responsible.”

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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“I think these boys think they can do it and nothing will happen to them.

Female student, University of Michigan

Click here to read her story.

She was flirting with a guy at a fraternity party, getting drunk on cheap vodka, when he invited her upstairs to his room. They started making out. The 19-year-old student at the University of Michigan remembers that much.

“I consented to that, but I don’t remember consenting to anything else,” she said. Her perceptions got “blurrier and blurrier.” She blacked out and woke up later on a couch downstairs. The woman didn’t know exactly what had happened, but suspected things had gone way too far.

“I was kind of freaking out,” she recalled.

Another man at the fraternity, whom she considered a friend, relayed to her a couple days later what he had heard: That the guy said he had sex with her. This friend said the woman’s judgment about what happened was wrong: “There’s a difference between having drunk, regrettable sex and being raped,” she remembers him telling her.

The woman said they are no longer friends. She decided not to report the incident to authorities, in part because she didn’t know how intoxicated her attacker had been that night.

“I didn’t want to start an entire thing,” she said. “I didn’t want that whole frat to have a backlash against me.”

Now, the woman said, she is leery of fraternity parties, excessive drinking and “the whole hookup scene.” She is a women’s studies major, and she wants to get active in sexual assault prevention. “I’m a big advocate for ending this.”

The woman said the university should do more than teach bystanders to intervene in risky situations. “The people who are committing sexual assault are the people on this campus,” she said, adding that they need a clear message: “Don’t assault people.”

“I also feel like there should be harsher punishment,” she said. “I think these boys think they can do it and nothing will happen to them.”

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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I felt so unsafe in the relationship all the time.”

Female student, University of Nebraska Omaha

Click here to read her story.

She dated the same man for six years, starting in high school and continuing in college. Only after she left him, moving out of their shared home at the behest of her concerned family, did she realize that she had been raped multiple times during their relationship.

“He was never super violent against me but it was very much a lack of consent,” she said. “He would continue to berate me until I gave in.”

Once when they were driving, for example, he refused to let her out of the car until she performed oral sex. “Eventually I gave in so I could get myself out of that situation,” she said.

Toward the end of their relationship, she began having panic attacks and she didn’t want to leave their house. Later she realized that her anxiety was directly tied to her fears related to sex. “I felt so unsafe in the relationship all the time,” she said.

She said she and her boyfriend grew up believing that in a relationship, it is the woman’s job to meet the needs of the man. She believed that if she withheld sex, it would physically harm her boyfriend.

Neither she nor her boyfriend had ever heard of the concept of consent.

“It was never taught to me, that that was an option, to really say no and mean it,” she said. “He’s a good person and what happened was not due to maliciousness but due to lack of knowledge about boundaries and consent.”

She said that she didn’t talk with her ex-boyfriend until he called her a couple years after they broke up. He had gone through sexual assault training for his job, and he recognized his own behavior. He wanted to apologize.

“For him to recognize he had put me through that was relieving,” she said. “It took a long time for me to label it as assault or rape, and even now it feels weird.”

— Reported by Emma Brown
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Yes means yes is a good thing.”

Female student, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Click here to read her story.

She was 18, and it was her first semester at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Like everyone, she was eager to meet as many people as possible, and alcohol seemed to help her do that. She was drunk when she realized that a fellow student had initiated sex.

“Someone just started having sex with me without my consent. I guess probably because of the alcohol,” she says now, seven years later. It ended quickly after she told him to stop, but it’s still something that bothers her, something she thinks about from time to time.

She can’t remember how it started.

“I was really drunk and I just kind of remember becoming aware that it was happening,” she said. “I think as far as the spectrum of things that could go wrong, I think that it’s sort of understandable. . . . It could’ve been conceived as consent in a way. It wasn’t like I said no and it happened anyway.”

But she doesn’t think she affirmatively agreed to anything.

“I feel like I should have been able to verbalize, ‘I would like to do this,’ or ‘I wouldn’t like to do this,’ before it happened,” she said. “Yes means yes is a good thing.”

— Reported by Emma Brown
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“It was as if I was having a stroke.

Female student, Public university in Kentucky

Click here to read her story.

This student at a public university in Kentucky, now 25, said that four years ago she was drugged at a nightclub. She and her friends believe that a man slipped a date-rape drug into her mixed drink of gin and pineapple juice. His motive, they figured, was to try to assault her. The drug had a powerful effect, she recalled.

“It was as if I was having a stroke,” she said. A friend reached into her purse, took her cellphone and called her roommate to come pick her up. She got home safely.

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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“He was just one of those guys who didn’t care. I don’t think I was the first.

Female student, University of Mary (N.D.)

Click here to read her story.

When she was a sophomore at the University of Mary, a small private Catholic college in North Dakota, she left campus to visit friends in another town.

She got drunk and ended up going home with an acquaintance.

“He tried and I kinda said no, and he kinda did it anyway,” she said. “I said I wanted to go home right after. I never talked to him again.”

She doesn’t know why he didn’t respect her “no.”

“He just didn’t,” she said. “He was just one of those guys who didn’t care. I don’t think I was the first.”

She didn’t report it: “I think it would have caused more issues. I had friends that knew him. . . . I didn’t want it to become public.”

That was several years ago, and she still has trouble with relationships. “I just don’t really trust anyone,” she said.

— Reported by Emma Brown
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“So it’s like we’re both raping each other.

Female student, Private university in the Northeast

Click here to read her story.

When she drank in high school, it was mostly beer. When she got to college, she started binge drinking with hard liquor — think mystery punch from a Gatorade cooler.

“That’s where I got into trouble,” said the 24-year-old woman who recently graduated from a private university in the Northeast. She said that kind of drinking, mixed with sex, inevitably leads to confusion and pain.

“When you wake up the next day, you’re like, ‘What? This is not okay. I didn’t agree to this.’ ” But if the other person was also drunk, she said, “I could as easily have been sexually assaulting him as he was sexually assaulting me.”

She said she doesn’t believe she had any sexual encounters in college in which a man forced himself on her even though she told him to stop.

“If someone said, ‘Have you ever been sexually assaulted?’ I’d say no. But there have been times when I wasn’t able to consent to sex.”

It was upsetting, she said, to realize after the fact that she was too drunk to give a coherent “yes.” It was alarming to wake up wondering where she was and what exactly had happened. But she said the men involved also might have been too drunk.

“Whether the other person had the capacity to consent either is something to take into account,” she said. “So it’s like we’re both raping each other.”

The woman added: “I’m not for blaming a woman because she’s intoxicated. I don’t think that’s a reason to be like, ‘Well, she was asking for it.’ But in a lot of these cases, if I hadn’t been as intoxicated as I was, I would have been able to make a different decision.”

