​​FINDINGS

​​

To emphasize common themes found in survivors' testimonies, quotes from all of the interviews are organized into the categories listed below. 
1. CONSENT

2. COERCION

3. FREEZE RESPONSE

4. INVALIDATION AND VICTIM BLAMING

5. LACK OF EMPATHY

6. SEX EDUCATION

7. SAFER

8. COUNSELING SERVICES 

9. TITLE IX

10. FEAR OF COMING FORWARD

11. LAW ENFORCEMENT

12. LACK OF CONSEQUENCES FOR PERPETRATORS 

13. PRESIDENT ARMSTRONG

14. ADMINISTRATION

15. ACADEMICS 

16. FRATERNITIES

17. TOXIC MASCULINITY

18. CAMPUS SAFETY 

19. CAMPUS CULTURE

20. INTERSECTIONALITY 

21. IMPACT ON DAILY LIFE

22. MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH 

23. INTIMACY AND RELATIONSHIPS

24. SUPPORT IN THE SURVIVOR COMMUNITY

25. ​RESILIENCE

​26. SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

  1. CAMPUS SAFETY

       
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    Seeing them [perpetrators] on campus is kind of shitty especially when you weren’t able to or weren’t up for the energy of getting one of those campus restraining order things. (Participant #3, Student)

     
    I didn’t want to tell my parents because I’m really close with them and I didn’t want them to worry that I was in school and in a dangerous situation. I would work a lot so I wouldn’t have to be on campus. I would work forty hour plus weeks just so I wouldn’t be here. (Participant #4, Student)

     
    I can't talk about the guy involved, or see him around campus, without a ton of anxiety, but I never even mentioned anything about the incident to him afterwards (though I did stop seeing him).  (Participant #5, Student)

     
    I don’t feel safe, that’s for sure. I just try to surround myself with people who I know are on the same page as me, which can be a struggle. I feel like the majority of Cal Poly students just don’t care, or they’re  actively like, “Oh survivors are crazy and they make shit up.” (Participant #9, Student)



    I used to see my perpetrator around campus. (Participant #11, Student)

     
    I think Cal Poly has some lighting problems that need to be fixed. It’s pretty dark at night. (Participant #12, Student)

     
    That was coupled with the fact that I had a 6-8 p.m. class and I would walk that path where she was essentially raped. There were no lights. There’s no lights in that area and there’s no lights the whole way I walk back. (Participant #13, Student)

     
    I walk around every day and I feel like, is this a perpetrator? Have you already committed a crime? (Participant #13, Student)

     
    I mean I’m sure you’ve heard of the Hunting Ground [documentary on Netflix about sexual assault/rape at universities], we're in those schools listed, we’re recognized as a place that has this epidemic. (Participant #13, Student)

     
    Since I knew all of my perpetrators, it was like I couldn’t see them without crying. I would have to just leave or avoid them and not be in the same place, which is really difficult to do when you go to school with them or see them around town. (Participant #16, Student)

     
    I would be walking around campus and I would see people who were there or frat brothers of one of the guys or I would even see the person that assaulted me or raped me. I would just feel so terrible. I would just want to vanish. (Participant #17, Alumnus)

     
    Also, just seeing my rapist on campus is probably one of the most terrifying things. I felt like I wasn’t safe going to school. I would walk into the library and see him and instantly be like, cool I can never go to library again because he goes there and I don’t want to chance running into him again because he scared me. It’s terrifying to see somebody who took that away from you and violated you in such a way that is almost not repairable. It really made me not want to do much on campus. It also made me scared for other girls out there. If I ever saw him with another girl, just even as friends because we were friends, I was just so scared for that person. Until he graduated, I stayed off of campus. (Participant #20, Alumnus)

     
    Generally on campus, you don’t really feel safe. I mean I personally had triggers. First of all, when you’re still at the same school as your perpetrator, it’s horrible. You’re constantly walking around looking for them and hoping not to run into them. (Participant #21, Alumnus)

     
    The campus in general is not at all friendly to [survivors] or condemning to sexual assault. It makes it hard to feel like you can trust people. Also, it’s horrible because once you get in this community, you start learning who other perpetrators are and you’ll just have classes with them. Since they weren’t your perpetrator, they can’t do anything, but it’s just so maddening to have class with someone and know that they did such a horrible thing to another girl. That’s really hard. (Participant #21, Alumnus)

     
    For the next two and half years, I would see him on campus. I would freak out. Not always, sometimes I would just be like, okay I’m just going to leave. It’s fine. But other times, I would have a full-on panic attack and go to the bathroom and throw up and be hyperventilating. It’s a toss-up. (Participant #24, Alumnus)

     
    I don’t really talk to anyone about it because that situation overall was kind of an iffy situation. Even though I did tell him not to touch me and he did get into my bed without my permission at all, I just feel like there’s a culture. I’m just scared that I could tell someone that and they’d say, “Oh well you didn’t do enough.” But at the end of the day, me first putting him on the couch and saying, “Sleep there.” Me saying, “Please don’t touch me.” Him knowing that I was home alone. It was just a very uncomfortable situation. (Participant #25, Alumnus)

     
    I was really anxious being on campus. I didn’t want to be on campus. I didn’t want to be in the library because that person was always in the library on the first floor. I’m always on the first floor. (Participant #27, Student)

     
    I did not want to be on campus. I didn’t want to be in the library. I didn’t want to be at PCV. I was just really really afraid of seeing that person. (Participant #27, Student)

     
    But then, sometimes I see him and it’s a really unpleasant experience. I used to work at the Avenue and he’d always come and it was like, ugh I don’t want to see him. That sucked. (Participant #29, Student)

     
    I see him around campus. Those are the worst days. I’ll just start thinking about it. (Participant #30, Student)

     
    Walking around campus, something I do every day, is like, when am I going to see him? I just live in fear. (Participant #30, Student)

     
    But it’s frustrating that I have to walk from the gym to PCV at 11 o’clock at night when it’s dark and I have to be on the phone with my boyfriend or be on the phone with a friend so if anything happens, they’re there. (Participant #31, Student)

     
    I did break up with him eventually. He started sexually harassing one of my roommates and it became a really serious issue. He tried to break into my apartment the night I broke up with him. That was really scary. We were living in Poly Canyon Village at the time and my roommate, who had been harassed, had told her boyfriend what was going on. He actually came down because he knew that I was planning to break up with this guy and he was worried about what he would do, rightfully so. It was so scary trying to get him to leave the building because we were trying to call security and the R.A. No one was answering. No one was coming. (Participant #32, Student)

     
    I didn’t feel supported by housing or by the security team that was supposed to be in the area. (Participant #32, Student)

     
    I didn’t want to go to the Cal Poly Rec Center pool because I was afraid he was going to see me there. I had issues going to just the library or walking around campus. I was getting anxiety that I was going to see him. I didn’t even know if he would recognize me. Just seeing him, it would’ve just ruined my day or week. (Participant #39, Alumnus)

     
    Being on campus and knowing he was also on campus was just a huge stressor. Especially also I didn’t know who he was exactly for the longest time. He could be anywhere. I don’t know anything about him. I didn’t even know if I knew his name. (Participant #39, Alumnus)

     
    He was a year older than me, but him and all of his friends were in my college. I’m an engineering student and they were all in engineering. I would see them all the time in that area of campus. That was shitty as well. (Participant #41, Student)

     
    I don’t feel safe on this campus. I know way too many people that have been assaulted. It’s really fucked up and I don’t feel like we have a system that will actually support us when that happens and you need help. (Participant #41, Student)

     
    To make things worse, I emailed a list of questions about my safety back to this notification [about the Title IX public hearing ordinance] and have still received no response. Is anyone at this university ensuring my safety? (Participant #41, Student)

     
    It’s pretty intimidating because I also stay really up-to-date on the stuff that’s being reported and the stuff that isn’t being done even when people have multiple allegations against them. It makes me really uneasy and nervous to know that if anything happened to me here or one of my friends, nothing would probably be done about it. I don’t know. It’s just so frustrating. Also, I’ve just become a lot more aware just walking on campus at night too. I’ve bought pepper spray and I feel like I’m so concerned that somebody is going to come up behind me. I’m completely aware that most assaults happen with somebody you know, but there’s just part of me that just gets super uneasy about it. I feel like I can’t walk on campus once it gets dark by myself comfortably. (Participant #42, Student)

     
    I just think it’s really interesting that that’s what everybody keeps saying: “Cal Poly is really safe...SLO is really safe.” But the campus is so dark. There are no lights around. That is one thing that could be easily fixed. (Participant #42, Student)

     
    Ever since the incident, feeling safe on campus has been a huge problem for me. There are only two to three buildings that I actually feel comfortable navigating on my own. This is because my perpetrator minors in the field of study that I’m majoring in. Therefore, when he was on campus, I was always worried he would be in the same class or hallway or building as me. I do not feel safe walking from one side of campus to the other. Initially, this was because I was afraid of seeing my perpetrator on campus. Now, it is because I am afraid of men in general. (Participant #43, Student)

     
    Just walking home to my dorms at night and stuff, I’m always aware, but there’s a bigger fear next to it now. Being like, that person may not be as innocent as they look or what are their intentions? (Participant #44, Student)

     
    For me, technically none of mine are on campus and so it makes it relatively easy for me to walk around campus and not be in utter panic, but I’m still always very cautious and scared I guess when I’m walking around campus, especially when it’s dark out or I’m in an area where there’s not a ton of people. The thing is I know that we have a lot of rapists on our campus. First off, statistically we have to. Secondly, I know a lot of people whose perpetrators are on campus still and because of legal recourse, you can’t say anything or do anything. We’re all sitting in the same room pretending like we don’t know what’s going on, but we all know that person has done that to that person and the school has done nothing about it. I don’t feel safe. (Participant #46, Student)

     
    My brain had reset from my original thought that campus was safe, into knowing that campus was scary and I needed to be on guard. (Participant #48, Student)



    I remember winter break, that was so tough for me being home. Just thinking about it every day. And coming back was the absolute worst because I was thinking about it a lot and I was so scared to go back to school and see him. […] I didn’t even want to go to the Rec Center anymore because I was afraid of maybe seeing him and [that] I would recognize him somehow. (Participant #51, Student)

     
    With that, when I go around Cal Poly, I just think of everywhere I’m at. I scan the room to see if there’s anyone in there that is one of the two people that did something to me on this campus. If they are, I go to the opposite side of the room or I leave. (Participant #52, Student)

     
    I purposely don’t take night classes here anymore because I don’t feel safe walking around campus at dark. I don’t want to be ever put in a situation where I need to stay on campus with someone again or be in a room alone with someone again because it’s too late and I need a ride to my car or if I need to stay there because when I try to do that and look out for myself, that’s when it happens again. There’s no fucking lights on this campus. There’s so many things on this campus that can enable someone to be attacked or to be victimized by someone. C’mon, you have so much fucking money, why don’t we get some little UPD people riding around our campus at night? (Participant #52, Student)


    I mean Cal Poly just does not handle these things well. I think I mostly just sort of take precaution. I’m very aware, like hyper-aware of my surroundings. I’ll constantly be looking back. (Participant #56, Student)

     
    When I’m walking to class, I literally will look around everywhere and look for them [my perpetrators] and hope I don’t see them. Or if I do, I’ll run away and hide and cry. I’m constantly afraid. (Participant #58, Student)

     
    Seeing him near my [sorority] sisters or even seeing him in general makes me cringe. That’s really difficult. I would ignore certain places. He worked for Student Services for students of color so I would purposely avoid those student services to not see him. I think that is one of the ways that that impacted me...not being able to use my resource just because I was afraid to go there. I think just walking around Cal Poly, I was always scared. Am I going to see him today? Am I going to see him by myself today? That was a constant fear. (Participant #61, Student)

        
  2. CAMPUS CULTURE

       

    ​​Seeing all the propaganda everywhere of, “Oh we care about you...We want you guys to be safe and we care about survivors and believe everyone,” is such bullshit. Doing the Not Anymore training and seeing my specific situation in the “non-consensual” section, and yet when I reported everything and told the truth about what happened, my school just told me that I wasn’t assaulted? That’s just ridiculous to me. It’s somewhere I go to school, but I don’t even enjoy being there anymore. It just feels like somewhere where I’m not part of a community. I’m a thing and a spectacle and a statistic. (Participant #9, Student)

     
    I just wish Cal Poly cared. Cared less about their reputation and more about their students and more about their survivors, and not just their white male students (who are sometimes the perpetrators in these cases). (Participant #9, Student)

     
    I think that for me, at Cal Poly the main thing has been that it’s been hard to connect with people. (Participant #12, Student)

     
    Two things that are always at the forefront of my mind in my time here at Cal Poly and the way I see the culture that’s been maintained here is: the rape/sexual assault culture and the racism. (Participant #13, Student)

     
    I think it’s really shameful because on top of the sexual assault epidemic that any campus of any sort of demographic makeup can be a victim of rape culture, but where we need to really really step up is it’s not just a rape culture we have here. It’s the lack of diversity, the lack of responsibility from administration in general. (Participant #13, Student)

     
    I really don’t like Cal Poly’s culture, mainly the lack of diversity. I think that it’s not a coincidence that most sexual assault happens by white frat guys. That’s a thing. I think that that comes with a lot of entitlement and I think that Cal Poly is really bad at handling diversity and recognizing minority groups and making minority groups feel safe. I mean that women are also a minority group as well. (Participant #15, Student)

     
    The issue for me is not the lack of given resources. Cal Poly usually has that pretty covered. It’s about the culture that exists around it. If you have all these resources that you’re giving out to students, but all the actions that you take and the deep things that run through this university don’t represent that, then you might as well not fucking have it [the resources]. (Participant #15, Student)

     
    From what I gather at Cal Poly, the culture supports white men. That’s the majority of the population here. I guess it makes sense, but it doesn’t make it right. (Participant #15, Student)

     
    I definitely feel like the majority of the campus, or maybe the loudest voice on campus, is conservative and doesn’t care about survivors and doesn’t blame people that rape people. (Participant #16, Student)

     
    I think navigating the culture as a survivor is a lot of you having to be willing to think through your experiences and be like, okay I can’t map that out onto every single person. That’s not fair and that’s going to make my experience a lot harder if I see that bad everywhere. (Participant #18, Student)

     
    I don’t feel like the general community at Cal Poly and otherwise is supportive. People can say that they’re supportive of sexual assault survivors, but they can’t actually face us. Even people who try to support can’t really support. Within Cal Poly, there’s people who would just deny that it even happens at all. I don’t feel like the general culture at Cal Poly is supportive of survivors. (Participant #19, Student)

     
    It seems like Cal Poly does a horrible job with trying to put it down, but at the same time, at least it’s not being like, oh it doesn’t matter. (Participant #22, Student)

     
    The culture of Cal Poly…I got more analytical of verbiage and press around the issue and just a lot angrier quicker about how situations were handled, if they were handled poorly, which is usually how they were handled. (Participant #24, Alumnus)

     
    I honestly feel like getting out of Cal Poly was probably the only thing that helped me. (Participant #25, Alumnus)

     
    Because of the demographics of the school, some people are so conservative and some people are very liberal. The political side of it makes it really hard to navigate in a way. [With] a lot of people, it doesn’t feel like you have any support. They tell you to go to services. They tell you to go to counseling services. They don’t really do anything about it. You can talk to people about it, but unless they’ve gone through it, they don’t know how to react. I don’t think Cal Poly has a good culture at all. (Participant #26, Student)

     
    There’s a lot of people that are survivors on this campus. They’re just normal people. It’s not right when people are scheduling or planning things around getting away from a certain person. That’s not right. You should be living your life. You shouldn’t close yourself off from things because of this one person. Cal Poly has to do something. Cal Poly is really bad. When they start saying things about increased efforts, it’s just words. It’s all say, there’s no action. (Participant #27, Student)

     

    I feel like everyone here just has this impression that everyone’s happy here and no one’s had a hard life. It’s just a little frustrating because we all come from different backgrounds. Some of us have the same struggles as you and I...I don’t know what you went through, but still we need to break the stigma that everyone’s happy and white and rich and doesn’t go through the things that we’ve been through. (Participant #31, Student)

     

    Half the student body is probably in pain while they’re at Cal Poly. If they’re not going to fix that or think about how to handle that, they can’t expect Cal Poly’s legacy to ever be as great as they think it is or want it to be. Whether they believe or care or not, it doesn’t matter. We just want them to fucking to do their job. (Participant #33, Alumnus)

