The following text describes sexual assault and violence, and can be disturbing and/or triggering for some readers. Please find resources listed at the bottom of the article.
I have three different stories from three different periods in my life pertaining to three different relationships. Here they are:
1. In high school, before my freshman year at Penn, my parents went out of town. I invited some of my friends over to have a little get together before we all went off to college. It was getting pretty late, and people had started to go to bed. I was hanging out upstairs with some of my closest friends playing Never Have I Ever. I had to go to the bathroom, so I slipped out of the room. I forgot to lock the door, and one of my best guy friends came into the bathroom. We were really close, so I did not think much of it and just assumed that he had to go. When I got up, he came rushing towards me and started kissing me. I didn't know what to do, but I tried to tell him to get off of me. He would not listen, and since he was a good six inches taller than me and a hell of a lot stronger, I couldn't get away from him. My friends who were in the other room finally helped me after hearing a lot of banging and yelling from the bathroom. I have trouble trusting my guy friends now.
2. On the last day before summer vacation after freshman year, my friends and I went out to celebrate. We went to Smokes', and we were drinking and having a lot of fun. I had a flight at 10 a.m. the next day, so I set my alarm for 7 a.m. to finish packing. I met a really cute boy there that night who was an upperclassman. We had a fun night of consensual sex, and I slept over at his house. The next morning when I woke up, he was there on top of me, having sex with me while I had been asleep. I grabbed all of my belongings and ran out as fast as I could. That was the last time I slept at a guy’s house.
3. I have an older, adopted brother who is six years older than me. When I was four, he would take me to the woods and try to make me kiss him. He told me that he wanted to be my boyfriend, and that it was okay because he was adopted. I was four, and I didn’t know anything about anything, so I went along with it because I looked up to him. We had a basement in my old house with a guest bedroom. Once, while my parents thought we were playing video games, he made me take off all of my clothes and took pictures of me. Then he made me get in bed with him, and he took off his clothes… I did not comprehend any of it at the time, but all I remember after that was being really scared, and running as fast as I could up the stairs. He told me that if I ever told anyone about any of this, he would show his friends the pictures. I have never talked about any of this since it happened.
The HELP Line: 215-898-HELP:
A 24–hour–a–day phone number for members of the Penn community who seek help in navigating Penn's resources for health and wellness.
Counseling and Psychological Services: 215-898-7021 (active 24/7):
The counseling center for the University of Pennsylvania.
Student Health Service: 215-746-3535:
Student Health Service can provide medical evaluations and treatment to victims/survivors of sexual and relationship violence regardless of whether they make a report or seek additional resources. Both male and female providers can perform examinations, discuss testing and treatment of sexually transmissible infections, provide emergency contraception if necessary and arrange for referrals and follow up.
Reach–A–Peer Hotline - 215-573-2727 (every day from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.):
A peer hotline to provide peer support, information, and referrals to Penn students.
Penn Violence Prevention: 3539 Locust Walk (Office Hours: 9 am – 5 pm), (215) 746-2642, Jessica Mertz (Director of Student Sexual Violence Prevention, Education) firstname.lastname@example.org,
Read the Penn Violence Prevention resource guide.
Sexual Trauma Treatment Outreach and Prevention Team:
A multidisciplinary team at CAPS dedicated to supporting students who have experienced sexual trauma.
Public Safety Special Services:
Trained personnel offer crisis intervention, accompaniment to legal and medical proceedings, options counseling and advocacy, and linkages to other community resources.