She never reported any of the incidents to authorities.

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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“Relationships really changed for me. Being alone with a guy in a room really changed for me, too.”

Female student, California Baptist University

Click here to read her story.

She went to a party with a friend during her sophomore year. It was a house party, with mostly students from the nearby campus of the University of California, Riverside.

When her friend got drunk and needed to vomit, she helped her to a bathroom. Afterward, she stayed in the adjacent bedroom for a moment by herself. A man came in — someone she didn’t know but had talked to that night. He was very drunk; she had been drinking but had stopped in order to be sober enough to drive home.

“He came into the room and sat on the bed with me. We were just talking. He put his arms around me. I said I’m uncomfortable with that, and stood up,” she said. “I said, ‘I’m going to get a drink, do you want to come?’ He blocked the door.”

She said he dragged her to the bed and tore off her clothes. He put his hands around her throat and threatened to strangle her if she screamed. He was on top of her and close to raping her, she said, when she reached down and squeezed his genitals. She got out from under him, she said, and ran out of the room.

She said she reported the attack to the police, and they took swabs from underneath her fingernails. But she never heard anything about what came of their investigation.

Afterward, she stayed away from parties, she said. “I didn’t feel like going out anymore,” she said. “Relationships really changed for me. Being alone with a guy in a room really changed for me, too.”

— Reported by Emma Brown
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“I felt like it was a really rude thing that was done to me because I said ‘no,’ and he didn’t listen.”

Female student, University of Connecticut

Click here to read her story.

She was clear with her freshman-year boyfriend: She didn’t want to have sex. She wasn’t ready. She was a virgin.

She refused his entreaties more than once. And then, in the spring semester of her freshman year, she woke from a deep sleep to discover that he was raping her.

“I woke up and realized it wasn’t a dream, and I freaked out and I didn’t know what to do,” she said.

She went home that weekend and didn’t speak to her boyfriend for several days. The following week, she confronted him. He wanted to keep dating, but she said that wasn’t an option, not after what he had done.

The fallout was immediate. She said she and her boyfriend shared the same friends, and many of them sided with him. The comfortable social life that she had built at school seemed to evaporate overnight.

Years later, she still doesn’t know what her boyfriend was thinking. Maybe he figured if he started having sex with her, she’d eventually come around and enjoy it. Maybe he figured it wasn’t really assault if she was asleep.

“I don’t think he felt like it was rape,” she said. “He definitely felt like what he did wasn’t that wrong.”

She didn’t report the incident to police.

“I was really offended,” she said. “I felt like it was a really rude thing that was done to me because I said ‘no,’ and he didn’t listen. But I moved on pretty well. I don’t like him, but I’m not going to let him control my life.”

— Reported by Emma Brown
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“I had zero intentions of having sex that night. It’s not what I wanted to happen.

Alexandra Le Blanc, American University (D.C.)

Click here to read her story.

One fall night in the nation’s capital, Alexandra Le Blanc went to a party with a guy she had known for about a week.

They both got “pretty intoxicated,” the 19-year-old American University student recalled. At the end of the party, Le Blanc found herself in a jam: A friend who was carrying her room key had left. So her date invited her over to his house.

“When he started kissing me, it was definitely consensual,” Le Blanc said. But she didn’t want it to go too far. “I had zero intentions of having sex that night. It’s not what I wanted to happen.”

To Le Blanc’s distress, it did. “I didn’t say no, but I didn’t really know what to do. I just kind of froze. I was visibly crying during the experience.”

Afterward she fled his house to stay with someone else. When the man called the next day, Le Blanc told him she was upset.

“He was so apologetic, and generally didn’t realize he had done anything wrong,” she recalled. “When we discussed it, he felt terrible.” She cried. “I was a wreck. I very much felt it had to be sexual assault.” But she didn’t report the incident to authorities.

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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“I kept asking for help, and no one would help me.

Sarah Honos, Eastern Michigan University

Click here to read her story.

Sarah had never been to New York before, so when she visited a friend starting orientation at Pace University, they had a fun night in the city. She had stopped drinking, not wanting to get too drunk, and they were headed back to their hotel in New Jersey around 10 p.m. when she thought her friends were getting off the subway and realized too late, standing on the platform, that it was the wrong stop.

The door closed on her friends, and the train sped away. Her cellphone was in her friend’s purse.

She asked for directions to the Port Authority, but no one in Times Square seemed to know or was sober enough to explain it, until a man said he was going there himself and could show her the way.

It wasn’t until the bus they were on crossed the Hudson River that she started to worry.

When they got off the bus, he led her into a liquor store, forced alcohol down her throat, took her into the bathroom and raped her.

Then he left.

She spent the rest of the night confused, terrified, walking through the dark, asking for help to find her hotel in another part of New Jersey.

People laughed at her; people ignored her. At one point she found herself in a neighborhood where no one spoke English; at another she realized a man was trying to take her to his apartment, and she fled.

“The thing that really shocked me,” she said, “was that no woman would help me. I kept asking for help, and no one would help me.”

She got back to her hotel at 9 a.m. She never told anyone what happened.

“I try not to think about it,” she said. “It’s just a really awful memory.”

— Reported by Susan Svrluga
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I feel like I did that to myself.”

Female student, University of Central Florida

Click here to read her story.

It happened twice during her first two years at the University of Central Florida: She got drunk and climbed into bed with a male friend, only to have sex that she later regretted.

The incidents lay bare the gray areas that can arise between two people, particularly when alcohol and drugs are involved. She was too intoxicated to consent, she said, but now, at 24, she doesn’t think it’s fair to call either incident rape.

“I had too much to drink, I’m going to lay in your bed, and at that point I’m too drunk to make the right decision,” she said. “It never felt like a big deal until the morning after.”

In each instance, she confronted her friend afterward. In the first case, he listened and apologized, and they remained friends. In the second case, he said he didn’t feel bad about what had happened. She had wanted it, he said.

“We didn’t stay friends,” she said. “He didn’t want to talk it out.”

She didn’t report either incident, partly because nothing came of reports of sexual assaults by two of her friends. But also because she felt like what happened was partly her fault.

“I felt like I was responsible for this happening but I don’t know, I didn’t feel so great about myself,” she said. “I feel like I did that to myself.”

— Reported by Emma Brown
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“In our day, it’s just become something you shut up about. You deal with it. It happens.”

Female student, Public university in the Southeast

Click here to read her story.

What’s the point of reporting a sexual assault?, asked the 20-year-old student from a public university in the Southeast.

“It always makes girls look like they’re wrong,” she said. “That it’s your fault in some kind of way because you were at the party, or you were dressed in a certain way.”