     

    It was really hard to feel valid and believed because SLO is the happiest city in the world or whatever the hell it is. There’s just this pressure to be happy at Cal Poly. There’s just so much wrong that you just feel like, it’s you, you’re the problem, why don’t you just leave? (Participant #33, Alumnus)

     

    I think it’s pretty difficult navigating Cal Poly culture. There’s a lot of ignorant people and it can be hard finding support. (Participant #35, Student)

     

    Also it sucks that I can’t really be proud of the university I went to anymore because the investigation was happening around my graduation and it’s like, I can’t really be proud of a university that isn’t holding people accountable for what they’re doing and they’re making excuses for guys that are doing horrible things to girls every single day. Graduation was a very bittersweet time for me. It’s unfortunate. (Participant #39, Alumnus)

     

    I feel like before [finding support through working at Safer], it was really challenging because not a lot of people were educated on these topics or wanted to talk about them or knew how to support me or would use these myths that are really harmful for survivors. That’s so common on our campus. (Participant #41, Student)

     

    I think I would need to write a book to fully explain how fucked up Cal Poly is towards survivors. I’ve had administrators silence me and professors tell me to drop out all because I was assaulted and went through this dumb reporting process. (Participant #41, Student)

     

    I really want my interview…I want this to show in the project that Cal Poly’s a great school academically, but they don’t care about their students. There’s a reason why blackface happened last year. There’s a reason why so much stuff goes under the rug. Why so much stuff happens. Because this school is cheap and they don’t care about their students. Period. Point blank. (Participant #45, Student)

     

    I want Cal Poly to feel encouraged that they are making strides. I think when we compare them to other colleges, it’s a lot better of a culture, especially with survivors that I know that went to private schools, very religious schools. Those are a lot more of the victim blaming mentality. Cal Poly is getting better, but at the same time, I feel like there’s so many people who are silently suffering and there’s just a lot of victims that haven’t been helped yet. I think Cal Poly really needs to feel that importance of helping those people that are kind of lost out there. They haven’t gotten the resources that they need. (Participant #47, Alumnus)

     

    Also, I have a really great childhood friend and I actually told her about my story. She is actually a student counselor for survivors at her university. She was telling me that there’s problems everywhere, but when I told her about our culture, she was kind of shocked how not a lot of survivors get justice. It’s bad. (Participant #51, Student)

     

    Navigating Cal Poly’s culture now, I guess the one word I can describe it by is “hypersensitivity.” My senses are completely heightened any time I’m on campus or at a function having to do with campus because I can guarantee 95% of the people in The Avenue right now didn’t have to scan the room before they walked in to make sure that they wouldn’t be in an emotionally triggering situation. I’m hyper-sensitive to everything now. (Participant #52, Student)

     

    The main thing I would say is that rape culture is definitely alive and well on the Cal Poly campus, which is very bothersome. After graduating and talking to people that went to other schools, it was really sad to hear that their schools had addressed the problem so well and Cal Poly hadn’t. They expressed, “That’s really messed up that that was just a normal thing for you guys to experience. [That] you always knew someone involved with it. [That] you knew if you went to parties, you had to be careful.” That just really stuck out to me. (Participant #53, Alumnus)




    I’m really happy that you’re doing this. Cal Poly just likes to sweep things under the rug and not just with sexual assault, but with racism [too]. They just like to [say], oh let’s ignore this and put it off to the side. No. It’s time this school and administration needs to be held accountable. There needs to be accountability. I’m really just happy that you’re doing this. I’m sure it’s not easy, but I’m grateful that you are. (Participant #56, Student)


        
  3. TOXIC MASCULINITY

     

    We just have a huge toxic masculinity problem. (Participant #3, Student)
     

    The most productive conversation I’ve ever seen on the topic with men is literally when I’m yelling at one them and my guy friend is like, “No, she’s upset right now, but she means this,” and some dude is like, “Oooh,” because a guy said it. (Participant #6, Student)
     

    You have to be the ones to tell your bros that that’s not cool because they want your approval and they want to hang out with you. It’s not a matter of saying, “Oh that’s not cool,” and then hanging out with them the next day. You choose who your friends are. If you know one of your friends has done it [sexual misconduct/assault/rape] and you’re still friends with them, you’re just as bad in my opinion. (Participant #6, Student)
     

    I think that especially for groups of men on this campus...they have a hard time believing that their friends would do something like that to someone else. (Participant #8, Student)
     

    There’s a lot of toxic ass masculinity. Especially within the Greek system. (Participant #11, Student)
     

    I just avoid frat guys for the most part and males who act on toxic ideals. (Participant #11, Student)
     

    I know people that do and are very progressive, but I think the majority of Cal Poly as students and then the fraternities and stuff...it doesn’t matter and it’s viewed as stupid feminism. Like a why do people hate men kind of thing, but that’s not what it is at all. (Participant #16, Student)

     
    I think that maybe the culture of men needs to shift a little bit. It’s not about being the big dog. It’s not about how many girls you get with or whatever. It shouldn’t be something that you pride yourself on. (Participant #44, Student)

     
    Pretty much everybody I know has been assaulted. I feel like that 1 in 4 statistic is more like 1 in 2. I also feel like it could be less than 1 in 2. I think it’s freaking everybody. Also, guys not being able to talk about it. I know a lot of male survivors and that shit sucks. As much as I can be like, “I was assaulted,” they can never go and stand on a stage and say, “I was assaulted,” without receiving some sort of backlash from the other males in that group. I just feel really bad for them in that sense too. I just think that causes more people to be hurt and as we know, hurt people hurt people. (Participant #46, Student)

     ​
    Definitely the social climate here, I don’t want to say it’s right-winged, but it is. The kind of events that they put up and the kind of shit that Cal Poly puts money into definitely promotes toxic masculinity. I know that there’s a Men & Masculinity center in building 52 to maybe start a conversation looking from their perspective of allyship, but I don’t think they’re doing enough. I feel like the school should be going into frats, talking to individuals about this, talking to leaders. (Participant #57, Student)

     
        
  4. FRATERNITIES

       

    He [the perpetrator] is in a fraternity. It really gives me a negative outlook on fraternities. (Participant #2, Student)
     

    Basically, I just don’t go to fraternity parties anymore, but I used to so much. As a freshman, I thought it was cool and I was in a sorority. I had a close male friend in a fraternity who tried to make an [unwelcomed] advance on me and this was after the actual rape [I went through]. Another guy in that same fraternity (I was told) had raped multiple women and I was friends with him. Luckily, I was never alone with him. I was told by multiple people he had a lot of Title IX’s against him. And I thought, wow I had no idea. You think you can see something like that in people, but it could just be anybody. (Participant #2, Student)
     

    I guess the sober driver drove me from the frat house with the other guy to the guy’s house instead of [taking] me home. I don’t remember walking into his apartment or anything. I don’t even remember his name. I woke up and hadn’t seen his face before. I had a Snapchat saved of him so I know I met him that night. I woke up and didn’t have any underwear on and his hand was on my leg and I was so confused. (Participant #10, Student)
     
    I went to Vegas and I was a date for a frat member of Theta Chi. This dude pushed me to the ground and made me suck his dick. I was like, this is not cool. I’m your date, that doesn’t mean anything. A lot of the brothers before the trip told me, “You are not inclined to do anything.” So I was like, “What the fuck is this?” and I brought it up to the board of the frat, especially because during formal, he got so drunk, my date threw a perfume bottle at someone. He got so drunk, he peed himself. He was just a mess. I was just like, okay all of these things are just terrible. I’m going to bring it up to the board. Who does all that? You know what board said? They’re like, “Oh he’s graduating soon. We can’t do much about it.” Are you fucking kidding me? You know what I got from him. Just one text saying something like, “I don’t remember what happened, but I’m sorry.” And I’m like what the fuck? That’s it? You’re a piece of shit. I don’t really like Theta Chi now. Some of the guys were really nice. One guy stayed with me the whole time during formal because I was really upset. I started crying. But board, what the fuck are you doing? It makes me wonder…if he wasn’t graduating, were you guys even going to do anything? I don’t think so. (Participant #11, Student)

     
    I went to a party…a Pi Kapp [Pi Kappa Phi] party. It was in the car from the Pi Kapp party because it got shut down. I was getting a ride from a sober bro. There was another dude [the perpetrator] in the car and he told me his name and he told me where he lived. I got touched [by the other guy] in the car. […] I filled out a report as soon as I could. […] I brought it up to Pi Kapp and they’re like, “Are you sure it’s this brother? Are you really sure? Maybe you were turnt?” I was like, “No I barely drank. There was too many people at the party. I didn’t get a drink.” I felt so invalidated. I felt like it was so suspicious because they went to my apartment to talk to me about it [the incident]. It wasn’t official or anything. They told me, “We don’t want anything to go out, we’re a new frat.” And I’m like, “If you’re a new fucking frat, then do something. Keep your members in check because they’re going to ruin your reputation before you even make one.” (Participant #11, Student)
     

    I can have a valid point about sexual assault, but the minute I attack these Greek life institutions, it’s all of a sudden, oh she’s just a crazy mad bitch…she’s not a part of Greek life so she doesn’t understand the good that we do. There’s that lack of support. Until campus climate changes, in regards to the way Greek life is like a huge funnel for these incidents, I don’t know if anyone will find support here, specifically at Cal Poly. (Participant #13, Student)
     

    That was pretty clear with all of the fraternities and all of the vibes at a frat party or around frat people. It’s so uncomfortable. (Participant #16, Student)
     

    Another incident, I was friends with a guy in a frat. We had kind of a relationship. We knew each other, we had each other’s numbers, he took me on a date once. He figured out that if he gave me alcohol, drunk me did not say “no” to smoking weed. If I drank and smoked weed, I blacked out. I had no memory of what was going on. I would basically wake up without any clothes on in his room. (Participant #17, Alumnus)
     

    Another incident was the same fraternity, but a different person. He took me into a room and just raped me. I don’t have much of a memory of that one either. I think mentally I blocked it out. I don’t want to remember that because I actually kind of fought him a little bit unlike the first guy where I didn’t physically try to escape. He fought me back. (Participant #17, Alumnus)
     

    It was January 23rd of 2016. I was at a fraternity date party and it [did] happen with a guy in a fraternity. (Participant #24, Alumnus)
     

    I finally stopped hanging out with him. I told my friend what happened. I texted him [the perpetrator], “Hey, what you did wasn’t okay. If you talk to me again, I’m going to report you.” He didn’t text me back, but his friend, who was a mutual friend with me and my other friends in the guy’s [the perpetrator’s] fraternity, reached out to me and was like, “Hey what happened?” I was like, “Your friend assaulted me.” He was like, “Oh, he would never do that.” Stuff like that. Then he was like, “Well, we’re trying to figure out what happened so we can figure out whether or not to expel him from the fraternity.” I already told him what happened, but he didn’t believe me. He constantly reached out to me and texted me, called me repeatedly at weird hours in the night…told my friends to talk to me…tried to get to me every single way. I told him to stop talking to me. (Participant #30, Student)
     

    I tried to forget about it and then at the beginning of my senior year, which is this year, I met one of his fraternity brothers who was actually really nice. But then somehow it [the perpetrator] came up…I was like, “Oh this guy is a shitty person I heard…I heard he’s a rapist.”  His fraternity brother was like, “Oh yeah there was something a few years ago about him raping some girl, but it turns out they just hooked up and she didn’t want anyone to know so she accused him of rape.” I was like, “Really?” It kind of brought back a lot of shit. Nothing happened to him. Nothing. (Participant #30, Student)
     

    [There’s a] whole [issue of] fraternities trying to investigate on their own. (Participant #30, Student)
     

    The frats the have multiple sexual assault [charges] against them, but President Armstrong won’t do anything? (Participant #31, Student)
     

    I met a guy there and it was a fraternity event. We started talking and it was just kind of weird getting back into what flirting is like and all of that. It was really uncomfortable and so obviously, we were drinking pretty heavily. Him and I were kissing. I definitely had interest, but prior to that, I had only slept with one person ever and that wasn’t something that I did frequently. My philosophy is I like to be in love with people when I sleep with them. It’s something that’s really important to me. Him and I were kissing and that was fine. Then we went back in to get something out of his room so I went with him. We laid down and we were kissing. I remember him trying to unbutton my pants and I pushed his hand away. Honestly, I don’t remember a lot of the specifics. I think I tried not to, but I do remember he used a condom, which I was thankful for. I know that eventually, my friend came and got me. I don’t know how much longer it would’ve gone on if she hadn’t come and got me so I’m very thankful for her for coming and saving me. (Participant #36, Alumnus)
     

    I do remember walking from PIKE [Pi Kappa Alpha] to DSP [Delta Sigma Phi], which is where everything happened. We went to DSP and I don’t completely remember getting there. Honestly the only thing I really remember is talking to a guy. I thought he told me he was a freshman and that his name was […]. He was wearing a grass hula skirt and that’s kind of all I remembered. The next thing I remembered was blacking in to us having sex. I was freaking out. I didn’t know how I got there. It’s not like I was unconscious and then I woke up. I know I was conscious during the whole thing, but I have no recollection of how it happened and how we got there. It was the guy that was wearing the hula skirt. Then I remember thinking, I’m uncomfortable. I want to leave. But I don’t remember how I communicated it to him. I remember him not stopping. Somehow it ended and I left. (Participant #39, Alumnus)
     

    They [PIKE and DSP] both were disbanded the same year. I think it was my sophomore year. They kicked them off campus. Cal Poly doesn’t recognize them anymore, but the national PIKE and DSP still recognize them as a chapter. It’s the frats themselves that just are saying, “Even though you get kicked off campus, we still like you. You’re still okay.” (Participant #39, Alumnus)
     

    There’s good guys in fraternities, but just the culture, especially just the culture in the U.S. as a whole, I feel like it’s even magnetized in fraternities because it’s just a bunch of dudes being dudes. It’s not an excuse and they just try to be as macho as possible and I feel like that’s why so many of these things happen. I think if fraternities want to stay around, they seriously need to adjust what their culture is. (Participant #39, Alumnus)
     

    I lived in a studio apartment by myself and had a good friend who lived down the hall from me in Mustang Village who belonged to a fraternity. I was not dating anyone at the time and my friend introduced me to a brother of his who asked if I wanted to go to a party at the fraternity house on Valentine's Day (1990). I remember driving to meet him at the fraternity house. His name was […]. They had kegs at the house and he offered to get me a drink. This guy was about 6', pushing 200 lbs. I was 5'4", 125 lbs. That night, I had drink for drink with him so you can imagine, it didn't take much to get me drunk. I lost count at the fifth drink. I'm not sure if that was his intention or not, because I didn't really know him. I don't even remember talking much at the party because it was so loud. I do remember at one point realizing that I needed to get out of there because everything seemed really hazy and I got scared that I was not in control. He drove my car to take me to my studio apartment and walked me to the door. I remember trying to put the keys in the doorknob and the keys falling to the ground because I couldn't get the key in. My next memory was waking up the next morning with him there next to me and both of us naked. (Participant #40, Alumnus)
     

    It was a small house party. There was this one person there that I had known through other friends. I thought he was really nice so I was hanging out with him. I ended up just basically being left by my friends, but we knew all the people there so it wasn’t like they were really leaving me. Then the one person who I knew that I mentioned offered to walk me home. We got halfway to my place and he was like, “Oh you should just come to my place (his fraternity house) instead. It’s way closer.” I was like, “Okay. I don’t want to hook up with you. I don’t want to do anything.” I remember this part so clearly and I really trusted him so I was like, okay it’s fine. I ended up going back to his place and he raped me. (Participant #41, Student)
     

    I definitely do not affiliate with any of the frats just from all of the things that I hear and the culture that goes on within their groups. (Participant #42, Student)
     

    I know it’s controversial to stereotype people, like frat boys, but statistically also frat boys rape three times as much as the regular, average man. (Participant #46, Student)



    What I ended up doing was talking to a lot of men, especially fraternities, and letting them know just how common it is. A lot of them when I would say the statistic of, “We don’t know for sure, but it’s probably 1/4 or 1/5 women.” They were like, “Really?” And they weren’t trying to be like, “That’s not true,” but they were actually genuinely shocked. They had no idea. I was like, “Yeah it happens way more often than you would think.” (Participant #47, Alumnus)
     

