I am alone in this


Image By: Anne Marie Grudem

Content warning:

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.

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It was at a frat party about a month into my freshman year, and I was dancing with this guy who I had known since Quaker Days. Once it got late, he offered to walk me back to my room in Fisher. Once inside the Quad, however, he invited me up to his room for some chocolate. I'm not stupid. I knew what he meant, but I liked him. Moreover, I thought I knew him. We started making out, but when he tried taking my clothes off, I said no. I must have said it at least 20 times. I tried pushing his body off of mine, but he was so much stronger than I was. "Come on," he said. "I really like you." Still, I pushed him off. Again and again, until I realized that he wasn't going to stop no matter how much I struggled. I went to Penn and told them what happened. They told me that if seeing him made me uncomfortable, then I should just avoid him. And so I do. Sometimes I see him in Van Pelt and have a panic attack. Sometimes I see him with women, and I feel scared for them. I know what he is capable of doing. But I avoid him nonetheless. He may have taken away my dignity that night, but Penn took away my courage by doing nothing. I am alone in this.

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Campus Resources:

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) jmertz@upenn.edu, 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.

Penn Women's Center: 3643 Locust Walk (Office Hours 9:30 am – 5:30 pm Monday–Thursday, 9:30 am – 5 pm Friday), pwc@pbox.upenn.edu. PWC provides confidential crisis and options counseling.