In her case, she has told only a few friends about the incident at a fraternity party during her freshman year at an off-campus house. She had been drinking — she was not fully coherent but was not blackout drunk. There was loud music. She ducked into a bathroom connected to a bedroom. When she came out, there was a man waiting for her. He had her trapped.

“He was grabbing me,” she said. When the groping turned aggressive and forceful, she told him to stop. He pushed her onto a bed. “I’d never experienced anything that extreme,” she said.

She somehow wriggled away, found her friends and fled the party. But she didn’t file a report with the university, or the police.

“I don’t trust the process at all,” she said. “In our day, it’s just become something you shut up about. You deal with it. It happens.”

She said three other female students have told her they were raped or sexually assaulted.

“I don’t like the idea that ‘Men are just going to be men,’ ” she said. “There’s bad people who do stuff like that, and there’s people who don’t.” How to prevent it? “It’s got to be taught at home.”

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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“We were just good friends. Not anymore.

Sarah Jane Boyer, Southwestern College (Kan.)

Click here to read her story.

Sarah Jane Boyer often had friends over to her off-campus apartment during her last year in college. They would drink wine, watch movies and play board games. One time, she and one of her friends ended up having sex.

“Basically it was one of those instances where I said ‘no’ a couple of times, but I was so intoxicated that really, I shouldn’t have been able to say yes or no,” she said.

She said she later confronted her friend, but he denied anything had happened. She dropped it and never reported it to authorities.

“It wasn’t traumatic or anything. It’s not like it was full-on rape where it truly affected my life, so I didn’t push it,” says Boyer, 25. “It’s one of those things where the technical term of it was rape, but at the same time, because of how it affected my life — I don’t put it in terms of rape.”

She said she felt hurt that her friend violated her trust. “We were just good friends,” she said. “Not anymore.”

— Reported by Emma Brown
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If I could’ve made a decision, I wouldn’t have chosen to do that.”

Rachel Sienkowski, Michigan State University

Click here to read her story.

During the first few weeks of her freshman year, Rachel Sienkowski got drunk before a big home football game against the University of Notre Dame. She blacked out. When she came to, she was in her dorm room with a strange man. Her head was bloody, and she couldn’t remember what had happened.

“I was very confused,” Sienkowski says now, nearly three years later. “I woke up. He was in the room. I didn’t know who he was or how I got there or how long I had been there.”

She reported the incident to police, who sent her to the hospital to get the cut on her head taken care of. She asked for a rape kit to be completed, and the examination showed signs of sex — but it couldn’t tell her whether the intercourse had been consensual or not.

She felt violated. Having sex with a random stranger just isn’t something she would do, she said.

Police tracked down the man, who was not a Michigan State student. According to police records, he said that he and Sienkowski met while tailgating, had both been drunk and both engaged in an evening of consensual sex. Sienkowski had even given him hickeys on his neck, he said, and he provided photographs as evidence.

Ultimately, the county prosector decided not to file charges.

Sienkowski is bothered that she doesn’t know what happened that night. Even though she was too drunk to know what she was doing, rape doesn’t seem like the right term to her. But it wasn’t consensual sex, either.

“Part of it was probably consensual,” she said. “It’s hard explaining that to people. But I knew it wasn’t totally consensual.”

She said that she never would pick someone out of a crowd and then take them back to her room to have sex. “It’s not something I would do,” she said. “If I could’ve made a decision, I wouldn’t have chosen to do that.”

— Reported by Emma Brown
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“It’s uncomfortable to step in, but you have to.

Female student, University of Cincinnati

Click here to read her story.

She was drunk at a house party during her sophomore year when she realized that she was on a couch, making out with a guy who had his hands up her skirt, inside her underwear.

Terrified, she jumped up, ran out of the party and walked home. She was a virgin, and to her, what had just happened was clearly assault. But she wasn’t sure whether he would see it that way.

He apologized afterward, and she didn’t report the incident; she couldn’t remember enough about it to be confident that he should be charged.

“Accusing someone of sexually assaulting you is a really big deal, and I wasn’t putting him in that position,” she said.

She said it had lasting effects on the way she interacted with men, and it also served as a warning. She has been careful about alcohol, and she hasn’t been out-of-control drunk since that night.

“That whole feeling when you get into college that you’re invincible, it’s just not true,” she said.

She thinks about the other partygoers that night, who filtered through the room where she and the man were making out. They laughed, she said, but they should have intervened.

“They should have been like, ‘Whoa, she’s way too drunk, maybe you shouldn’t be doing this,’ ” she said. “They could have had my back.”

Rape and sexual assault could be prevented more often if it were cool for young people to step in and take care of friends whose judgment has been compromised, she said.

“Obviously, I didn’t really comprehend what was happening until it was almost too late. I don’t think anyone in that state of mind can give any kind of consent,” she said.

She recently intervened to help a woman she didn’t know. The woman was obviously intoxicated at a bar, and a man was hitting on her, trying to take her home.

The University of Cincinnati student — who has now graduated — offered to walk the woman home. The next time she showed up at that bar, the bartender thanked her for taking action. “It’s uncomfortable to step in, but you have to,” she said.

— Reported by Emma Brown
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“Nothing that happened that night would have happened if I’d been sober.

Female student, Virginia Commonwealth University

Click here to read her story.

Maybe it was because she gave blood the day before, but the 20-year-old freshman suddenly realized that she was way too drunk for her own good. It was at a rowdy party during the 2014 summer term at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the only person she knew was her new roommate.

She’d been dancing with a stranger, an older student who also was drinking heavily. She collapsed on a couch and told him she felt sick. His suggestion: Come upstairs and lie down for a bit. “In the back of my mind I was like, ‘Don’t go upstairs,’ ” she recalled. “But I also thought that would be safe.”

Upstairs, she threw up in the bathroom. He led her to a bed. She didn’t want the sex that followed, but she was in no shape to stop it. “I was too drunk to say no. But if I wasn’t drunk, I wouldn’t have gone upstairs at all,” she said. “Nothing that happened that night would have happened if I’d been sober.”

She woke up the next morning, threw up again and went looking for her lost eyeglasses. As the days passed, she got angrier. A friend described the episode as an example of “rape culture,” in which the man felt it was okay to have sex with a nearly incapacitated woman.

That sounded right to her, but she wishes she hadn’t let herself be led to that bedroom.

“I was taken advantage of in my drunken state, and people shouldn’t do that,” she said. “But people need to be responsible for their safety.”

She hasn’t been as drunk since, and she’s still working up the nerve to go to a party. “I keep telling myself, ‘Be with people you trust and stop things before they get to a point.’ ”

— Reported by Steve Hendrix
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“There’s definitely this idea that permeates hookup culture and sexual life in college — that if you go to a certain point and turn someone on, then you owe it to them to go all the way.”