    I was at a frat party and I was with my roommates and we just wanted to go out one last time before the quarter ended. It’s just so dark inside. I mean you don’t really know what’s going on, plus drinking a lot and everything. There was this guy. We started making out and everything. He grabbed my wrist and took me to his room. He started taking off my clothes and wanted me to give him a hand job and I said “no,” but he insisted. He just kept on going. I just kind of gave in. It’s a little bit spotty when it comes to that. I remember texting my roommates saying, “Where are you guys?” and I didn’t get a response. (Participant #51, Student)
     

    Recently, I’ve had a second experience at Cal Poly. It was at a fraternity. It started with a boy going around…because he’s not a man. He’s a boy. He had found out that about my sexuality and he started making comments to all his friends and whispering, “Oh I wonder if she’ll have a threesome with me.” “Oh she’s been wanting to have sex with me, can you believe that?” Literally have never even talked to this guy before yet he was exploiting my body for his own bragging rights. I had just went to a semi-formal with one of his friends and we had met once. All of these guys were coming up and really respectfully telling me, “We’re defending you. This guy is going into social standards too and we’d like to have you come do a report so we can do what we need to do, but we want to let you know that this is happening and this is being said about you. We don’t believe it, but we want you to know.” […] Then I see him come into the same room as me. I’m like, “Okay fuck that.” I immediately go to the opposite side of the room. I just stayed [there]. To a point where he came up to me and I was talking to my friend. He cornered me and tried to start making out with me and tried to put his hands down my pants and grasp different parts of my body immediately. He was able to touch me inappropriately. I don’t believe in violence at all, but I had never defended myself in that way. I have to always go back to my high school experience. That prepared me, when I was hit by my ex-boyfriend, to know this is not the time to fucking back down. You got to woman up to this little boy. I just fucking started fighting back. He wanted to fight back and that’s what scared me the most. Then it led from an inappropriate touch of harassment, all of that, into gender-based violence. […] Also, the frat boy’s position was taken away from him, but he still remains in the frat doing the same things to other women. (Participant #52, Student)
     

    Let’s talk about the ratio at frat parties. That promotes rape culture. You’re having a ratio of women to men so you have enough women to select from or if that girl says “no,” you have one that you can go to right next to [her]. That’s disgusting. You give them alcohol to lower their inhibitions and don’t allow them to bring their own alcohol into the parties...Oh? And you’re the ones providing [alcohol]? Oh? What? I just think about that and I’m like, hmm…wow. I go and look around and there’s girls that are being cornered into walls with the guy’s hand over her. You can just tell she’s uncomfortable. (Participant #52, Student)
     

    Well between what happened to me and what happened to my roommate freshman year…she was the D.D. [designated driver] at a PIKE party. They gave her a bottle of water that was spiked with ketamine and they gang raped her. Between her and working through that trauma with her...because when she became my roommate, it was all so fresh…it was a very rough six months that we lived together, but she had one of the biggest impacts on my life. (Participant #54, Alumnus)
     

    I definitely feel like the fraternity culture, the “bros” culture here, is very prominent and maybe a lot of things get swept under the rug unnoticed because they’re in this community and they don’t want to snitch on other people or the girls are too scared to hurt their sorority’s reputation so they don’t say anything. (Participant #57, Student)
     

    In my first year of college [during] the second week of school, I was at a fraternity party and I had drank a lot. They had jungle juice there and I vaguely remember guys handing me jungle juice drinks. I couldn’t really taste the alcohol, so I drank a lot of them. I remember meeting a guy early on in the night and he gave me his number. We were talking and he seemed really cool. […] No one else in the party was in the garage besides me and my roommate and that one guy. My roommate was still there and I remember him putting his hand up my skirt and me pushing it away. I don’t remember anything else. I had another friend there that was also one of my roommates who walked into the garage. My friend walked in, saw me, and freaked out because this guy was literally assaulting me while I was passed out unconscious. (Participant #58, Student)
     

    My roommate told me the next day what had happened and I never went back to that frat again. I blocked the guy’s number. Every time I hear the name of the frat, I always get chills and flashbacks. The only people who know to this day are my two roommates that were there. (Participant #58, Student)
     

    I want to talk about fraternity date parties and formals and how that culture has changed the way I think about Cal Poly and Greek life. Most guys ask girls to these events because of the assumption that they will sleep with them after it. Even if they say, “Do you want to go as friends?” most of the time that’s not what they mean or what they try to do. I’ve seen it in multiple cases where girls will be like, “Well I don’t want to have sex with him so I’m not going.” That should not be how we think. We should be able to go to fraternity events without the worry in the back of our heads that we might get sexually assaulted if we drink too much. Every time I’ve gone to an event like that, sex has been the expectation and it has been the expectation my friends have also experienced. (Participant #58, Student)
     

    I was at a frat party with two or three of my friends. I was super drunk. The morning after everything happened, I remembered barely anything. But now, my memory has come back. What I remember is my two friends that I was with were both talking to guys. At one point, I just remember being completely by myself and this guy coming up to me. We were just dancing. Then I just remember talking to him and hearing his name. The next thing I remember is walking in the street with him and leaving that house. My two friends were there with other guys. Then I remember walking through a door of another house and walking straight from the front door into a bedroom and making out with him and knowing that was okay with me. […] I didn’t want to do anything else because I was so drunk. My mind just kind of went into a blur. I remember him saying, “I’m going to go get a condom,” and me [thinking] in my head, no. So I said, “No. That’s okay, no.” He’s like, “No. I’m going to go get a condom.” I’m like, “No. No, I don’t want to.” The next thing I remember is feeling it and just me laying there. […] I remember him saying something like he needed help spreading my legs, but I couldn’t really do anything because I was so drunk. My body was just limp. (Participant #59, Student)
        


  5. ACADEMICS

       

    I didn’t want to go to school or class. I started failing because I just wouldn’t go or I wouldn’t want to study. (Participant #4, Student)
     

    I would get help from my teachers and professors and they were great and really helpful and obviously cared about how I was doing in school. I would still get emails from them after the fact...even when I wasn’t their student anymore. (Participant #4, Student)
     

    I think that a lot of faculty…like as a whole, faculty seems like they would help you and that they would want to be there for you. But in reality, when you reach out to them...I’ve had friends who’ve reached out and nothing has ever been done about it. (Participant #8, Student)
     

    Most of the time, I just don’t want to go to class or campus because I’d rather just stay at home and not have to be looking over my shoulder. (Participant #9, Student)



    Eventually, the anxiety kept me from wanting to attend class and that whole thing coupled with other things that happened in that summer before my third year started caused me to ultimately drop out of school. (Participant #13, Student)
     

    My academic advisor, Katelyn O’Brien from OCOB [Orfalea College of Business], she was a huge sense of support because I met with her quite a lot and she could see how my journey changed me. (Participant #13, Student)

     
    I would also try to go to class and then I would just not be able to go to class because I would just be in the bathroom crying. I would just go home. That impacts my academics and my social life and all those things. (Participant #16, Student)
     

    My second year, I took a break. I took a one quarter break because I was just doing so terribly. (Participant #17, Alumnus)
     

    But it also meant that sometimes I would be sitting in class and I would have a flashback. I would be paralyzed in my seat going through a flashback in class. That’s why I had to take a quarter off because I was just doing terribly in my classes and having a hard time socially. (Participant #17, Alumnus)

     
    I had a social ethics class and one of our units was on abortion and that’s a hard topic for me because I’ve had a miscarriage before. Inevitably, it comes up, what about in cases with rape and incest? You have to hear people’s opinions on that. […] Honestly, when those kinds of things come up in class, it negatively impacts my grade because I just don’t go to them. (Participant #19, Student)
     

    Being in finance and I’m one of the only women in the room. There’s classrooms of forty to fifty people and there’s maybe four girls in there. It’s very weird for me because things get said and jokes get made that aren’t funny. If you tell them something, you’re being dramatic or you're taking things too seriously or you’re too sensitive. Then you get regarded as immature or not being able to handle things and then you get regarded as lesser and you don’t get taken as seriously. Even professors, I’ve been lucky to have some really good finance and accounting male professors, but some of the male professors are still pretty gross. To any woman, that’s very hard to deal with. (Participant #19, Student)
     

    I had a finance professor and he was talking about the value of money. This was the same situation with forty or fifty people and there’s four girls in the room. He’s like, “If you guys saw a quarter on the ground, how many of you would stop to pick it up?” A lot of people raised their hand. He’s like, “Okay, what about a dime?” Some people put their hands down. And then he’s like, “Okay, a nickel?” When he got to a penny, I was the only one with my hand still up because I’m a broke bitch and if it’s not inconvenient, I’m going to pick the fucking penny up. I had my hand up and he looked at me and he said, “So I can get you to bend over for a penny?” He just moved on. A couple people laughed and he just moved on with the lecture. I could not pay attention for the rest of the lecture. I didn’t want to get up and leave because everyone is going to know why I got up and left. That’s going to draw attention to me. It didn’t even phase him. It didn’t phase anyone.  (Participant #19, Student)
     

    I definitely think it is affecting my future and having a career. It really set me back and it made me stay at Cal Poly for six years instead of four and half, maybe five. It definitely made me drop out of classes. (Participant #20, Alumnus)
     

    You can’t tell your classmates. You start doing poorly in school or not showing up for obligations. They just think you’re lazy or something. I know for me personally, I didn’t tell my teachers until winter quarter my senior year when this happened fall quarter, junior year. (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    One of my teachers, she was my COMS teacher at the time, and she was so supportive. I continued to go to her office hours afterwards. I sat there and cried and she was just super amazing about it. One day I was having a really bad day and she offered to take me out to lunch. She was so nice. (Participant #26, Student)
     

    It’s still going to affect my grades. I pay out of state, I can’t afford to just take my time here. (Participant #26, Student)
     

    I’d say I had a hard time just focusing on my classes because I’d start crying a little bit. (Participant #27, Student)
     

    Sometimes when I’m so anxious, I can’t think about anything school wise. (Participant #29, Student)
     

    For a year after, I had the worst grades because I could not focus in class. I kept worrying, what if he comes in my class? He’s in my major. What if I have my next class with him?...when I was scheduling [classes] and stuff like that. Even his friend that was harassing me. I just couldn’t focus in class so I got really bad grades. (Participant #30, Student)
     

    I think that’s another thing is teachers don’t really want to talk about it. I wish during the whole Kavanaugh thing, teachers would’ve told students at the beginning of class, “I know what’s going on. Here’s some support if you guys need it. If not, that’s fine, but just throwing it out there,” and then get back to class. (Participant #31, Student)
     

    It just really takes away from what I could put into my school work. There’s times in class when we’re talking about this and this and I just can’t think because I’m just thinking about, oh you’re harasser won city council. Or, oh everyone believes Kavanaugh, but you can’t speak up because people are not going to believe you. (Participant #31, Student)
     

    On campus, I can easily confide in my professors too. There’s a couple I’ve been able to talk to about it. (Participant #31, Student)
     

    I don’t think there was a year when I did not withdraw from at least one quarter. Because of that, it further isolated me from people. (Participant #33, Alumnus)
     

    Immediately after, I was a train wreck. I luckily have really empathetic professors like Dr. Waitinas. I was in her romanticism core class and I was like, “Dr. Waitinas, this happened to me and I’m probably not going to pass this class. Honestly, I’m not doing the reading.” It mostly impacted my school work. I would say I passed no classes that quarter and got an incomplete. That was really hard and it did set me back in my graduation timeline, which was also really hard because later down the line, I got really down on myself. This took a toll and cost me a lot of money and a lot of time. (Participant #34, Alumnus)
     

    I think it’s also a little bit difficult because I’m an engineering major and a lot of my classes are predominantly male. There’s a lot of male professors. There’s not much female representation so that makes it more difficult. Having no females in the room can sometimes be scary for me. If I wanted to disclose to a professor, I think I’d have more reservations if it was a male. But also I haven’t really disclosed to any professors yet because I haven’t really felt comfortable doing that. (Participant #35, Student)
     

    I just got diagnosed with anxiety and depression as a result of what happened and stuff. Now navigating that, do I tell my professors? I’ve been having some bad fatigue side effects and it’s making school a little bit difficult because I’m tired and also I need to sleep more at night and I don’t have the time. I’m like, okay do I try to ask for some lee-way? Then that opens a whole other can of worms. It can definitely be difficult with professors, trying to talk to them. (Participant #35, Student)
     

    Once [my perpetrator] opened the investigation on me, I failed almost all of my classes for two quarters straight. (Participant #41, Student)

     
    It’s really impacted me academically, especially. My GPA is complete shit and that’s okay, but it didn’t allow me to switch majors when I wanted to. Just different things like that where I feel like it’s really affected my career path as well, which sucks. And my graduation date, I’m graduating a year after I should be. It’s hard too because I’m a fourth year now and everyone’s like, “Oh you’re graduating in the spring!” and I’m like, “no,” and then I think about it…the reason why. (Participant #41, Student)
     

    It feels like I’ve had to go above and beyond with working on this case while also balancing school work. Within the span of 3 quarters, I have had to withdraw from over 28 units. I had to drop a class because there was a person who kind of looked like my perpetrator and I was just like, no. (Participant #43, Student)
     

    Also, my professors and my academic advisor have been so understanding and patient and helpful. I have withdrawn from so many classes and feel like I’m not even on a suggested course for class-taking. It’s been really hard trying to navigate that myself, but I’ve been super lucky to have professors and people who are willing to work with me and help me stay motivated. (Participant #43, Student)
     

    I called Cal Poly services for medical advice and they weren’t very helpful at all. They said I just need to go talk to someone else essentially, which is very disconcerting. I went to the E.R. to speak with someone about it and then they just said it was up to me whether or not I wanted to take the Plan B, but to take out my birth control and stop the anti-malaria. It was super traumatic. Then that was right before I went back to school. That was the first day of that weekend before we came back to school. I was super traumatized. I thought about dropping out of classes and taking half time and doing all these things because my emotional state was completely dictated by this hormonal pill. I wasn’t in control. I felt very disconnected from myself and my body and my academics. It took me a good four weeks to actually feel normal again. (Participant #44, Student)
     

    Like I said, it definitely affected my confidence with academics and what I felt like I could achieve or even sustain with the schedule I’m holding. (Participant #44, Student)
     

    I often miss class because I am too tired to go or I am too anxious to walk around campus. Unfortunately, that can impact grades and every quarter I end up having to email professors explaining my absences and hoping they will accommodate me. It is a very wearying cycle to go through every quarter. (Participant #48, Student)
     

    I was taking a class that quarter, where one of the books we were required to ready was about a woman that got raped and it just sent me into this whole spiral. This was the first time that I really began to reflect on what had happened that night and accept that I had been sexually assaulted. I started failing all of my classes that quarter. I couldn’t bring myself to do anything for that class anymore I had to drop out of it. I had to try to explain to my parents why this was necessary, without telling them what my actual motives were for dropping the class. I didn’t feel like there was anyone I could talk to. (Participant #53, Alumnus)
     

    It was hard to go to class because I would see him [my perpetrator] every day. (Participant #58, Student)
     

    ​​I make sure they [the perpetrators] are not in my classes or I’ll drop them. (Participant #58, Student)
        
  6. INTERSECTIONALITY

       

    We should definitely look out for more underserved groups, QTPOC [Queer Trans People of Color] who are way more likely to get assaulted than anybody else. Trans women…it’s just really not good. (Participant #3, Student)

     
    With everything that happened spring quarter, with the racism and all of that stuff, my best friend (now my roommate), he had also felt social isolation from Cal Poly so we both found common ground and found that there was a lot of characteristics of the student body that we did not associate with. (Participant #13, Student)

     
    I’m a women’s and gender studies minor. It’s the only place on campus where I feel safe enough to talk about sexual issues where I will proudly and openly say, “I’m a queer woman of color.” (Participant #13, Student)

     
    My parents to this day don’t know. They know I advocate against it. They know I’m outspoken. They know I fight, but they don’t know why I fight. That was really frustrating too because everyone would refer me back to my parents. At this time, I had such a strange relationship with them already that telling them about...yeah, it was just not an option at all. Blanca [Dr. Blanca Martinez-Navarro, Assistant Dean of Students], being a woman of color, understood that so that was really impactful for me too. Something that I found, for lack of a better word, the whiteness of the support. It was very much like, go outside and get some exercise. Tell your parents. Call your grandma and grandpa. [...] For me, I didn’t have family. I didn’t really have friends either. (Participant #13, Student)

     
    I think that when you’re ethnic as well, it adds a deeper level to it, especially if the man that assaulted you was a white man because that becomes a power dynamic. I just protect myself at all costs. (Participant #15, Student)

     
    I don’t feel like Cal Poly cares about me as an individual...as a Hispanic, Native American, Jewish woman. I don’t feel represented at this school. I don’t feel like I can walk around at night and not have to worry about that. Or go to a party at a fucking frat that this university supports and takes money from, I don’t feel safe. The point is that you should feel safe, not that you should be able to have resources after something like this has happened. (Participant #15, Student)

     
    Also the first thing that happened was [done by] a woman. I identify as pansexual. […] Bisexual, you like both women and men. Pansexual, you also are attracted to transgender people or non-binary people, it’s like [being attracted to] everyone basically. When I first was kind of realizing that I was pansexual, I was convinced that I was only interested in women because I was sexually assaulted by a woman. That really fucked me up. Am I really bisexual? What’s going on? It was really difficult to come to terms with my sexuality because of that. [...] It’s a weird problem, especially because everyone’s like, why are you gay? You chose to be gay because you were attacked...? It’s just a mind fuck. That’s a big problem. (Participant #16, Student)

     
    It doesn’t really have to do with it, but I feel like I have to say that gay culture...a lot of times, people just assume that you’re fine with doing stuff. If you’re gay or you’re out, you can just touch people and do whatever you want. I have a couple friends who are gay, not a ton because everybody here is straight and it’s stupid. I told them what happened, and they tried to make it seem like I was “lucky” and they asked how it was. This happens all the time even when I’m out and someone grabs my butt or something. I’m just expected to like it since I’m gay. That’s what’s expected from you and you should be okay with it because that’s who you are. I guess in a sense, I know for a lot of people here, it’s hard. (Participant #22, Student)

     
    Anything that has to do with relationships or mental health, I can’t talk to my mom and dad about it because of culture. They grew up in the Philippines and we moved here when I was three. They still have that mindset. I cannot open up to them with a lot of things. When I did [open up to them] my senior year of high school about my mental health, did that go well? No. With this happening, I have a lack of feeling supported. (Participant #27, Student)

     
    I found out that person [my harasser] won city council back home. Well it turns out he didn’t. After, they redid the votes and he didn’t, but still it took two weeks for that to happen. For those two weeks, I’m just like, what do I do? You guys let this known sexual assault predator win city council. I mean I could go back home and bitch about it to the board, but it’s a council of seven Republican men. Are they really going to believe a minority...a woman? (Participant #31, Student)

     
    I’m going to say from my perspective, I’m half Asian and so that means when I’m at Cal Poly, people think I’m full Asian. I don’t know. Going to Cal Poly made me really identify as a woman of color, an Asian woman, just because white people would label me, “Oh she’s just a hot Asian,” all the time. I was like, okay I am this now. The people have spoken. This is who I am. Give them what they want. I navigated it as this weird Asian girl that didn’t get close to people. (Participant #33, Alumnus)

     
    Towards the end of Cal Poly, I just didn’t really fuck with anyone unless they were disenfranchised in some way. I realized a lot of the people I was rubbing shoulders with were entitled, privileged white people. I just couldn’t fuck with them. They knew I was too damaged. I was too different. The shit that was in my head was too dark for them. I just couldn’t talk to them about it. Then I hang out with queer people or people of color or just people who get it and I didn’t feel so different. I didn’t feel so weird. I think because I was in journalism and it’s like a prep school over there, it was hard. It took me a long time to realize to navigate it, I’d have to just acknowledge who’s privileged and whose privilege prevents them from being empathetic. Cal Poly, the school itself, is not empathetic. If you have an unempathetic student body, it’s worse. (Participant #33, Alumnus)

     
    Cal Poly is just so “Yay!,” “Mustangs!” Wow-a-Rama was just such a nightmare. I just was like, okay apparently the yee-haws run the school so I’m just going to stick with them if I want to make it. Then I realized the hard way, no I’m never going to fit in with these guys. I’m setting myself up for harassment. It’s hard to navigate. (Participant #33, Alumnus)

     
    That was another part [of how] my friend and I figured out it was the same guy because she got it [gonorrhea] too. She was also in my sorority and a lot of people think we look alike. We’re both half Asian so a lot of people think we are twins. I don’t know if this is just us making things up, but we were putting the timeline together and he was with me first and then found her after I left. We were thinking that maybe he was drunk and thought she was me and was trying to hook up again or finish hooking up or something like that. That was a huge thing on me too. I was like, well if this hadn’t happened with me, then I wouldn’t have put her in that situation. That was a huge thing with me already feeling bad about the whole situation and then I felt even worse because I thought I was the reason something happened to my friend. (Participant #39, Alumnus)

     
    My parents were from the Philippines so neither of them ever talked to me about sex, relationships and other issues as I was growing up. I was raised Catholic so that added another element of feeling guilty and to blame. I think now that I'm older I've gained perspective and other experiences that allow me to look back on that time and try to work through what happened so that I can eventually forgive myself and let go of the pain around this incident. (Participant #40, Alumnus)

     
    I feel as though, especially being a woman of color going to this school, men don’t respect me as much as they’d respect a white woman. I’m not saying this just based off of my gut feeling or anything. There have been multiple instances where I’ve seen the same man that treats me very differently, treat a white woman very nicely. It’s something that you just observe. As a survivor, it reminds you that you’re not ever going to be treated the same way as a white woman in this society. I’m not saying that white women don’t go through stuff, but if you do a lot of research, you do realize that women of color are a lot more susceptible to being molested, being raped. Women of color, especially Black women, but women of color in general are assaulted at much higher rates than white women. I’m not saying that white women don’t get assaulted. It does happen. It’s a lot more common for a woman of color to become assaulted. (Participant #45, Student)

     
    It’s a little triggering just because as a woman of color and being more susceptible to these crimes and these assaults, you start realizing it’s because men in this society (not all men, some men are really nice), men in this society generally don’t hold you to the same value as a white woman. I really don’t think that they even notice that they’re doing this. I just think it’s very subconscious. I feel like people grow up in this society and they are taught from a very young age that white women are the […] pinnacle ideal of beauty. I don’t expect a lot of people at Cal Poly to understand this either because they don’t. (Participant #45, Student)

     
    The other [perpetrator] thought I was “exotic”  just because of my sexuality. (Participant #52, Student)

     
    Then when you factor in race, sexual orientation, and gender identity, it gets even worse. Indigenous women and multiracial women are the two highest groups in the US that experience sexual violence, and bisexual women are statistically more likely than straight women to be survivors of sexual violence. It just goes to show how sexual violence against women is so closely tied to racism, homophobia, and transphobia. (Participant #56, Student)

     
    I think maybe there is a disconnect here in terms of physical contact in Asian culture and American culture. Maybe the man thought that I was okay with it or [saw] it as a bypass because I was so casual. But that made me feel really uncomfortable, but I was so scared to tell my mom because my mom is already such a protective person because she’s a single mom that I didn’t want to burden her with more of these things so I kept it to myself. (Participant #57, Student)

     
    I’m pretty sure there’s prejudice when it comes to working through cases maybe with people of color and their predator being a white male. Just differences in sexuality and gender...that could be a thing too that deters them from having fair trials. Overall not a hostile, but also not welcoming or encouraging enough for survivors to step out and share their experience. (Participant #57, Student)

     
    I don’t know just the way that the climate here at Cal Poly prevents me from being able to share and work through my feelings, taking into consideration my cultural background. This school is considered “prestigious” in a lot of aspects and a lot of students that come here, parents come from an okay socio-economic background. Their public education talked to them and educated them on this subject more. I just feel like I’m always a step behind and with this incident that happened, it put me two steps behind because you can’t talk about it. (Participant #57, Student)

     
    It’s kind of difficult just because I know the person so well and our group of people of color on this campus is so tiny. Everyone knows everything about everyone. For all everyone knows is we hooked up or we had sex, but then it’s like, oh they were together when they don’t know the truth. (Participant #61, Student)


        
  7. IMPACT ON DAILY LIFE

       

    That specific incident at the time affected my daily life because I had to worry about seeing him and that was stressful. I think he’s still in town, but I don’t see him anywhere so I don’t worry about it. That was mostly the problem. Then just basic sexual assault trauma things. Being triggered by people talking about sexual assault or just having a story to tell people. (Participant #3, Student)

     
    I would definitely party and go out more...I would just use it as an escape. It definitely makes me think of where to go. I don’t want to walk home alone anymore or I ask people to come get me or I drive a lot now. It makes me have to be a lot more careful than I think I should have to be. (Participant #4, Student)

     
    I get anxiety if I see or talk about the guy, but otherwise everything's okay. I find it awkward when people talk about sexual assault or campus resources or such around me now, like it's some big secret I have, which I guess it is. (Participant #5, Student)

     
    When I finally moved off campus, it absolutely affected the way I live. I live alone now, which I love because fuck roommates and being an R.A. But I bought an extra deadbolt for my door, I bought locks to put on my windows. I don’t care how hot it is outside. I close them [the windows] as soon as it gets dark out. (Participant #6, Student)

     
    I would say that it still affects me to this day because that was the only instance that I was raped, but I’ve been sexually assaulted multiple times so I feel like I’m very easily triggered now. When I go downtown, sometimes a stranger will touch my back and I just freak out. I get panic attacks more easily over things like that. It’s definitely something that you wish you could get over faster, but it just sticks with you. (Participant #8, Student)

     
    I get ready for class and my outfit is specifically chosen to be like, “Okay what kind of comments will this invite? How many men are going be looking at me?” I want to look cute. I want to feel good. But I don’t want to be targeted. It’s a twenty-minute walk away from where I park my car to where school is. I’m thinking I don’t know who I’m going to run into, I don’t know how late I’m coming home back from class, and who’s going to be on the street at that time? I walk by people who play beer pong in their front yard and it’s like, what are they going to say? What are they going to think about how I am dressed? Are professors going to sexualize me if I’m wearing this? Just everything. (Participant #9, Student)

     
    I just run through people and judge them and go through the questions in my head of how bad are they? Can I trust them? Could I be alone in a room with them? That’s usually what I’m thinking during class, not really paying attention. (Participant #9, Student)

     
    All my priorities in life have shifted. When you can’t get out of bed in the morning, and you forget to eat for days on end, school just doesn’t really seem high on the priority list. Yeah I’m going to therapy, but it doesn’t fix everything. When you don’t have the support of your parents or support of some friends who just don’t get it...friends that just dismiss it and tell you to be quiet, it doesn’t really motivate you to do anything and you always feel so alone. (Participant #9, Student)

     
    Whenever things are in movies or I walk past the Safer sign, it hits me harder than just walking past a normal Mustang News ad or something. It definitely affects me day to day still. I think it will forever. (Participant #10, Student)

     
    My fear every day that I wake up...it’s always on my mind...being molested, being raped. [...] Slowly, but surely, that fear has seeped into every part of my life. (Participant #13, Student)

     
    Ever since then [the incident], I’ve never gone to a party and drank at a party. The only time I drink is when I’m with my friends in my own apartment. (Participant #15, Student)

     
    I feel like an incident like that in which your power is taken away from you, it’s really hard to remain confident and remain feeling whole because I’m never going to get that back. I’ll never get that night back. (Participant #15, Student)

     
    When I do think of it, it just makes me feel like I don’t know who I am, which is already a hard question at twenty years old. (Participant #15, Student)

     
    I just don’t trust men. I just assume constantly that their goal is to have sex with me or something, which is not a good thing because I’m not trusting and I’m very cautious. (Participant #16, Student)

     
    For me, I am much more cautious of why people are talking to me because I don’t know people’s motivations and I don’t trust people anymore. For instance at my workplace, I have people that I work with and sometimes they’re really nice to me and then they’re talking to me a lot. It gets to the point where I’m like, okay you’re being really nice. You’re talking to me a lot. I’m no longer comfortable because there’s too much interaction. I’d say that the experiences made me much more afraid of people, specifically men. (Participant #17, Alumnus)

     
    For a while, I would get nightmares every night. Really the only thing that helps with that is smoking. It impacts the fact that what I consider to be well-rested is definitely an entirely different definition of other people’s. I’m like, wow I didn’t wake up every three hours. (Participant #19, Student)

     
    Also, just the way that you feel in relation to the rest of the world. The way that you view the world. We saw the edge of the earth and walked back from it. You don’t trust people. You don’t see people the same. You know now that anyone is capable of anything. (Participant #19, Student)

     
    It’s hard to know how it impacted my life because as I said, I was assaulted starting at the age of seven. It’s hard for me to know what it was like before being assaulted because I was so young. (Participant #20, Alumnus)

     
    It’s getting a little bit better because it’s been years after, but I’m probably going to go to therapy for the rest of my life. I struggle with PTSD every single day. It really affects my work and stuff. If I get triggered at work...it affects my schooling. (Participant #20, Alumnus)

     
    Oh my gosh. It impacts it so much. It’s been over two years and there’s never a day [that] you don’t think about what happened. I’m definitely in a much better place now because I moved to a different state, which is absurd that it takes that level. I don’t live in a place where my perpetrator lives anymore. Stuff like that definitely has helped me, but back when I was in school, it was horrible. (Participant #21, Alumnus)

     
    I’m constantly on the lookout for it, all the time. If I go into a room or a building or a bar or wherever I am, I look at who’s in there, I count how many guys, and I figure out how I would get out or how I would leave or fight somebody off or what I would say, who I would look to for a girl. I do this unconsciously at this point. (Participant #24, Alumnus)

     
    I’m a lot more cynical of humans, but mostly men. I am quicker to assume a negative thing about a situation than I am about a positive thing. Before I was like, nothing is going to happen, everything is fine, don’t worry about it. Now I’m like, something is going to happen. Something usually never does, but I’m like, something is going to happen because I don’t want to be unprepared for it. (Participant #24, Alumnus)

     
    I  think it’s something that I think of every day even though it’s happened so long ago. (Participant #29, Student)

     
    I feel uncomfortable around every single guy. (Participant #30, Student)

     
    I don’t know if I’ll ever be over it. (Participant #30, Student)

     
    I think it’s very hard for me to trust people. (Participant #31, Student)

     
    I don’t think people know how expensive it is to be a survivor because sometimes the therapy adds up. If you’re doing 100 dollars a week, that’s 400 dollars a month. That’s a car payment. To the days you don’t want to do anything and you want to do self-care. My self-care is spending 1000 dollars [while] shopping that I can’t afford, but I’m still going to do it because it looks cute, what I buy. But it’s not just a physical price, it’s also a monetary price. It’s also an emotional cost that comes with it. It mind-boggles me that people don’t understand that it took a lot for me to get out of bed this morning and be able to get ready and come. There are times where I like to be covered up in just a sweater because I don’t want anyone to look at me and I don’t want anyone to sexualize me. (Participant #31, Student)

     
    Anytime anyone invites me to something that’s happening on campus or any place where that might happen...bars or parties...I think that comes to the immediate forefront of my mind. Okay, what do I need to do to protect myself? Do I feel safe going to this? Do I have a friend who’s going who I know will be by my side and take care of me if something happens? I started carrying a knife and mace with me on a daily basis everywhere I went, even during the day just because I never knew what was coming. Participant #32, Student)

     
    I don’t think there’s ever a day that goes by when it doesn’t at some point cross my mind. (Participant #32, Student)

     
    It just takes a toll on your body. You don’t think about it every day. It’s not like I wake up and I’m like, oh remember that time you were assaulted? That doesn’t happen, but it’s like my body really does remember and it’s not over it. (Participant #33, Alumnus)

     
    I just never go out to drink without someone that I trusted with me. I still don’t even do that. I won’t even go out without my husband unless I’m with a really good friend that I trust. I don’t always have the best judgment when I drink. I let people get too close. I only drink outside of my home if I’m with someone I trust. Normally, I just drink at home just because I get kind of nervous being intoxicated out in public. (Participant #38, Alumnus)

     
    I have a really hard time...I question the intentions of a lot of people that I meet. (Participant #38, Alumnus)

     
    I am faced with the reality that I may always suffer from this event. (Participant #41, Student)