Female student, Scripps College (Calif.)

Click here to read her story.

She was out with friends at a karaoke bar one night during her study abroad program in Osaka, Japan, flirting a little with one of them. When it was time to go back to the hotel, she realized she had had too much to drink and was having trouble walking steadily.

When her friend was in her room, he asked her what she wanted to do and she told him she didn’t want to go very far, she said.

“I also wasn’t in quite a state of mind to be able to really express myself very well, so what ended up happening was much farther than I ever intended,” she said.

Her memory of the night, which is a little spotty, is that she was a passive recipient, not someone actively taking part.

“There’s definitely this idea that permeates hookup culture and sexual life in college — that if you go to a certain point and turn someone on, then you owe it to them to go all the way.”

It wasn’t nearly as bad as the stories she has heard from other friends, she said, about their experiences; it wasn’t something that will haunt her forever.

“But it was something that really bothered me until I talked to him,” she said. “I sort of felt, like, a duty to the rest of the people that he interacts with intimately to talk to him about it.” She told him later that she was uncomfortable with it, and that she hadn’t been in any position to agree to anything.

He was surprised and sorry, she said.

“He was very apologetic, in a way that made me believe he genuinely didn’t mean to cause me harm or discomfort. I don’t think he did anything out of malice or disrespect, but out of a lack of information.”

— Reported by Susan Svrluga
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I had obviously been drinking a lot and I couldn’t really fight him off or anything.”

Female student, Kalamazoo College (Mich.)

Click here to read her story.

She was a senior at Kalamazoo College, partying with a group of people she didn’t know all that well at a house on Lake Michigan. She was drunk when she ducked into the shower after a day at the beach, and someone she didn’t know — a man — came in through the locked bathroom door and joined her in the running water.

She didn’t want to have sex, but he forced himself on her.

“I had obviously been drinking a lot and I couldn’t really fight him off or anything,” said the woman, a recent graduate. “It wasn’t until afterwards that I kind of realized what had happened.”

She had met the man that day, but she didn’t know his name or anything about him.

She said she wasn’t sure whether to call it rape; she remembered saying “no,” but she feared she hadn’t done enough to resist. “I didn’t know if I should go to anyone because I didn’t know if I tried hard enough,” she said. “I felt like I was maybe partly to blame.”

“I could have screamed, I could have yelled for help, or hit him or scratched him or done something,” she said. “So I don’t feel like I did enough to prevent it or fight it. Which doesn’t mean it’s rape, but I thought it could have been construed as consensual sex.”

She also knew that her memory of those intoxicated moments was gauzy and incomplete. Had she reported the assault, “I wouldn’t have had anything concrete to say about what happened because I wasn’t even sure what happened.”

The assault happened close to graduation. She decided not to report it to anyone, and she tried to forget about it. The busy nature of life took over. Then, the summer after graduation, she went to a bar in town and he was the bartender. He checked her ID but seemed not to recognize her.

She said she believes colleges need to do more to help students understand consent and that people should not think that sexual assault is something that always happens somewhere else.

“Given my experience, I’m sure it’s more of an issue than people realize,” she said.

— Reported by Emma Brown
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I didn’t report him. To me, I grew up in a conservative family so it was like, you fight your own battles.”

Hannah Trahan, Texarkana College (Tex.)

Click here to read her story.

It wasn’t just one thing — it was a bunch of things that bothered Hannah Trahan at Texarkana College. A man grabbed her rear end as she walked down the hallway. Multiple men joked that they wanted to rape her. Another time, a man pinned her up against the wall in a cafeteria.

“He said, ‘So which of us do you think is the most dominant?’ He kept leaning in, and it felt like he was trying to kiss me. He was implying sexual things,” she said. “I didn’t report him. To me, I grew up in a conservative family so it was like, you fight your own battles.”

She said she felt as if she was a target because she identifies as asexual. More than one man told her she wouldn’t feel asexual anymore, if only she’d spend a night with him. “They take it as a license to push you into” sex, she said.

— Reported by Emma Brown
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“I wasn’t even thinking about not getting away from him. I was determined to fight my way out.

Mikala Burt, Howard University (D.C.)

Click here to read her story.

She thought they were going to study German, but the guy she was seeing talked her into stopping by a friend’s house in Upper Marlboro one night last fall instead. Some guys she hadn’t met before were hanging out there, and she had a beer or two, just to be polite, wishing she weren’t there. Then she realized, annoyed, that her friend was too drunk to drive her back to her dorm.

She decided just to try to get some sleep, and didn’t think twice about curling up on a couch in the living room; the father of one of the guys, who owned the house, was home at the time.

She was confused when a man woke her up out of a deep sleep around 2 a.m. Her friend was asleep upstairs and this man was a friend of his whom she had never met before that night. He was over her on the couch and said that he wanted to have a good time, she said. He told her he would pay her $100. That’s when she snapped awake and, disgusted, told him to let her go. Her hands were up to protect herself, and he pinned her arms down so hard that she couldn’t shake him off.

That’s when she started screaming for help. But no one woke up.

“I wasn’t even thinking about not getting away from him,” she said, “I was determined to fight my way out. I was more angry than scared — even though I was afraid — I was more angry that someone would try this and it was happening.”

He was lying down on top of her and she somehow pulled a knee up quickly — “like a ninja” — and kicked him as hard as she could in the chest.

“He fell backward and I just ran.”

Outside, she pounded on the door of a neighbor’s house, called her sister and her friend for a ride home, and called police.

“Did I hurt him? I hope so,” she said. “I don’t think he ended up with a black eye like I did.”

— Reported by Susan Svrluga
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Get your hands off me!

Katie MacPherson, Kent State University (Ohio)

Click here to read her story.

Katie MacPherson was heading out with friends to a concert when one of them attacked her inside a car.

The Kent State University student was sitting in the front passenger seat, and he was in the back. They were alone for a few minutes as the car was parked. He was drunk on tequila, she was sober. Suddenly he lunged forward, grabbed MacPherson’s head and hair violently and tried to kiss her. “Get your hands off me!” she yelled. “Stop touching me!”

The struggle continued, as the man sought to overpower her, until MacPherson managed to open the door and flee. “Immediately I knew,” she said. “That was sexual assault.”

She didn’t report the attack to authorities. But through an intermediary, she notified the man’s fraternity of what happened because she wanted him to be held accountable, on some level. “I never expected that from my friend,” the 20-year-old said.