     
    I was sexually assaulted by my first and most trusted friend in college. I met him in Mustang Band during the first week of school. We developed a close friendship and eventually, he destroyed my trust and wronged me.  My entire college experience thus far has been tainted by this whole experience. College could have looked so much different than it does right now. I could be thriving instead of surviving. (Participant #43, Student)

     
    I’m still not there yet where I feel comfortable with guys when I’m by myself with them. I just don’t feel very safe at times. It makes me want a bodyguard. It makes me want a protector. I think that those are the main things socially, academically, and physically. Emotionally, it was really difficult because I felt like it was the suffering of a lot of women over time. That it’s just been an accepted part of human nature that is completely wrong. I felt the weight of other people who have been through that experience as well. (Participant #44, Student)

     
    I really stopped drinking alcohol after I associated how many times I was surrounded in negative energies where my body was taken advantage of. I am still very hesitant to drink, and will generally choose not too because of the painful association I have with losing consciousness and bad things happening to my body. (Participant #49, Alumnus)

     
    I became very shut off from any social events, especially anything that involved alcohol. It was difficult because I was in a triple and both my roommates loved to party and often brought guys back to the room. During the rest of my freshman year, I mostly stayed in our room on weekend nights. I made excuses why I couldn’t go out. By spring quarter, I started driving home every other weekend to get away...I made up reasons why I needed to go home. (Participant #50, Alumnus)
     

    I started to really distance myself form my friends. I stopped going out. I stopped drinking. I just was in my room all the time. (Participant #51, Student)

     
    I realized no matter [how much] each day adds away from the date that every single one of these things happened, it’s emotional baggage I’m going to have for the rest of my life. (Participant #52, Student)

     
    For other survivors and their everyday life, I think everyone could relate with living in a hypersensitive state. (Participant #52, Student)

     
    I let it define me as a person. I felt like I owed people an explanation about why I was the way I was, and why I acted the way I did. And at the time, it felt like being sexually assaulted constantly affected the way I acted. But since I didn’t want to actually explain this to people, if felt like I was keeping this huge secret. (Participant #53, Alumnus)

     
    I ended up having to change my entire friend group, my ideals in life, and so for me, I had to go find myself. (Participant #55, Student)

     
    In the immediate aftermath, I would just be looking around all the time for that guy. I would be scared just to walk out the door. I had this idea in my head that he’d be behind a bush or something and he’d pop out and do something again, you know? That kind of affected my daily life in that I was just scared to walk out the door and go to class. (Participant #56, Student)

     
    I’m definitely more closed off and struggle to trust any man. I go out a lot less, I don’t drink as much, and I always count how much I drink. (Participant #58, Student)

     
    My experiences have made it hard for me to be my happy, outgoing, adventurous self. (Participant #58, Student)



    Just going out on the weekends will not ever be the same. (Participant #59, Student)

     
        
  8. RESILIENCE

       

    At one point, you stop looking at yourself like a victim and you feel more empowered that you’ve been able to get over it. (Participant #8, Student)

     
    I’d say today, I’ve processed and I’ve healed through a lot, but there’s still a lot that pains me. (Participant #13, Student)

     
    What happened to me wasn’t as bad as what happens to other people. To me, I see that as a sort of privilege. I take that privilege and I have that strength to speak up now. (Participant #13, Student)

     
    My own self has become a really strong pillar of support. I started putting love into myself. I started putting validation. I’m going to start crying now...it’s just being there for yourself. (Participant #13, Student)

     
    Maybe in a fucked up way it’s made me stronger. I don’t wish this on anybody, but I think that women have a hard time being confident, something like this can either plummet you or you can turn it around and be like, no this is going to be a source of power for me rather than a drain of power. (Participant #15, Student)

     
    I’ve chosen to not let it destroy me. That in itself is a powerful thing to experience. (Participant #15, Student)

     
    It feels good to share your story even if it is hard because other women and other survivors can see it and it’s only going to propel the cause. (Participant #15, Student)

     
    I feel like if I can make any type of difference because I’m a survivor, then that helps me accept it. (Participant #16, Student)

     
    When things go wrong in my life, I just tell the story over and over again. Every time I tell the story, I feel a little bit better about it and a little clearer. (Participant #18, Student)

     
    As I come to terms with what happened to me being worse and worse, I feel better about it. I feel better about the way I responded. I feel better about knowing that I did the best with what I had at the time. It’s given me this insight into this community on campus that I’ve always tried to empathize with, but never really understood. (Participant #18, Student)

     
    I want us to talk about it on a grand scale that’s why I was so excited about this project. I think that’s part of my doer attitude too though. The only way I’m going to feel better about this is if I contribute to the solution. There’s been this inspiration, I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but it’s me wanting to get involved in this movement against sexual assault. (Participant #18, Student)

     
    One of the biggest sources of strength is that I can always go back to that experience and remember how I kicked him out. No one else did that for me. I did that. That’s a huge source, if I need to remind myself of what I’m capable of or if I’m feeling scared or remembering that time or that moment, I’m like, remember what you did after that? You got his ass out of there. No one else did. That’s been helpful for me to remind myself of. You can do that because you did it. Not just like, oh you can do it yay, like an abstract thought. But you actually did it. That’s been pretty instrumental in being okay and moving on...or being as okay as you can be. (Participant #24, Alumnus)

     
    Activism was really good for me. Obviously sometimes it can get triggering because you’re going to deal with shit people. You’re going to deal with a community that needs to catch up to your politics. It gave me purpose. I was like, okay here’s my trauma. Instead of being self-destructive and hurting myself and maybe other people too because of it, I’m going to help people like me and help people that aren’t like me but are still going through it. (Participant #33, Alumnus)

     
    I addressed that it’s happened. It’s real. I went through it all. That’s why I’m able to sit here and have this conversation with you and not blame myself for everything, which is something that I did for several years because in that first situation, it was my idea because I was trying to appease him. That’s generally my issue. I need to stop trying to make people happy. (Participant #37, Student)

     
    Being a part of this project has allowed me to really open up parts of myself and feelings I’ve kept to myself and buried for so long. It’s been a painful process but I try to remind myself that my feelings will ebb and flow, that I won’t always feel like this, and that even though I’ll never forget what happened to me, the only way I can get through this is by facing it. (Participant #40, Alumnus)



    I realized as shitty as it was, it was empowering in the way that I could actually defend myself and stand up for myself and I feel like I reclaimed some power there and brought light to that person about what’s wrong with this rape culture. [...] The ocean and salt baths and self-care and forgiveness I think was the biggest thing for me. Having a way of letting go of the negative energy because I essentially absorbed negative energy from someone. Just purging that energy through exercise and through meditation. (Participant #44, Student)

     
    Believing in yourself that you can stand up for yourself if you need to. You aren’t powerless because it feels like you literally lose your power. You just have to build back up that battery I guess. (Participant #44, Student)

     
    To the survivors, we’re rising up and we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore. Not to live in that victim role. To let that go as quickly as you can because it’s debilitating. You aren’t what happens to you. (Participant #44, Student)

     
    Sharing my experience was a huge part of the healing process. Knowing I was helping others gave me the confidence to walk around campus as a proud survivor instead of a shameful, scared victim.  (Participant #48, Student)

     
    I find the most healing in sharing my story and actively doing my part to stop sexual assault from happening. Being an advocate for survivors and standing up for those who can’t voice their own stories is really empowering.  (Participant #48, Student)

     
    However, through recounting and owning my narrative, I am taking responsibility for my healing and defining the experience. I allow my healing process to open me up, and to be compassionate to others who have suffered forms of abuse. While the memories themselves aren’t pretty nor glorified narratives, they are not memories I would wish slated from my memory. I am thankful that through healing and making peace with my body, I am able to experience pleasure once again. (Participant #49, Alumnus)

     
    I went to therapy for about three months and it helped me a lot. To find what things make me happy again. To find the things that make me want to move on from the assault. And just establish the trust again with guys. That’s my story. (Participant #51, Student)

     
    I believe as a survivor and as an advocate, my voice is to give a platform to those who feel like they don’t have the strength or the confidence to do it themselves because they aren’t alone. I’m lucky enough to have the support system I do and to have to the confidence to be that voice and give them those platforms to where they feel safe. (Participant #52, Student)

     
    Get up. Go to work. Go to school. Love hard and share your passions. You taking those every day steps is proving the perpetrators wrong. That’s one thing that helps me live my everyday life. (Participant #52, Student)

     
    I’m a victim in this situation but I am a survivor. I’m not the victim in the life I live. I am in control of the life I live. No one can take that away from me. (Participant #52, Student)

     
    Vulnerability is fucking scary and being able to talk about things that may have hurt you or make you feel vulnerable is the most significant sign of your strength and it’s only going to help people with living the realities they didn’t get to choose for themselves. I’m creating my own reality now for the fact that three times in a row, I didn’t get to choose what my reality was. Your reality is how you bounce back. (Participant #52, Student)

     
    That man already had too much power over me in that moment, and every day I let it affect me, I let him have power over me again. I don’t want him or the memory to have any more power over me. It’s just a thing that happened to me now, rather than something that defines me. (Participant #53, Alumnus)

     
    With time though, I am slowly getting back to where I want to be and I am very proud of that. (Participant #58, Student)

     
    These experiences have given me strength and I’ve learned a lot through them. I’m stronger because of them, but I shouldn’t have had to go through them. No one should go through them. (Participant #58, Student)

        
  9. SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

       

    That would help with survivor stuff if they just had more support. No questions asked, therapy available. They mostly just refer you out to private insurance. Also better information for women on who’s a mandated reporter...having a mandated reporter say, “I’m a mandated reporter” before. (Participant #3, Student)

     
    It’s up to you to take account of your friends and their behavior. [...] A dude can be like, “Bro not a good look. Girls aren’t going to come to our house anymore.” Fine turn it into a sex thing. If you assault someone, how are you going to get pussy in the future? Not going to happen. The way you treat pussy now affects how much you get it in the future. It’s so frustrating that that’s the way it has to be, but it is. If you are a dangerous person, you are not going to get any in the future if people find out and neither are your friends.  (Participant #6, Student)

     
    I can see how if you’re not in orientation and just constantly dunked into the setting where they’re always talking about awareness things...after your orientation week, you could basically just forget that it’s a thing. That these statistics are real. (Participant #7, Student)


     
    We have all these GE’s, but nothing about how do you not hurt people. Even in the Title IX office, I feel like there’s a lot that could be changed and a lot that should be changed. Allegations should be taken more seriously, because I think there’s such a small percentage of people who actually lie about these things that if we took the time to investigate each allegation, you could see that. (Participant #8, Student)

     
    Some guys don’t know how to address this issue with their friends, but my advice for men is to ask questions, believe survivors, and become an advocate for your fellow peers. The friends I lost were the ones who did not loudly support me through my trauma. (Participant #9, Student)

     
    They need to provide more resources like Safer and survivors group and therapy because, right now, they can’t cater to all the students they have that are going through similar experiences. If the school’s not going to help by getting perpetrators in trouble, then they need to provide better therapy services because people are going to be struggling, not only with post-trauma stuff, but also with the fact that our school doesn’t care about them. (Participant #9, Student)

     
    I think a lot of the males here don’t understand consent and why it’s important. That’s something that needs to be worked on here. (Participant #12, Student)

     
    That would give me more closure, especially with [the graduate who had seven Title IX cases against him], his dad bought out his conviction essentially and fought his innocence. I want something like that to be completely illegal. I want there to be a red line of: If this is a convicted rapist, if there’s one incident, they’re out of the school. (Participant #13, Student)

     
    The problem is [that] we have Kavanaugh’s on our campus today. And those Kavanaugh’s are going to go up and they’re going to go into positions of power too and the cycle is never going to end. I think there needs to be a really harsh cracking down on racial incidents, on sexual assault incidents. Rape needs to be mandatory expulsion, no questions asked. I don’t care if there’s a threat of a lawsuit. The school has millions of dollars. We need lawyers. We need people on the inside who are going to fight for the students who are survivors, not just figureheads who are opening their bank accounts to let the dollars flow in because that’s what looks good. I’m really over the corruption and capitalism that impacts survivors’ lives because at the end of the day, I’m not going to have that money. A settlement...money wouldn’t change anything that happened. (Participant #13, Student)

     
    I don’t know how to really make it happen, but I think that there needs to be more platforms in which students, specifically minorities, can speak their voice and feel heard. That’s the most important thing. There can be protests. There have been protests. Projects like this I’m sure have come along, but if the university doesn’t listen, then it doesn’t even matter. (Participant #15, Student)

     

    This is a topic that needs to be talked about always because people don’t expect this to happen to them. People don’t know how to deal with it and you don’t really want to admit that it’s a thing whether or not it happens to you or you’re a guy and you come on too strongly or push yourself too much onto someone else. Maybe not physically, but emotionally. I think that it is a surreal scary thing for everybody. Most people don’t want to rape anybody. Most people don’t want to get raped or assaulted. Keeping the conversation going and keeping awareness of this does happen. Sometimes there’s just a huge miscommunication. I’ve heard so many stories of guys who were like, “I thought everything was fine. They didn’t say anything. They didn’t push me away. I thought everything was fine.” (Particiant #17, Alumnus)

     
    Keeping the conversation going and making people more aware and enforcing that consent is sexy. People should be able to say, “Hey I want to have sex with you,” and the other person says back, “I want to have sex with you too,” and have that be a good thing. That should not be weird. That should be more normal instead of a guy seeing how far he can physically get before his hand gets slapped away. (Particiant #17, Alumnus)


     
    I think we need to talk about it more. I know it’s hard and it’s really uncomfortable for a lot of survivors to do, but I want us to normalize it. I don’t want it to be normal, but I want the conversation to be normal. In the last three weeks, talking to my friends I found out that four or five of them are also survivors. I shouldn’t tell you this and have your immediate response be, “Oh me too. Same here.” (Participant #18, Student) ‘



    I hope someone does something about this. I’m so glad you’re doing this and I hope that something comes out of this because not only would it just be shitty in general for you to put all this work in and nothing comes of it, but I hope people listen and I hope someone in the right position of power will listen. In Girls Who Handle It, out of 45 stories, 13 of them are sexual assault and rape. That’s 1/3 of them roughly. It’s so prevalent. It’s so common. The 1 in 5 statistic isn’t even accurate. It’s 1 in 5 and that’s based on who reports. It’s actually 1 in 3 based on how often it happens. I think it’s great that this issue is getting a ton of socio-cultural attention right now and a lot of media attention. I think that’s great, but I think that needs to trickle down to not just be a buzz word that people use in inclusivity meetings and shit. I think it needs to actually be something where policy is implemented and actual repercussions are taken that don’t factor in deep pockets from donors or bureaucratic hands being tied. No. People’s mental health and physical well-being shouldn’t be on the table as a sacrifice they’re willing to make. (Participant #24, Alumnus)

     
    I think this is a really great project. I think this is something Cal Poly needs to focus on more. I think right now I personally feel like we have an administration that is focused on pleasing everyone, especially the people who are donating money. I think we need to stop focusing on the money. I think we need to stop focusing on pleasing everyone. I think we need to start focusing on standing up for what’s right regardless of what the backlash is because at the end of the day, they are here to support and serve the students and right now that’s not happening. (Participant #32, Student)

     
    For them, it’s better to believe survivors. It’s just going to appeal to whatever P.R. sense they have left. The times are changing. It benefits Cal Poly to listen to survivors. It’s just systemically, Cal Poly is such a fucked up school. It doesn’t make sense. They’re stupid. They don’t realize that they’re basically digging their own grave at this point. News flash: We’re not in the yee-haw times anymore. We’re becoming a more progressive society, which means putting down your pitchforks against the small S.J.W.’s [social justice warriors] on campus and listening to people. (Participant #33, Alumnus)

     
    There needs to be better posters around school...Safer maybe going around. There needs to be more accessible resources for conversations that people need to have. I see so many comments on Mustang News where people are like, oh okay so if this girl is getting drunk, how is she not asking for it? There needs to be a fucking response to that. People are obviously missing that point if they’re having that question. People are like, oh if she was wet, then how can it not be consensual? No...the body is actually separate from the mind at times and that can be triggered. Some guys get an erection and they don’t want to have sex with that person. (Participant #33, Alumnus)

     
    The quantitative data analysis and the qualitative interview side...I think that’s really cool because I’ve been thinking about it a lot...I don’t know how to bring more attention to the problem without bringing negative attention to the organizational side of things. They shut down the entire Panhellenic over the blackface thing. The university response is not great. On the highest level, it’s awful. Oh there’s a problem? Let’s just shut down the organization and maybe the problem will go away. It’s like, no. Secondly, the people in the organizations who care a lot about the organizations are not going to report. I didn’t report because I didn’t want my advisor to get in trouble. That would be awful. It would devastate so many more people. Hopefully, this project is a route to that. That’s my hope for what you’re doing. (Participant #34, Alumnus)

     
    I think there’s definitely an environment at Cal Poly that needs to be addressed and that needs to be acknowledged and that needs to be heard. [...] That is why I think it’s amazing you’re doing this project and it’s why it’s really awesome that people are becoming more open to speaking up about it just because it has been swept under the rug for far too long. (Participant #36, Alumnus)



    Also girls need to stop blaming other girls. Our sorority got put on social probation when our investigation was going on because I guess girls aren’t allowed to partake in drinking activities, which is stupid. Once the administration found out that girls were drinking, then our sorority got in trouble for me being sexually assaulted at a fraternity. Other girls found out about it and were getting all pissed. It just put more unnecessary pressure on my friend and I because it was our cases that were causing all of this and it didn’t help. It was not good. (Participant #39, Alumnus)

     
    I will never be able to go back and change what happened to me, but I hope that in whatever position of power you hold, you think about this and do what’s right. You’re protecting a girl who had a dream of getting an engineering degree from her dream school. You’re protecting the 1 in 5 females, 1 in 31 men and nearly 1 in 2 trans people who are sexually assaulted. Please think about these things. Your power can do a lot to change the reality of victims. I currently am living my worst nightmare, so I’m counting on it. (Participant #41, Student)

     
    Anyways, I just want everyone to be more educated and aware and not so defensive, being like, “Well, false report!” I’m like, “Shut up. What do you lose from giving someone the benefit of the doubt?” You are not the judge, jury, and executioner. You just sit by and believe somebody. Let the court do their own business. They don’t do it well, but let them do it. It’s not your place to be like, “Well maybe this happened.” It’s like, just stop. You literally lose nothing by believing a person. (Participant #46, Student)

     
    Just on a positive note, I can see that Cal Poly is making attempts. They are trying. I did see small things that I noticed that got better over the course of being there for four years since I was there the full four years. I just think that there’s certain things that they need to focus on and that would be empowering people to have a voice that they have a right to speak up. (Participant #47, Alumnus)

     
    I want there to be more promoting of resources. A lot of people barely even know what Safer is and that’s only one program that’s out there. We just need to promote and promote because the more that we talk about it, I think the more comfortable people become in sharing because they’re like, oh wow, this is a safe space. This is a community. These are people that care about me because so many people, they bottle it up and they feel like they need to go through it by themselves. That they need to go through it alone and I never want anyone to feel that way. (Participant #47, Alumnus)

     
    I feel like we need more resources too for survivors. We need more accommodations. It’s just not enough. (Participant #51, Student)

     
    Well first, Cal Poly really needs to do something. They need to fix this. Even with the whole Betsy DeVos thing that’s going on, I think Cal Poly should still support survivors no matter what. You already have such a bad culture, why are you making it worse by basically following these guidelines? I know it’s the law, but there’s always ways to go around it. I don’t know how to really go about that, but there's got to be ways. (Participant #51, Student)

     
    I just don’t see any substantial systemic change happening unless people hear these stories and get fired up about it. Hopefully, that will bring more people in so that survivors don’t have to be the ones going and screaming at President Armstrong over stuff and all of that. People on our campus really need to pay attention. They need to stop saying what they think everyone wants to hear and actually become allies because it’s horrifying and it affects so many people. Again, it’s hard to empathize with that. You’ll never truly understand, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t try. (Participant #54, Alumnus)

     
    My whole entire experience, especially being here at Cal Poly with my assault happening to me, I just feel like no matter what they did and are doing, even with these trainings, it’s still not going to stop. Okay, try to take away Greek life...look at all the fraternities that are still here that are banned from campus. You know? I don’t understand. Literally there has not been one thing that has helped. A lot of people now concentrate on how can we bring awareness to it? But I feel like sometimes it’s more, how can we help the pre-existing survivors just get through daily life? Maybe talk to them. Maybe ask them how they’re doing instead of [saying], “Oh are you okay? I know what happened to you,” and treating them in a certain way. It’s kind of like the same thing with race and if you’re a certain race and having those microaggressions. [...] It’s having that label on you. If you come out and you report it and you want to get some justice out of it, you automatically get that little label that just basically says, “Oh yeah, I’m a survivor,” and people will treat you differently. Even though we’ve changed the term from “victims” to “survivors,” it still has that [same kind of meaning] to other people. It’s just sad honestly. (Participant #55, Student)


     
    I definitely think that there should be free self-defense classes for students to learn about these things. (Participant #57, Student)

     
    I definitely feel like in dealing with sexual harassment and sexual assault case by case, we need to de-stigmatize talking about it first. This is something that the campus can definitely do. There are so many incredible and intelligent staff here that can help put that together. They just need the resources, right? For example, paying faculty more. Giving them more time to work on this project for students’ well-being. (Participant #57, Student)

     
     
  10. SUPPORT IN THE SURVIVOR COMMUNITY

       

    I’ve realized a lot of girls don’t realize that they were actually assaulted until they hear someone else’s story and then they realize that their story is really similar. I’ve had a ton of people reach out to me and it’s really nice and I think the people that have gone through the things that we’ve both gone through…there’s definitely a support group. (Participant #4, Student)

     
    Also I met survivor friends like you and the girls I did the interviews with for the women in business video. It sucks though because this is where I find a safe place, but it’s most likely because they’ve been sexually assaulted or raped as well. It shouldn’t be like that. (Participant #11, Student)

     
    Connecting with other survivor students because there’s just that silent understanding. When you say something, the other survivor knows, or in their head they can be taken aback and they can empathize in that moment. (Participant #13, Student)

     
    I was raised by a really wonderful family and I have a lot of strong women in my family. My mother, she was sexually assaulted when she was younger. She’s shared that experience with me and I think that I look at her and I’m like, okay if she can go through that at a younger age where it’s even more traumatic and she can be this wonderful woman that she is today, then I can get through it. (Participant #15, Student)

     
    I think nine of my best friends have been sexually assaulted as well. This is something that I’ve heard about for a really long time. I’ve been surrounded by a lot of women who have gone through this and they’re able to succeed and they’re wonderful people in the world. I think I just had a lot of examples set for me that have made me think about it in a more positive way. My thinking is I can help friends now and I can contribute to things like this. (Participant #15, Student)

     
    I think that probably the most important thing that has helped me get better is having a healthy relationship and having other people that understand and are also survivors and talking to people that get it. (Participant #16, Student)

     
    In group [therapy for survivors], it’s been nice because actually before group, I didn’t know any...I mean I know other women get assaulted, but specifically I couldn’t say, “I know her and I know that this happened to her.” (Participant #19, Student)

     
    Fuck Cal Poly. It’s such a shitty place to be in, but there are such awesome, supportive survivor groups. That’s really been such a key in my time at Cal Poly, finding those other women who went through similar things and are just like bad asses generally. I feel like everyone who I’ve met is super awesome. I think that’s really cool that we have that, but it’s so shitty that every single person I have talked to has had a bad experience. (Participant #21, Alumnus)

     
    He kept calling me, but I just went back to my dorm and I told the friends I was with what had happened. That was really comforting because I was like, who do I tell? It was really nice because one [of the people I told] actually went through it too so she told me and I hadn’t known that so that was surprising. (Participant #28, Student)

     
    Meeting people who have had the same experience and being able to know that I’m not alone and to talk to them about what they’re doing to get through it has really helped. (Participant #32, Student)

     
    I definitely find support and healing talking to other survivors because they get it. It just feels really validating. There are other people who understand or are going through the same thing. I’m not alone. I’m not the only one. (Participant #35, Student)

     
    But at the same time, it was really empowering that [other survivors] told me their stories because I think it really did encourage me to think about my situation and whether or not it was okay. (Participant #36, Alumnus)

     
    Especially before I found my friend who did go through the same thing. As horrible as it sounds, I hate that she went through it, but we both said so many times through the process that we were so happy we were going through it together. Having other people who knew exactly what I was going through helped so much. (Participant #39, Alumnus)

     
    If you’re a survivor reading this, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. (Participant #41, Student)

     
    Now that I’m in my twenties and now that I’m more educated, especially when the #MeToo movement started happening, I started realizing that I’m not the only woman that goes through this. There’s a lot of other women that go through this. (Participant #45, Student)

     
    I feel like it’s hard for me to make relationships with people because I feel like I’m so sensitive about everything, particularly about sexual violence. Most of my friends therefore are survivors just because it’s easier to talk to them and it is a big thing about my life. (Participant #46, Student)

     
    I feel like where I get support from is myself, but I also do get support from people who have had similar experiences. It’s a weird thing, but I really get support when I’ve met people who’ve had experiences with the [same] person (like survivors in common). (Participant #46, Student)

     
    I find the most support from other survivors. Sharing such a horrible experience can end up bringing people closer together. The sense of understanding is really important. (Participant #48, Student)

     
    I would say that if you or someone you know is a survivor, stand up for yourself and believe in your story, because it holds so much more power than you think. (Participant #48, Student)

     
    I finally reached out to a friend of mine, who was actually my roommate my freshman year [and] who was also a survivor. I knew she was the only person who would understand what I went through. I talked to her and I was bawling. It was surreal for me too to talk about it with a person at the time. She told me the first step is to really acknowledge that it happened and seek help. (Participant #51, Student)

     
    Basically living my everyday life as a survivor is knowing that my story can help others. I live my life to help others get through any obstacles or boundaries they may be experiencing. Others need to know they’re only going to be stronger coming out of this. I constantly have to remind myself, no one can take your sexuality away from you. You are not the one that caused this to yourself. It wasn’t because you were drinking. It wasn’t because you weren’t being a good girlfriend. It wasn’t because of what you were wearing. It wasn’t because you might’ve been flirting when you were drunk and they thought that was a sign. (Participant #52, Student)

     
    You are the first survivor I’ve ever had a conversation with about this stuff. I talk about it openly, but I’ve never talked to someone whose had a similar experience as me and that’s why I’m creating that group in my sorority and eventually I’d like to open it up to anyone on campus, I don’t trust the school resources so it is time to create something survivors can believe in. I think I’m still trying to find that healing and support. I think that’s where I can find it...is women and men who went through similar things as me. (Participant #52, Student)
     

    ​​The most important thing for me about sexual assault on college campuses is to people who it happens to, you’re strong and you’re a survivor and you’re going to get through this and you’re going to feel shitty for a really long time, but then it’s going to teach you a lot about yourself hopefully. (Participant #60, Student)
     
        
  11. INTIMACY AND RELATIONSHIPS

     

    I just couldn’t be around people. God it just still gets to me sometimes. It was hard to be around my roommates. I just didn’t trust anyone. Everyone who was there, saw it. It affected my relationship with my roommates for the rest of the year and we ended up not being friends [...] I think it’s because I didn’t act very upset around people, except for a very select few, that everyone just thought I was okay. I wasn’t. (Participant #6, Student)

     
    It was hard to go back home over the summer after that because I felt so distracted and distant from my family. Obviously that’s not something you want to tell your parents or anyone about and it was something I didn’t talk to anyone about until probably August of that year so it had been three or four months. (Participant #8, Student)

     
    I realized it was ruining relationships I had with people. I was always close to my parents because I’m an only child. That had never been an issue, but that summer, things were super tense in our house. They didn’t understand why. I didn’t want to tell them why. I think part of me didn’t realize that it was because of that [incident] that I was so angry all the time. (Participant #8, Student)

     
    I refrained from having sex for a while because of it. I came into college as a virgin. I was like, oh I’ll probably lose my virginity…I’d like to be in love with the person, but I kind of didn’t really think the same for a little while. Then this happened and I was like, I don’t know if I’ll ever have sex unless I’m married. That was based off of being able to trust people, not religion or anything else. It really traumatized me. (Participant #10, Student)

     
    I think it mostly affects my relationship with my boyfriend. Trying to be comfortable having sex and not feeling comfortable talking to him about it even though I know he doesn’t judge me, but it’s hard. (Participant #14, Student)

     
    I think I’m better now, but it was definitely impossible for a long time for me to have a healthy sex life. I didn’t value myself as anything above a sex object because that’s what I was taught to think because of these experiences, which impacts my friendships and relationships. (Participant #16, Student)

     
    I stopped hanging out with my friends because they would go to parties and I stopped going to parties. (Participant #17, Alumnus)

     
    I had a hard time trusting guys. I kept trying to date and I felt like I was just freaking out about everything emotionally. (Participant #17, Alumnus)

     
    I have a successful relationship now and it has been wonderful and so challenging. He’s had to learn what are my triggers, how does he need to be in certain ways for me. He’s had to learn to be extremely patient. His past relationships, he’s used to girlfriends being spontaneously ready to have sex and be very sexual and excited about that. I’m very nervous about sex and I take a lot more to be comfortable for that. I’m much more high maintenance I guess. We’ve had to work on how to make me comfortable so that both of us are happy and enjoying ourselves and having a healthy relationship when I have these past horrors. (Participant #17, Alumnus)

     
    It’s really affected my ability to have friendships with guys because I go into every situation thinking I’m being over-sexualized. (Participant #18, Student)

     
    I keep waiting for somebody to prove me wrong. I have this danger complex. I keep getting drunk and I keep putting myself in this environment where I expect a guy to be like, “No you’re drunk so I can’t.” People just disappoint me. I think I’m just at this point where for a really long time, I just wanted someone to prove me wrong and now I’m just like, I don’t want to give anyone the chance. (Participant #18, Student)

     
    Immediately, it definitely affected my relationship with my roommate. We’re not really friends anymore and I think that [the incident] had something to do with why. (Participant #18, Student)

     
    I would set myself up for failure where I’d be like, I don’t care about guys, but then I very clearly cared about somebody. I would let games be played and I’d play along in the games. My head wasn’t thinking about who I wanted to be or what mattered in my life. It was like, oh my god this person or this idea of somebody wanting me, it permeates everything I do. (Participant #18, Student)

     
    I feel like it definitely changed the way I interact with people for a while. I definitely was more passive, stayed out of everything, didn’t engage as much, especially around men. I became very timid, very cautious. It was hard to trust people, especially because the person who raped me was somebody that I dated for three years and thought that they loved me, but how does somebody who loves you, if they actually love you, not recognize that you’re setting boundaries and accept your “no” as an answer and move forward from that instead of continuing to pester. I felt very disappointed in society and the way that sex is thought of. I don’t know. Afterwards, I just wasn’t very trusting of people, just kind of people in general. (Participant #23, Student)

     
    I don’t like being alone with a guy in a room almost ever. I would even get nervous and I felt like I had to tell every guy I was involved with after it happened about it so that they knew why I would randomly freak out if they did something that reminded me of him. There’s something that most guys do that reminds me...I get an instant flashback to what he did so I freak out. [...] There have been so many times where I felt like I had to explain myself, whether it’s the same person over and over again or a different person. I felt like I needed to give people advanced warning of: I might have an anxiety attack in the middle of sexual relations. (Participant #24, Alumnus)

     
    I feel like I seek validation. This guy is very good looking so I feel like, oh this guy is so good looking and everyone else likes him, but he chose me so this makes me better than everyone else, which is terrible. I would never want to be that kind of person. Since my self-esteem has gone so downhill, a lot of other things in my life regarding relationships have gone downhill too. Nothing regarding my family, but relationships in terms of sexual relationships or relationships with guys in general. (Participant #25, Alumnus)

     
    I feel like my sense of relationships and the value of myself has changed so much that it’s crazy. Before my senior year, I was the polar opposite. I was so confident. If someone didn’t seem interested in me in the slightest, I would not bat an eye to them. Now I feel like I’m going out of my way to try and make certain people like me.(Participant #25, Alumnus)

     
    I’m the type of person that likes being intimate. That was difficult. Everything felt bad. I just felt very uncomfortable. Intimacy was really difficult to overcome, especially if I would wake up around 5:00 or 6:00, I just wanted to go back to sleep because that was pretty much the type of setting when I first woke up [after the incident]. (Participant #27, Student)

     
    I wish it didn’t affect me today, but it just makes me afraid and scared in personal relationships and such. (Participant #29, Student)