Since entering college, MacPherson said, she has been careful to stick with buddies when she goes out to a party. At a fraternity’s Halloween bash, she drank something from a bottle that she now suspects was spiked with a date-rape drug. A man she believes was responsible tried to grab MacPherson on the dance floor after she grew woozy. But with a friend’s help, she escaped.

MacPherson and her female friends also devised a system of secret signals, using hair bands on their wrists, to ask for help in an uncomfortable situation. “We use it all the time,” she said.

— Reported by Nick Anderson and Steve Hendrix
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“I was afraid to talk to anybody about it because of the stigma I felt I would receive in talking about it.”

Male student, South Carolina school

Click here to read his story.

He was a freshman at a small school in upstate South Carolina when he took a trip to a different school where his high school ex-girlfriend was a student. They were finally going to talk things out after what had been a difficult breakup.

They walked around campus and then went to her room. He expected her roommate would be there, but instead they ended up alone, and he says she forced him into sex.

“I was raped,” he said.

He doesn’t think she would view it that way.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if in her mind, the fact that we had dated before was somewhat of an understood consent,” he said. He tried to resist, he said, but she seemed not to notice. He doesn’t remember what he said out loud.

“It’s hard to speak when you’re in physical pain,” he said.

Afterward, he told his roommate what had happened, but he didn’t speak a word of it to anyone else.

“ ‘I bet he liked it,’ that would kind of be the response,” he said.

“It’s one thing to deal with the aftereffect of being raped, but it also was a secondary hit for me — oh, you’re a guy, how could you be raped by a woman, that makes no sense,” he said. “I was afraid to talk to anybody about it because of the stigma I felt I would receive in talking about it.”

He had nightmares and flashbacks, he said. Weeks after the assault, as he was starting to recover, she texted him to say that she thought she might be pregnant. That triggered another round of panic, he said, as his parents had made it clear that he would be on his own if he ever fathered a child out of wedlock.

“I felt I was going to have to deal with losing my family,” he said.

His ex-girlfriend had not been pregnant, however; he believes she lied to him.

Now he is married to another woman, and he disclosed the rape to her in their premarital counseling. He is a medical student who aims to be a psychiatrist. He has found that his experience helps him help other people who have been assaulted.

He recently did a rotation in the emergency room of a psychiatric hospital, where he said that the experience of helping other rape victims was giving him an important way to deal with his own pain. “What I’m doing now is therapeutic for me,” he said.

— Reported by Emma Brown
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“I was under the influence with people I thought I could trust.

Female student, A community college in Southern Illinois

Click here to read her story.

It was her second semester and the 18-year-old softball player had made good friends among the school’s jocks. The basketball player hitting on her wasn’t one of them. She barely knew him as they drank vodka together at a party she had thrown at her apartment for athletes.

There was a crowd of maybe 40 people. The man was insistent. She wasn’t into him, but she didn’t think it was a big deal that he was flirting. Things got blurry. Then black. She woke up the next morning, bruised and sore and struggling to piece together fleeting memories. Her friends filled her in on some of the embarrassing details.

“I was taken to my own bathroom and apparently I had sex,” she said.

Her biggest disappointment was that her friends didn’t help her. “I thought my teammates would have stopped it, but they didn’t it. They thought it was funny, I guess. . . . I was under the influence with people I thought I could trust.”

Since it happened off campus, she didn’t report it to the college. She didn’t want to cause drama, so she didn’t tell her coach. She avoided the man, lost some of her friends. Now that she’s older, she is so protective of younger female students that they call her their “college mom.”

— Reported by Steve Hendrix
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“I was really intoxicated and couldn’t make the choice for myself — it was made for me.”

Female student, University of New Mexico

Click here to read her story.

It was toward the end of her first semester in 2010 and she was happy when a guy from geology class invited her to a party. It wasn’t a date, but he seemed cool and she was excited to meet new people.

He was the only one she knew at the party in an off-campus house. She wasn’t a big drinker, so the Jell-O shots hit her hard. After midnight, she remembers asking to go to sleep. She remembers her classmate’s arm around her. She passed out.

When she came to, he was having intercourse with her. There was no consent; they had never even kissed.

“I just remember feeling really sad and embarrassed and confused,” she said. “I just wanted to not be conscious anymore. I remember saying that I wanted to go home and I was crying.”

She woke up again at dawn and sneaked out of the house. She never saw the guy again; he’d never missed classes before, but he skipped the rest of the semester. She didn’t tell anyone about it for about a year. Then, a women’s studies class helped her realize she wasn’t to blame. She got therapy and joined a group for victims of sexual assault.

“I was really intoxicated and couldn’t make the choice for myself — it was made for me,” she said.

Finally, she sat her family down at dinner and told them. She especially wanted her younger brother to hear her story. He was about to head to college, and she needed young men like him to understand the pain they could cause.

“My brother was really angry,” she says, “which is what I wanted.”

— Reported by Steve Hendrix
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“I didn’t feel okay. I wasn’t fine. To see somebody in the dining hall and freak out all over again. . . . I didn’t feel fine at all.”

Female student, Boston University

Click here to read her story.

When she and some girlfriends went to a fraternity party near campus, the 19-year-old Boston University freshman gravitated to the one guy she knew. They played beer pong, and he encouraged her to drink more and more. “He made sure I was drinking the entire time, even though I was probably already in an unsafe condition,” she said.

She got nervous when he began to touch her, but she didn’t want to make a scene.

“I know it sounds so stupid, but when you’re really young and these cool frat guys invite you over, you don’t want to do anything to mess that up,” she said.

She has only the vaguest memory of going upstairs. She doesn’t know when her friends left the party, but she felt abandoned. She woke around sunrise the next morning, alone in a tiny room, her clothes on the floor. “I don’t know that I had sex, but I have a feeling I did.”

After walking to her dorm, she sat on her friend’s bed, hugging her knees.

“Don’t report it,” the friend said when she woke up. “That would be over-dramatic. You’ll be fine. We were all drunk.” She took a morning-after pill that day and went to be tested for pregnancy and STDs (all negative). But three years later, she wishes she had informed the college. When she saw the man in the dining hall later, they made eye contact and she had a panic attack. She said she still has trust issues with men.

“I didn’t feel okay. I wasn’t fine,” she said. “To see somebody in the dining hall and freak out all over again. . . . I didn’t feel fine at all.”

— Reported by Steve Hendrix
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He was wearing me down. I was like, ‘No, no. Okay, fine.’

Female student, University of Virginia

Click here to read her story.

In hindsight, the 25-year-old said she is not traumatized by what happened that night eight years ago at the University of Virginia. She went to a fraternity party on Rugby Road with a classmate.

“He was cute,” she said. They went to his place.