     
    I don’t know if this is daily, but even relationships I’ve tried to have with other people, like romantic relationships, have been greatly affected since I can’t be touched without super forewarning. (Participant #30, Student)

     
    I think the biggest difficulty is I am in a relationship now and it definitely affects just me being intimate in general. Me wanting to be intimate...it’s hard for me sometimes because I think of that and there’s certain things that sometimes happen that bring me back to it almost. (Participant #36, Alumnus)

     
    Honestly the biggest way that this has affected me is that I can no longer date. (Participant #37, Student)

     
    It does impact some days with my boyfriend. I will just have a super emotional day and it’s for no reason and it’s so hard because he doesn’t understand at all. It puts a stressor on my relationship with him. It sucks because he has nothing to do with it. He’s perfect with all of that stuff. Anytime I bring it up and talk about it, I can tell he’s kind of uncomfortable and he doesn’t know how to respond. (Participant #39, Alumnus)  

     
    I am not very trusting of others. Men for sure, but I even have a hard time forming strong female friendships. I think I still carry guilt and shame and humiliation about the whole thing and it's been hard to put down. (Participant #40, Alumnus)

     
    Some months after this experience, I met someone in college who turned out to be my college sweetheart that I fell in love with and thought I would someday marry. He was my best friend and our almost 4-year relationship was not physical for months (not even kissing!) which allowed me to build trust in him. He was my first real head over heels love and he really made the rest of my college days some of the best days of my life. After I graduated, I moved home and I ended up breaking up with him a few days before Christmas. I was pretty mean about the whole break-up and he kept saying that I was not acting like the person he knows. Looking back, I feel like I broke up with him because I didn't think I deserved to have a man like him and a love like ours. If he only knew what happened to me, he'd leave so I better break it off first. We parted ways without him ever knowing this happened to me until just a couple of weeks ago. I was looking through old pictures to help jog my memory of my college years before we talked and came across some photos of his father who passed away last year. We still keep in touch and I texted him the photos and told him I would be talking to you to help with your senior project. He found out almost 30 years later. I thought I told him everything about me but I guess this secret was too shameful for me to share at the time. (Participant #40, Alumnus)

     
    A lot of my friendships changed or didn’t continue after this happened. (Participant #41, Student)

     
    I haven’t really been with anybody since it happened. It was over a year ago. I’ve had people that I’ve been talking to, but I haven’t had sex with anybody since. It’s not even like it would be traumatizing, I think before I was just like, oh whatever, I can do whatever I want. Now, I really want to actually find somebody who I know I can trust, that I actually care about before anything happens. I think it’s completely changed the way that I think about relationships and stuff like that. Also, it’s made me a lot more tentative because I always go to: Oh what’s wrong with the guy? What are his flaws? What indicators might tell me that he’s not a good person? (Participant #42, Student)

     
    Prior to this incident happening, I was very social, but now it’s hard for me to get close to new people because I don’t know what they’re capable of. (Participant #43, Student)

     
    It’s changed relationships. Because it affects me so much, it has affected my family, everyone I know in band, and all of the people in my life. [...] My parents try so hard to protect me and when they can’t do anything about what has happened, I think that is so hard for them. When I told my parents, they did not understand. I told my dad when I was coming back from spring break last year. He knew that something was wrong because I wasn’t excited to go back to school at all. I started crying and he was super concerned. He asked me, “What’s going on?” When I told him, he started crying and was holding my hand. He was just really angry and upset because his sister was sexually assaulted in college as well. He didn’t really know how to help back then and I think it has taken him a really long time to figure out how to help me now. (Participant #43, Student)

     
    It had a pretty big impact on the way that my relationships with my friends functioned because I didn’t want to relive it so I didn’t want to talk about it. It left my friendships in this place of, what’s going on? and disconnect. (Participant #44, Student)

     
    I wouldn’t say it affects my day to day life, but I would say sometimes when I am getting intimate with someone and they touch my genitalia in a certain way, it gives me sudden flashbacks. My eyes are closed and I just go back to being that child, looking out the window and just praying for it to end. I freeze and I start cold sweating and I just basically push the guy off and am like, “We can’t do this,” and I just basically leave. (Participant #45, Student)

     
    I know people that are just as dangerous as my assaulters are on campus walking around too and it’s hard because sometimes I’ll make friends with a guy, which takes a lot for me too because I really find it difficult to make friends with guys and not have it turn into something sexual just because I feel like the only way I know how to talk to men is being promiscuous, which is a whole other thing with survivors in my experience. But then I’ll find out, this person did this to this person and that person, and I’m like, oh my god, is nobody safe? It just makes it hard to trust people. (Participant #46, Student)

     
    It just kind of affects the way my relationships are formed with my parents. My dad doesn’t really talk about it. My mom, she didn’t know until a few years later that it happened. I know she’s trying to understand, but she doesn’t understand sexual assault at all. (Participant #46, Student)

     
    The impact of sexual violence most impacted my intimacy with others and myself. For example, one evening I was making love with my previous partner and began to cry while he was inside of me. I had no idea why I was crying, and there was a huge sadness and I just wanted to curl up. While it was confusing for him and he was concerned whether he had hurt me, it was confusing to not have words for what I was feeling. (Participant #49, Alumnus)

     
    Now, when it comes to being intimate with guys, I’m super careful now. I don’t drink at all when I do have sex or just hook up. I just try to be as sober as possible. (Participant #51, Student)

     
    That scares me for getting into relationships now. Because now I can’t recognize if someone is actually being good to me or if it’s because they want something from me. I am constantly worried there is an ulterior motive. Or am I only doing this because I’m having a sexually healthy relationship now or is it because I actually love them? It really has made me question everything when it comes to my relationships with people. With that, another thing that I’ve struggled with too is, do I tell my new partner what I’ve been through? How are they going to react to that? I don’t think that that’s a lot of things that people think about when it comes to survivors...how they live their life after it happens. (Participant #52, Student)

     
    Why do I even have to tell someone this? And that’s something that I think I still struggle with as a survivor. It’s more prevalent in my life right now because I have someone in my life that I could really see myself falling in love with. It’s like, are they going to want to fall in love with me after they find this out about me? I know that’s not my problem, but it’s still something I have to think about, which is shitty and I shouldn’t have to worry about that. (Participant #52, Student)

     
    I feel numb. There’s times where the only emotions I feel now is when I am having sex and that is scary. That’s not meaning just because it feels good. It’s meaning all of my emotions, my sadness, my happiness, my anger, it all comes back because it pinpoints to the times where I was sexually taken advantage of and that’s when all my emotions were stripped away from me. Somehow now they only come back when I’m doing that same thing even if it’s consensual and I am in control. How do you explain to that person that you’re having that emotional, sexual, and vulnerable experience with? (Participant #52, Student)

     
    There aren’t a lot of great options for me dating-wise anyway, but it’s like, it just made me not want to date and made me very wary of any situation that I would put myself in where I would be one-on-one with a guy or anything. (Participant #54, Alumnus)

     
    I think for me, dating again...super super super hard. I couldn’t go back to full on dating. I kind of got into this cycle of, let me try to rewrite the story and make it better, you know? I would put myself in these situations where I was like, okay, this time I’m just going to walk out. And I did. Every time I would get closer and closer to just even going out or feeling that tension or instinct in me was like, no I don’t feel comfortable. Just being like, okay, now I know that I can leave. (Participant #55, Student)

     
    I don’t know if it’s even daily life, but I’m not sexually active. I’ve been uninterested in sex. The idea of sex is just, no no no, I don’t want to engage in that. (Participant #56, Student)

     
    But now, it sounds bad and I know I’m justified in feeling this, but I just expect guys to hurt me. I just expect them to be abusers or rapists, which is problematic because men can be survivors too. [...] But I definitely think I have issues with trusting guys, which I’m trying to get over for myself because I don’t want to go my whole life thinking that men are going to hurt or abuse or rape. That’s for me, not for them. For myself. (Participant #56, Student)

     
    I feel like this experience really heavily affected my relationships with my friends, my family, and my partners in ways that I can’t communicate as easily because this is something that has hurt me so much and because the social norms don’t allow me to talk about this comfortably and in a way that helps me resolve my emotions. It just makes it harder. There’s a stigma of talking about sex in general and sexual assault that definitely makes it hard for me to share and find people like me and to connect. (Participant #57, Student)



    Basically kind of ruined my trust with anyone and everyone and that really sucks because it deters me from being open and being friendly or doing whatever I need to do to advance academically and in my actual career. I definitely saw that with my internship over the summer...how it took me forever to open up to people. (Participant #57, Student)
     

    I started talking to another guy, trying to move on and forget. I found myself not trusting him and not wanting to go any further than kissing because I was scared. (Participant #58, Student)

     
    I realized that I don’t have any guy friends and I think that is because almost every single guy I have been friends with has tried to hook up with me. I’ve had other friends who have gone through similar situations so it’s made me honestly just not really trust any guys here, which is sad. (Participant #58, Student)

     
    I’m definitely more closed off and when guys talk to me or ask me anything, I’m like, there must be another reason why you’re asking this. You don’t actually want to be my friend. Are you actually asking for homework? I always read into things different than probably other people. (Participant #58, Student)

     
    My boyfriend and I are finally in a good place, but it took us a long time to get there because I had a hard time trusting him even though he gave me no reason to not trust him. (Participant #58, Student)

     
    Intimacy is different now because you just don’t know who you can trust. (Participant #59, Student)

     
    I didn’t date another person for a really long time. All my sexual, hookup encounters after that, I was almost too communicative about what I needed from that person and what the nature of our relationship was because I did not care about being chill anymore and I did not care about the girl who just lies there and takes this bullshit from these guys. (Participant #60, Student)
     

    The only time it does is in the context of my relationship when I am very very sensitive to any kind of sex that is not fully communicative just because I don’t have much of a libido anymore...wonder why. But I’ll start having sex with my boyfriend and then I’ll just kind of lose it and he’ll be like, “Are you okay?” and I’ll be like, “I just don’t really want to do this anymore,” and he’ll be like, “That’s totally fine.” Just the fact that if he didn’t say, “Are you okay?” or if I didn’t say, “I don’t want to do this anymore,” it would just keep going freaks me out. (Participant #60, Student)


        

  12. MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH

     
       
    Everything’s triggering. (Participant #6, Student)


    I would say that it still affects me to this day because that was the only instance that I was raped, but I’ve been sexually assaulted multiple times so I feel like I’m very easily triggered now. When I go downtown, sometimes a stranger will touch my back and I just freak out. I get panic attacks more easily over things like that. It’s definitely something that you wish you could get over faster, but it just sticks with you. (Participant #8, Student)
        

    Making eye contact with strangers makes me feel uneasy. (Participant #9, Student)
        

    I don’t trust anyone anymore. I feel scared constantly. And I mean constantly. (Participant #9, Student)


    I drive to school and see four forest green Ford 4Runners on the road, which is the car that my perpetrator drives. I’m like, oh my god is that him? And also why the hell does everyone drive forest green Ford 4Runners? If I see him, what should I do? I can tell you where all the forest green Ford 4Runners are in this town and where they park. Where I park to go to campus, there’s always a forest green Ford 4Runner. There’s one near my boyfriend’s place. There’s one at the Golden Gong that’s always there. Freaks me out every time. (Participant #9, Student)


    Every blonde guy I see, I’m like, is that him or is that somebody else? Every red backpack I see, because he has a red backpack, is that him? Every bike that rides by me…it’s gotten less bad, but still, bikes coming up from behind me is terrifying…because he rode a bike and it’s just like, is that him? (Participant #9, Student)
        

    I, on most mornings, wake up from a dream that either has my rapist in it, or a dream that I am getting assaulted in. These dreams usually happen when I take naps in the middle of the day too. (Participant #9, Student)


    If I blacked out after that, I’d be super traumatized more than the average person freaks out after they don’t remember something. I would always assume something happened. One time I literally had a panic attack and it was after I blacked out. (Participant #10, Student)
        

    This was over a year after it happened, but I had a panic attack and couldn’t sleep for 72 hours. I was just up at night. My roommate who I shared a room with was like, “You need to sleep.” She would wake up because I was just sitting up in my bed. I was just watching the sun rise and set. I wasn’t okay. (Participant #10, Student)


    I’m fearful everywhere. I get panic attacks, especially when I see him. I get triggered when someone is being very violent when they’re drinking because I just remember he was so violent. (Participant #11, Student)
        

    None of my friends seemed to care or want to take extra time out of their day to help me, so I fell into a really really deep depression. (Participant #13, Student)


    I get really really overwhelmed and scared when I see lots of tall men. (Participant #13, Student)
        

    My nerves are actually damaged to the point where stimulation from the environment can cause me to shake or cause me to go into a lot of pain. [...] Being a very very small person physically, I know that I am kind of a walking target. (Participant #13, Student)


    I was fortunate enough to not be taken by suicide because of things that happened, because I was in that place. (Participant #13, Student)


    I have to say the most painful thing is when you smell a smell or see someone’s face that looks exactly like that person and you’re just taken aback for a second. You just have to hold everything together. (Participant #14, Student)
        

    In a weird, fucked up way, he’s fucked with my childhood memories of elementary school because now when I think back and I think of him, I’m like, that guy raped me. In elementary school, that should never be anything that you have on your radar at all. I guess in the moment it wasn’t, but now looking back on it as an adult, that’s what I think of. Fuck that guy because now every time I look back, it’s tainted, which just adds another dimension to the assault. (Participant #15, Student)


    I think it makes me way too paranoid about the everyday person. (Participant #16, Student)


    I had a lot of triggers for getting paralyzed and freezing up. (Participant #17, Alumnus)



    If I’m going to have a close friend, they need to understand what are my triggers. If you walk up from behind me and hug me, that just scares me so much. Things like that. Nobody’s allowed to grab my neck. That is just not okay. There’s no okay feeling with that. (Participant #17, Alumnus)
        

    After my incidents, I went to counseling and what I learned in counseling was that I had PTSD from what has happened to me, which kind of went along with materializing factors. (Participant #17, Alumnus)


    I have issues with detachment. Actually feeling emotion is more difficult for me now because I have not wanted to feel what’s going on inside me. Because it’s so intense. Sometimes it feels like it’s on the verge of breaking through...this intense madness. I do deal with that every day. (Participant #17, Alumnus)


    You just force yourself to be okay. I think I still am able to do the things that I want to do, but I’m always anxious while doing them. It takes a lot more for me to be able to do them. (Participant #19, Student)


    I don’t even like saying, “Please no,” because that’s what I was saying the whole time. I don’t even like saying that anymore, or those words being close together makes me uncomfortable. (Participant #19, Student)



    I will say that I was assaulted from the ages of seven to ten and at the age of nine, I attempted suicide. No nine year old should try to kill themselves. It doesn’t sound right. That’s a huge impact. It’s definitely given me anxiety and PTSD for sure and depression at parts of my life. Also again when I was fourteen, I attempted suicide for the same reason just because I couldn’t deal with the flashbacks of being assaulted. (Participant #20, Alumnus)


    Throughout my day to day life, especially right after it happened in college, I was taking public transport and sitting next to any guy on the bus was scary. Walking home, even though it was a few blocks, was terrifying. If somebody is sitting next to you and some guy spreads their legs out, trying to take up all the room and they touch you, I just go back into that time where I was being assaulted. (Participant #20, Alumnus)
        

    I was just dying in every sense, but that was my trauma response...to buckle down and be like, this is one thing I can control in my life. A sentence I commonly said was, “I’m getting ulcers,” because for me, I internalize my pain in my stomach and it literally feels like I’m actively growing ulcers. (Participant #21, Alumnus)


    You just have triggers. Bikes. Any time a bike rode past me, I’d flinch. (Participant #21, Alumnus)
        

    Depression, PTSD, anxiety. I’d be up until 4 a.m. almost every single night because I couldn’t stop thinking about it and worrying about it. I couldn’t turn my brain off. I’d have 8 or 9 a.m. class. My alarm would go off and I got three hours of sleep and then I wouldn’t go to my classes. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I didn’t have any feelings. I didn’t care about anything. That was definitely the worst, but even after that, it’s still something that affects you every day so negatively. (Participant #21, Alumnus)