“We were both drunk,” but not incapacitated, she said. At first she was “completely okay” with their level of intimacy. But she grew hesitant. “I kept saying, ‘I don’t know, ha-ha-ha.’ ”

She told him to stop. He persisted.

“He was wearing me down,” she said. “I was like, ‘No, no. Okay, fine.’ ”

What happened, the woman said, was wrong. The man should have stopped. But she never considered reporting the incident to authorities, and to this day she does not think of herself as a survivor of sexual assault.

“It’s very light on the ‘gray’ scale, if you know what I mean,” she said. But she said too many men think persistence in sexual situations is admirable. “They should think harder about it.”

At the critical moment that night, the classmate refused to heed her stated desire to stop. “Okay, fine,” she said, is no substitute for “yes.” “The person probably doesn’t even know that I look at it this way,” she said. “Who knows? But I don’t think he is a bad person.”

If sexual assault on campus had been as much of a national issue back then as it is now, she said, “he might have thought differently.”

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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Guys aren’t supposed to be victims. We’re supposed to be manly.”

Male student, A public university on the West Coast

Click here to read his story.

Guys aren’t supposed to be victims,” this 23-year-old student at a West Coast university said. So he told very few people what happened four years ago between him and a roommate who was a fraternity brother.

“He was really drunk that night, and he started hitting me,” the student recalled. “I wasn’t drunk at all. He kept trying to take off my pants. He tried pinning me down and groping me. It was a really bad struggle. I hit him as hard as I could, and I got out of it.”

After the assault, he said, he left the house and found a place to stay elsewhere. But he was rattled and ashamed and didn’t want to tell the fraternity, the school or the police.

“I didn’t think anybody would believe me,” he said. His schoolwork suffered. “I had nervous panic attacks. I was constantly paranoid about being followed home. I almost dropped out.”

He wonders how he might have handled the situation if he were a woman. “I could have potentially told more people,” he said. “I feel like since I’m a guy, it’s a lot harder. If something happens, guys aren’t supposed to be victims. We’re supposed to be manly.”

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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“I could have said no to all of that and prevented it from happening. But I cannot think a friend — a close friend — would take advantage like that.”

Cristianna Cambrice, Savannah State University

Click here to read her story.

She had just broken up with her boyfriend sophomore year and she was sad about her dog who had recently died when a close friend invited her over to watch a movie. It sounded like the perfect way to get her mind off things.

He knew how upset she was; he had seen her break down about her dog and held her until she stopped crying. They were close friends, never flirtatious, no tensions.

But that night they started drinking. At some point she realized she was having much too much. When she woke up, she remembered clothes coming off and thought: “Oh, no.”

“I lost a true friend over that,” she said.

She only told one friend, who told her it was her fault for putting herself in that situation. Now, looking back, she thinks it’s 50-50.

“I could have said no to drinking, I could have said no to go hang out, I could have said no to all of that and prevented it from happening,” she said. “But I cannot think a friend — a close friend — would take advantage like that.”

She completely changed her behavior for a long time after that, she said, avoiding alcohol, male friends and social events. She would study in her room and make sure she had female friends with her if she ever went out.

A year or two later, she had relaxed some. She was with another close friend, also like a brother, playing video games. She hadn’t been drinking and wasn’t attracted to him. He gave her a hug and when she pulled away, he started trying to kiss her neck then pushed her down. The more she tried to get away, she said, the more tightly he held her down.

“I felt scared. Why is this happening again?” she said. She burst into tears, and he let her go. “I just ran for my life.”

She did not report either incident.

— Reported by Susan Svrluga
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“He basically just said, ‘What’s the big deal?’

Female student, Public university in the Midwest

Click here to read her story.

She was fine with making out. But this student, then 19, was a virgin and didn’t want to have sex yet. She told him that, but he paid no heed.

“He did assault me, physically,” the student, now 22, recalled. “He basically surprised me. I tried to shove him off. He basically just said, ‘What’s the big deal?’ ”

Then, she said, he went ahead and raped her.

The assault, she said, happened after a party as she was heading into her sophomore year. But the full realization of what happened didn’t strike her until years later.

“I didn’t let myself put a label on it,” she said. Her friends didn’t raise the R-word either. She told a few of them the relevant facts. They agreed it was “messed up.” But “no one really called it rape,” she said.

“Even weirder,” she said, the man “ended up texting me and being like, ‘What, you’re not talking to me now?’ ”

She said that she didn’t want to talk with him again, and she said he called her immature: “He didn’t view it as rape.”

The woman didn’t report the incident to authorities.

“Maybe now I would’ve said something,” she said. “But back then I was like, ‘That’s what happens.’ ”

Another time, the woman said, she felt coerced into having sex by a man who refused to leave her alone.

“It wasn’t rape, but it was kind of similar,” she said. “I technically did consent. I said ‘okay.’ ”

She had a drink or two, and they were alone. “He was a lot bigger than me. I was scared to say no. He was bigger, we were alone, he wouldn’t stop.” Fear took over.

“Sometimes guys don’t realize how much stronger they are. A girl might say ‘okay’ if a guy won’t leave her alone — if they’re in a situation where if they don’t say yes, something bad could happen.”

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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“I’m not friends with people who would do anything like that. I don’t want anyone like that in my life.

Katherine Bowman, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Click here to read her story.

One night when Katherine Bowman was a sophomore, she was out drinking with friends near campus in Birmingham and had too much to drink. She went home with one of her best friends. She had often crashed at his place before, slept in his bed without feeling worried or thinking it was inappropriate; she was sure it was clear that they were just friends. She got sick and passed out.

She woke up around 4 a.m., confused. Her pants were off and her friend was touching her. “He was orally assaulting me,” she said. “I don’t know how else to put it.”

She jumped up and pulled her clothes back on, she said, and got home.

In the morning she found texts from him with messages like, “I rocked your world.”

“No you didn’t!” she replied, she said, and they had an angry debate. He thought it was consensual; she asked how she could consent to something if she was passed out.

She never considered reporting it, feeling certain it would be dismissed out of hand.

“It’s not something my friends took seriously. It’s not something the law would take seriously,” she said. “It’s just not something that’s seen as sexual assault.”

Instead, she changed her behavior: She ended that friendship immediately. She stopped trusting male friends, tried to avoid being alone with them, stayed away from their bedrooms.

About a year ago, the man reached out to her, she said. He told her he was sorry and that he wished they were still friends.

“No way,” she said. “I’m not friends with people who would do anything like that. I don’t want anyone like that in my life.”

— Reported by Susan Svrluga
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“I woke up and she was doing sexual things to me. I was in complete disbelief. There was zero consent.

Male student, Private college in the Northeast

Click here to read his story.

What the 19-year-old student called a “little incident” happened one day after he got stoned smoking marijuana and fell asleep in a woman’s room.

“I woke up and she was doing sexual things to me,” he said. “I was in complete disbelief. There was zero consent.”

This student, at a private college in the Northeast, believes there’s a double standard about sexual assault: If a woman does it to a man, he said, it’s not seen as a big deal.

He didn’t report the incident.

A few months later, he said, he stepped into a situation at a party to protect a woman who was under attack. In a crowded room, he said, he saw a woman who was trying to pull away from a man after they had kissed.

“She was kind of done with it,” he recalled. “The guy grabbed her wrists, started pulling her, pushing her against the wall. He took her into a corner. It was ridiculous.” This student said he pulled the attacker away and threw him out of the apartment.

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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“I guess I was a little too trusty.

Diana Mudacumura, A public college in Pennsylvania

Click here to read her story.

“This is cool,” Diana Mudacumura thought during her first night out at a new college in Pennsylvania. “I’m making friends.”

She was 20, a transfer student and out with her new roommate. They were drinking in an apartment belonging to a group of guys in a fraternity.

Mudacumura hadn’t had much to eat that day, just a burger, so it was a mistake to match shots of Hennessy with one of the men. “I knew I shouldn’t drink that much, but everyone was egging me on,” she said. She blacked out soon after the last shot, the one that drained the bottle. She’d gotten drunk before, at her first school, but always with friends. She’d always gotten home.

This time, she woke up in a room and men were with her, touching her. “I remember more than one guy was in there,” she said.

She blacked out again. She doesn’t remember wandering away from the house in the middle of the night into a town she’d lived in for less than a week. She doesn’t know how she got to the building steps where the police found her, crying, at 2 a.m. Her first clear memory is waking up in a cell the next morning. A couple of months before her 21st birthday, she was cited for underage drinking.

“I guess I was a little too trusty,” she said.

Later that morning, when she went to the bathroom, a coin — a quarter — came out of her vagina.

“I was mortified,” she said. “By all of it.”

She didn’t report what had happened, feeling it was her fault for getting so drunk. But she came to feel differently. She started a club to demonstrate against “rape culture.” They parade in sexy clothes with signs that say “My outfit doesn’t give you the right to rape me.”

“We shouldn’t teach girls how not to get raped, we should teach boys not to rape,” she said.

— Reported by Steve Hendrix
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“If you’re going to report a rape, you better have a broken arm or something, or the police won’t believe you. They’ll say you just changed your mind.

Female student, University of South Carolina

Click here to read her story.

She doesn’t ever have more than two drinks if she’s out now, and she holds onto them so she knows just what she’s taking in. It’s the same rule most women she knows follow, to stay safe.

Like many, she said, she learned the hard way: During the first house party she went to as a freshman, she woke up on a couch to find some guy unhooking her bra. He told her it was an accident.

Now a graduate student, she thinks the problems subside after the early years of college, once students learn either to handle their drinking or that bad things can happen during blackouts.

She got careful after a bad night. She was attracted to a guy she met in a bar, and when he invited her back to his place, with a promise of some marijuana, she joined him.

She believes he just assumed that meant they would have sex, she said. She told him to stop and started to cry. She says he told her to be quiet.

“You’re hurting me,” she told him. “I’m bleeding.”

He looked like he felt a little bit bad about it, she said. But he didn’t stop.

“He got rough with me, to the point that if I had gone to the cops and gotten the rape kit,” there would be physical evidence that it wasn’t consensual, she said. “But, I just knew that I was drunk when it happened. The fact that I couldn’t leave, that I had to rely on him to take me home afterward, I thought that would be used against me.”

“That’s the last time I ever went home with a guy,” she said.

She has concerns about her own behavior — that’s why she decided to change it — but she also says this: “If I were a guy, I never would have done this to anyone.”

“If you’re going to report a rape, you better have a broken arm or something, or the police won’t believe you,” she said. “They’ll say you just changed your mind.”

— Reported by Susan Svrluga
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You don’t have to be drunk for it to happen.”

Female student, University of La Verne (Calif.)

Click here to read her story.

At the end of her freshman year, after a fight with her sorority left her socially isolated on campus, she ended up talking more and more to a guy who worked at her gym.

She was 18, and he at least a decade older. Raised by devout Muslim parents, she said she didn’t even know what to watch out for.

“I’m a good Muslim girl,” she said. She never took a sip of alcohol and certainly didn’t know about men. “I knew nothing about anything, absolutely anything. I was a virgin at the time. I couldn’t even recognize a person advancing on me until it was too late.”

“He was very aggressive, very pushy.” She said she was assaulted but didn’t want to discuss specifics.

“You don’t have to be drunk for it to happen,” she said.

Afterward, she cut him completely out of her life: She told him it was not okay, that she never wanted to see him again, that her friends would not talk to him.

She told a professor about what happened and, on her advice, went to counseling, which helped her a lot, she said. She changed; she stopped being so passive. “I’m more certain of myself.

“I think it’s a good thing. It allowed me to protect myself, protect my sisters, protect other women around me — making sure they knew what could happen, how to prevent or at least recognize those sorts of advances. Trust themselves when feeling uncomfortable.”

There’s another change, too: She used to hug everyone and think people are inherently good. Now it takes time to earn her trust. “And if you get a hug from me, it’s pretty much a miracle.”

— Reported by Susan Svrluga
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“Whatever happened, happened. I don’t explicitly remember.

Male student, Public university in the West

Click here to read his story.

During his freshman year, this student at a public university in the West remembers getting “a little bit too intoxicated” at a party. He suspects that a woman then pulled him into a room to have sex even though he was in no state to be able to give consent.

“Whatever happened, happened,” he said. “I don’t explicitly remember.”

The student, now 21, a junior, doesn’t describe himself as a victim of sexual assault, but he said he is more careful now about drinking.

“After that incident, I definitely watched how intoxicated I get and who I’m around,” he said.

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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“There’s a gray area. It’s a really sticky situation.

Female student, Public university in the Southeast

Click here to read her story.

A 21-year-old at a public university in the Southeast said she was raped by another student — a male acquaintance — who volunteered to escort her home from a nightclub after she suddenly became woozy and separated from a group of friends.

Someone, she suspects, had slipped a drug into her rum drink.

“In the morning, I woke up and my lip was so swollen,” she said. “I just remember sobbing and sobbing and sobbing the next day. You learn a lot of lessons.”

Like most who said they had been assaulted, the woman did not report the incident to university officials or police. She said she worried about whether she would ruin the man’s future and wondered what to make of what had happened: Had there been a misunderstanding, even though she was crying during the assault? Should she have been more vehement in saying no?

“There’s a gray area,” she said. “It’s a really sticky situation.”

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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“What happened was wrong, but it was not worth making a mess about it.

Male student, Southern Illinois University

Click here to read his story.

He was way too drunk, partying at the house of a friend of a friend, when a woman made a move on him.

Looking back, the 20-year-old at Southern Illinois University said she crossed a line because he was in no condition to be able to consent. “It’s basically how sexual assault is defined,” he said. “I was being touched inappropriately.”

The man said he would have told her to stop if he could have. Afterward, he didn’t report the incident to police or the university.

“What happened was wrong, but it was not worth making a mess about it,” he said. “I wasn’t physically injured or emotionally damaged. It was one of those instances where I shouldn’t have been that drunk.”

The student, who belongs to a fraternity, said that fairly often he hears about incidents in which a woman alleges that a man sexually assaulted her.

“When it happens to men, cases just go unnoticed,” he said. “They’re pushed off to the side. One, it’s not as big of an issue from a social standpoint. Two, it’s not admitted as much.”

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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She would not let up, no matter what I would do.”

Cooper Blackwood Cross, Fort Lewis College (Colo.)

Click here to read his story.

Cooper Blackwood Cross was a freshman when a woman he didn’t know began “hounding” him at a party.

“This girl kept following me around the whole time,” he said. “She would not let up, no matter what I would do.”

He told her that he had a girlfriend and wasn’t interested, but the woman persisted. She pushed him against the wall, she kissed him, she cried. Blackwood Cross eventually left the party and walked home. When he turned around as he neared his dorm, he saw her following him.

On the spectrum of unwanted sexual contact, he said it was on the milder side. But it still felt uncomfortable.

“It’s just a violation of personal space,” said Blackwood Cross, now 21. There’s a cultural idea that men always want attention from women, but if “I don’t want that person’s attention,” Blackwood Cross said, “it doesn’t matter.”

— Reported by Emma Brown
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He knew I was asleep and took advantage of the situation.”

Female student, Public university in the Midwest

Click here to read her story.

The 25-year-old schoolteacher holds a grim memory from her first year at a public university in the Midwest. On the fall day in 2008 when she moved into a new dorm room, her roommate made an odd request: Could a male student sleep in the room with them?

The roommate assured her that the young man, also a freshman, was “a gentleman” who had stayed over before without causing any problems. The woman said okay.

About 20 minutes after they turned the lights out, the woman felt this man touching her arm, her face, her lips.

“I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I pretended to be asleep. I tried to roll on my stomach.”

The woman said her roommate was a sound sleeper and seemed to be unaware of what was happening.

“I was just in absolute shock,” she said. “I’d never had a guy touch me before.”

The groping continued until their alarm went off at 7:30 a.m. “It was seven hours of hell,” the woman recalled.

After he left that morning, she told her roommate and a resident assistant in the dorm what had happened. The woman said it was an ordeal trying to get the university to punish the student. Eventually she was told he had moved out of the dorm, but she was unsatisfied. She wanted him expelled.

“He forced himself on me,” she said. “He knew I was asleep and took advantage of the situation.”

— Reported by Nick Anderson
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“The fact that this could happen to me means it could happen to anyone.

Male student, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Click here to read his story.

When a bartender found him passed out in the back room of her Minneapolis bar, she assumed he was drunk. But when the man took a Breathalyzer for bar security a few minutes later, he blew zeros: He hadn’t consumed any alcohol at all. He said he must have been unwittingly drugged, and then raped.

“I’ve been drunk once in my life, and I’ve never done drugs,” said the man, who at the time was a sophomore the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. “And I’m a big guy. The fact that this could happen to me means it could happen to anyone.”

The man, now 26 and a law student in Milwaukee, was 22 in 2011 when he traveled with a group of friends to Minneapolis for Pride Week. Some of them, like the man, were gay, and they went to a popular gay bar. He was sexually active but had never had anal sex. He sat at the bar and stuck to soft drinks.

“I set my soda next to me on the counter, and someone walked past me and dropped their wallet,” the man recalled. “I bent down to pick it up. It probably took me five seconds. And that’s when he, or someone, must have dropped it in my drink.”

It was close to midnight when he started feeling light-headed. He looked for his friends but couldn’t find them. Then he remembers nothing until he woke up, the bartender standing over him just after 3 a.m.

“The bartender said they probably targeted me because I look straight,” he said. “She said it had happened before. A lot people were around for Pride Week.”

The friend took him to an emergency room, where he was examined and tested for STDs. All the tests were negative.

The man didn’t seek counseling, in part because he believed the entrance to his school’s counseling center was in too public of a place. But he’d also had therapy before, after being sexually abused by a family friend as a child. He had already learned not to blame himself for the actions of a predator.

But he did lose something that night. He’s less naive, he said, and maybe less trusting. It took him months to get over the fact that his friends left him behind at the bar. And he laments the loss of faith he had in the gay community and gay gathering places.

“It’s hard enough to be gay in Wisconsin,” he said. “A gay bar is supposed to be a comfortable safe place.”

— Reported by Steve Hendrix
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I wanted to save myself for marriage, but he was very insistent.”

Female student, Christian college in the Southeast

Click here to read her story.

She dated him during her sophomore year in college and now, looking back, she feels she should have realized sooner that the relationship wasn’t healthy.

Physically, everything went way too fast. “I wanted to save myself for marriage, but he was very insistent,” she said.

And, she said, when you’re aroused, and someone’s telling you that they want to spend their life with you, and they’re telling you that this is a good thing, it’s hard to always live by your principles.

“With all those factors pounding on you at the same time, eventually a crack is going to appear in your armor,” she said. “So at that moment, when all my weakness had been exposed, he asked me, and I nodded. So I can’t really say it was rape.”

They continued to have sex during the course of several months. But then she felt that she received a message from God, telling her that she was on the wrong path. And she told her boyfriend, in no uncertain terms, that she wanted to stop having sex.

“I told him that I didn’t want to do that anymore and that it was wrong, and I knew it was wrong,” she said. But when they were alone at his apartment, he had sex with her anyway. He raped her.

“I told him ‘no,’ but he didn’t listen,” she said.

She never considered reporting him to the police. “If I hadn’t been in a relationship with him then I would have reported it, but I felt like it was my fault,” she said. “Even if I said ‘no,’ I had been stupid enough to put myself in that situation.”

She said that the experience left her traumatized, but she had no money to see a therapist. Now married, she said it took more than two years before she could be intimate with her husband without crying.

“It definitely changed my outlook about life and men for the longest time. I really had difficulty looking at men as people. I saw them as object users,” she said. “They saw women as an object to use and they weren’t to be trusted.”

— Reported by Emma Brown
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