    I feel like so many things just make me really angry now. It’ll go from being angry just to me being depressed. That situation. Whether it’s at Cal Poly or this weekend, I was with my grandparents and my grandmother was like, “That girl’s skirt is really short.” She went on to say how she doesn’t blame guys sometimes because if a girl’s going to dress up like that…then she’s asking for it. I sat there for the rest of lunch with my grandparents, not saying a word, ready to basically bawl my eyes out from anger. Just making comments and I’m like, maybe you shouldn’t talk about her. She’s a fucking person. There’s a lot of things before that happened that just kind of went over my head. Now that I have experienced it, it’s a sad awakening. (Participant #22, Student)
        

    I felt very disrespected and disregarded. It was very dehumanizing and it felt like I was being used for my body. There was a detachment between who I was and then what my body was serving for them. (Participant #23, Student)


    I would say I got angrier a lot quicker if somebody made a joke or if somebody said anything that was remotely negative or victim blaming or excusing it. I jumped down people’s throats super quickly. (Participant #24, Alumnus)
        

    Even though I’ve never really broken down or have felt very upset about what happened, I know I have been affected in so many ways. I’m pretty sure my self-esteem has plummeted. (Participant #25, Alumnus)



    My senior year [during] fall quarter is when all of that stuff happened. My whole senior year, I was just depressed. (Participant #25, Alumnus)


    Ever since then, I’ve always been someone who needed reassurance on how people feel about me, but I constantly need people to reassure me and tell me how they care about me. My boyfriend, he has to constantly tell me that he cares about me and respects me because otherwise, I’ll just freak out and I don’t know how to respond to things. Also, I remember right after the event, I just stopped sleeping. It was in my bed. My safe spot was no longer safe. [...] I won’t share a bed unless I’m super comfortable with someone. Sleeping is just way more...it gives me a lot of anxiety, going to sleep. (Participant #26, Student)


    I do feel anxious that people come and go. I have to keep that in mind. (Participant #27, Student)


    Seeing someone who looks like that person. Is that that person? Every person that looks like that, I’m just trying to hide myself. (Participant #27, Student)
           

    When I was at Club Showcase, I saw that person walking through. He was in gray. Since that moment, every male in gray, I can’t interact with. (Participant #27, Student)
           

    It’s definitely been going well since then, but there are certain things that do trigger me, especially when his full name is being said. I cannot get away from the nickname because it’s everywhere. (Participant #27, Student)
        

    My memory is doing this weird thing where I don’t necessarily remember all of it, but sometimes I’ll get really strong flashes of what happened. [...] Sometimes I get these flashes of me being in a bathroom, but I don’t really know what that means or what that is. I just get the overwhelming anxiety of not being able to move. (Participant #29, Student)


    Sometimes I have really good days where I don’t feel affected by it, but sometimes I’ll just have really low days where I get really high anxiety and I feel like I can’t breathe or move. I’ve been crying in the library a lot lately and that’s been kind of annoying. There’s good days and there’s bad days. Usually there’s more good days than bad days. Sometimes there’s more bad days than good days. (Participant #29, Student)


    I developed O.C.D. after the incident as a coping mechanism I guess. It replays in my mind obsessively and that causes me do to other compulsions like say certain words or wipe my lap or something just to get the gross off me I guess is my logic. That is something I struggle with everyday...the O.C.D. and the repetitive thoughts. (Participant #30, Student)


    It’s just this overwhelming anxiety that’s been going on and PTSD. I shouldn’t be angry every day, but I am. (Participant #31, Student)


    I’m just in bed for three or four hours after I wake up because I don’t really want to get out of bed because I’m just thinking about what happened. I think that’s what takes a toll on me, the no motivation because I’m just so swamped into this lifestyle. (Participant #31, Student)


    I think for a long time after I broke up with him, I was always looking over my shoulder. I still get worried every time I get a friend request from a strange person on Facebook. I get calls from numbers I don’t know. Especially because after we broke up, he tried to constantly call me and message me both via my phone and social media. When that didn’t work, he actually hacked into my Facebook and unblocked himself so that he could continue to send me these messages. It was very scary. It made me almost borderline paranoid because I felt I had to take care of myself because no one else was taking it seriously. I have struggled with post-traumatic stress the past two years. It’s gotten better. (Participant #32, Student)


    It wasn’t until I graduated last year that it all came crashing down on me. I literally had the worst mental breakdown of my life. I thought I was going to die every time I woke up. I was just panicking. It was the weight of five plus years of horribleness [that] just came down on me. It affects me in that I sleep in all the fucking time. I got a job like an adult and then I quit it because I just wasn’t in a place to do it. [...] The long-term effects have made me very anxious and depressed. I sleep in a lot. I don’t feel as motivated to do things. I just became super fearful of the outside world. I was like, wow Cal Poly is so bad. What if the rest of the world is worse? Can I handle it? (Participant #33, Alumnus)


    I’ve also noticed I’ve been having nightmares every night for I don’t know how many years. (Participant #33, Alumnus)


    Yesterday I was at Target. […] I’m like alone and this older guy just keeps showing up wherever I am and keeps staring at me and his hand is in his pocket and I can just feel myself wanting to run. I was literally walking backwards because I didn’t feel safe enough to turn my back to him. He was just staring at me. I was just like, I got to get out of here. I’m going to die. He’s going to kill me. I don’t know why he keeps looking at me. It’s probably because I looked at him first. It’s stuff like that where I’ll just suddenly feel like I can’t do this right now. I can’t handle this right now. (Participant #33, Alumnus)
        

    I know I was an emotional mess too afterwards. I almost can’t access that amount of sadness anymore. I think I’ve just mentally dealt with it and put it somewhere else. But I did have a really hard time because I didn’t have an immediate support group. A lot of my close friends were either at the apartment that night or in that same friend group so it was like, no matter where I went, I was near someone [who] I wasn’t necessarily that comfortable [with] anymore because I didn’t know if I could trust them. Not in general, but it just felt really unsafe. (Participant #34, Alumnus)


    I do remember I stopped taking care of myself too. I stopped showering. I stopped eating a lot. For me when I’m stressed, I shut down and don’t do anything. I smoked a lot of weed. (Participant #34, Alumnus)


    I was still really depressed and dysfunctional. From there, they recommended that I go to an inpatient therapy. I’m weirded out now because I’m talking about this very calmly, but at the time when I was in the moment, I was a mess. I was crying every day and not doing anything. It’s kind of surreal because I’m just very calm right now. Then I called my health insurance. They were able to cover a large amount of it. I think it ended up costing about $10,000 out of pocket though, which is still a lot of money. It’s a year’s worth of tuition. I went for five weeks. I lived at some house down in Calabasas with four or five other people and had therapy every day, including therapy mixed with recreational activities like trips to the beach. Regular kinds of things to make you feel like a normal person...go to the mall, go to the movies. That was a really amazing experience because I got to feel 1) very safe and 2) I had that time outside of the real world to recollect myself because I was not coping with the regular things of daily life at all. If something triggering happened, I would just shut down for the day and not process or do anything. It was like hitting a reset button. (Participant #34, Alumnus)


    Now I’m anxious and depressed so that’s fun times. I’ve started anti-depressants and it’s helping, but it’s also like, that’s a thing. Those cost money. Not that much, but that’s a thing. (Participant #35, Student)


    I also have suffered very severe body image issues because of it, but that’s something I had before this happened to me, but it definitely just amplified it. I think it’s just mental health wise, it definitely still has a daily impact on me to some extent. (Participant #36, Alumnus)
       

    Like I said too, especially since the person who sexually assaulted me, I ended up finding out that they don’t go to Cal Poly, they were just at that party that night. I think it’s easier for me to brush it off because even when I was at Cal Poly, I didn’t fear seeing him again. The part that was hard was going back to the house that it happened at because I did end up going back to that house and I couldn’t stay for more than a few minutes because I just couldn’t handle it. (Participant #36, Alumnus)
           

    If you hit a certain spot, I automatically shut down and can’t move that side for 45 minutes or an hour. (Participant #37, Student)
           

    But like, WOW didn’t help. They try and make you aware, but anyone who’s been through it, it makes you so much worse. It is a week of triggers when it comes to any of those situations, which in my opinion, is a terrible thing. It should be done better. (Participant #37, Student)
        

    I guess it was kind of a good thing that I was able to figure out [that the incident happened], but I was always on the pill for forever, but my insurance messed up when I went to get it and they gave me the wrong one at the pharmacy and it took them a week for the right one to come in. I ended up just skipping that month, which was how I was even able to get pregnant. If I was on the pack like I normally was, I would’ve never even known. I went to Planned Parenthood, saw how far along I was. I was hoping that maybe it was my then (on and off again) boyfriend’s, but there was a good several weeks between when I had even seen him and my last day of school. If it was his, it would’ve been six weeks, but it was eight, almost nine weeks. I was like, oh shit. I immediately got tested for STDs. That was the scariest thing. Getting tested for just everything. I went back to Planned Parenthood a few days later and got a DNC and unfortunately, I had to go by myself. When I went to that initial appointment, my boyfriend was there, but he had to take off work to be there. I was just going to do that pill thing where it just takes care of it on its own, but I was too far along. So then I had to make my own appointment and go by myself. (Participant #38, Alumnus)


    If I’m in a group setting and if a guy has a different idea of what consent is or that abortion is wrong and that a woman should never have one, I get really set off. I’ll have a really heated debate with them or even start yelling at them. (Participant #38, Alumnus)
        

    I remember I was wanting to really hurt myself for a while. I was so upset. I just felt so dirty and used and just overall terrible. (Participant #38, Alumnus)


    A couple weeks after the whole incident happened, I finally opened up to one of my friends and she encouraged me to go to The Center with her and I got tested. It came back as positive for gonorrhea. I had a total breakdown. That was one of the first moments where I was like, what happened was wrong. This shouldn’t have happened. (Participant #39, Alumnus)


    It’s the weirdest things that just kind of set me off and then I can’t enjoy what I’m doing anymore. (Participant #39, Alumnus)



    It’s definitely affected me a lot in terms of mental health. I’ve been dealing with anxiety, depression, PTSD, a lot of different things ever since. At one point, I would have panic attacks every single day on campus. It’s gotten a lot better since then, but I would say my mental health was probably impacted the most. (Participant #41, Student)


    One of the hardest parts of this is talking to my parents about it. I have had to give my parents some of the worst news I think they could hear from a child. I never thought I would have to tell them what I did this week. "My perpetrator is coming back to Cal Poly and I don’t know what to do, I don’t feel safe and no one is giving me any answers." My parents are now taking time out of their lives and their work to help me figure this out. I feel so guilty for taking up so much of their time, and having to tell them about how depressed and unsafe I feel. I never thought my college experience would consist of this but here we are. (Participant #41, Student)



    The day after it happened I went to Planned Parenthood to get tested, but I ended up having to come back two weeks later because it takes that long for anything to show up with blood work. When I came back and got tested I still wasn’t able to see the results for another couple of days. It was the longest and most stressful few weeks not knowing if I had been given an STD or even if I was pregnant. I finally got the call back from Planned Parenthood when I was back up here at school. They told me that I had chlamydia. There is no doubt in my mind that I got it from my perpetrator. (Participant #42, Student)


    The Kavanaugh controversy was a really big reason why I decided to join group [therapy]. I watched the whole hearing and it really affected me. (Participant #42, Student)
        

    I have developed anxiety, PTSD, and manic depression. These mental illnesses make it extremely difficult to be a student and a person. (Participant #43, Student)


    I have really bad anxiety and have been trying to get used to medication to just be a normal, functioning human. Just trying to function…I haven’t felt like myself for a year now. It’s so crazy looking back at this past year. It’s been a whole year of my life and it’s been the worst/hardest year of my life. I am scared of things that I’ve never been scared of since it happened. (Participant #43, Student)


    I think that I just didn’t realize to what extent I could be harmed and traumatized. I always felt like I could be in control in these situations and to have that completely diminish was very disempowering. (Participant #44, Student)


    Physically, it was very difficult to deal with the response of, I didn’t choose to have that happen and I still had to deal with the physical consequences of it. It’s either potentially have a child with a stranger or choose an alternative that’s going to harm your body as well or at least is unpleasant. I had really bad cramps and multiple periods and strange sweats that would happen and headaches. An extent of physical damage was done as well as it just hurting. It literally hurt. (Participant #44, Student)


    I know it sounds like I’m going on a rant, but I’m very passionate about mental health. I would even like to argue that mental health is more important than physical health because if your mental isn’t there, your physical health will decline too. This school just doesn’t care about their counseling services, they’re extremely under-funded, they’re extremely under-staffed, and it’s just sad. It’s really really sad that for a state school that we pay so much money to go to, we can’t even get right counseling. Those are my closing thoughts. (Participant #45, Student)


    I wouldn’t say it affects my day to day life, but there are definitely certain triggers. It’s weird because now I’m very hyper-sensitive when I see a little girl with a man. I always look at how the man is looking at her, how the man is treating her. My perpetrator would take me out and buy me stuff in order to keep my mouth shut and I feel like if someone would’ve observed a little bit and would’ve noticed my body language, someone would’ve been able to save me. You know what I mean? Now I’ve turned very hyper-sensitive to when I see the way parents or guardians or older people deal with little girls, not even [just] little girls, but little boys too. (Participant #45, Student)



    I basically became very ill. I didn’t know why, but now I know most illnesses stem from stress. Your immune system is compromised. This and that. So I went to the Health Center. I don’t know why. I think I just had really bad cramps all the time and the woman, I came in for cramps. I didn’t have any sort of complaint or anything related to him or any stress and she was just like, “You know, I can tell that your body has been under a lot of stress. Are you doing okay? Is there anything going on?” She just kind of knew that I was going through some traumas. That was pretty much the only person that I really talked to about it after talking to my one friend. It really meant a lot to me that she was so intuitive and perceptive because I didn’t say anything, but she just knew. She said, “Your body has been going through a lot of stress. I can tell that you haven’t been eating.” She took a urine test and they can tell if you have been starving yourself so the incident had brought back my eating disorder. I wasn’t eating so I was getting a lot of cramps. I think part of it was because [my perpetrator] had been calling me so much. I had been undergoing three weeks of freaking out. Every time he would call me, I would throw up because I was just like, I don’t know what to do. I just want to be removed from thinking about him. When he would call, it would bring back him. Eventually, I blocked his phone number, but that was after multiple phone calls of talking to him. (Participant #47, Alumnus)


    I struggled for a long time, having panic attacks every time I saw him on campus and feeling anxious everywhere I went. (Participant #48, Student)


    Because I have experience with sexual violence, I also have anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I suffer from panic attacks and excruciating nightmares. Every day I have to remind myself that I am safe and working through the trauma my brain refuses to forget. It’s exhausting. (Participant #48, Student)


    After the assault, I developed an eating disorder to cope with the loss of power and have struggled with food. (Participant #49, Alumnus)


    I remember dealing with extreme pain whenever I peed for the next week. I had bruises and marks on my body that I had to cover up when I was home for Thanksgiving break. One of my guy friends saw a mark on my neck and praised me for hooking up in college, that made me even more confused and I felt like I hadn’t been assaulted and it was just a normal college experience. (Participant #50, Alumnus)


    I was sort of on the verge of an eating disorder and that [incident] escalated it...I had binge eating disorder for several years. It was a combination of having a protective layer of weight so no one tried to assault me and a mechanism for coping with this experience (and other trauma). I felt that need for protection even more when I moved to New York for a few years...I think I subconsciously wanted to prevent unwanted looks, touches/grazes, or any potential assault. (Participant #50, Alumnus)


    I went to therapy to discuss the assault and my eating disorder. I also saw a specialty physical therapist who helped with physical discomfort around sex, as a result of the assault. I started seeing that therapist two or three years after the incident (around the end of college) and the physical therapist was after college; I had been dating my now husband for a while and still didn’t feel completely comfortable with him physically even though it was and is a really safe relationship. (Participant #50, Alumnus)


    I don’t really experience this now, but when I was going through (I call it my dark time), I hated going to public places by myself. I was scared. I was always looking [behind] my back just in case someone was following me or things like that. I hated going out at night. I just wanted to be home because that’s where I felt safe. (Participant #51, Student)


    I don’t remember what he looks like, but if I saw the [fraternity] letters, I knew it would trigger my assault right then and there. (Participant #51, Student)



    Going through dating abuse and being raped and I had never known what that was like. So then I went into an extreme state of depression. I lost almost twenty pounds and my parents and family friends said they saw a complete change in me. I would just sleep all the time. I didn’t even realize this until afterwards, but my parents would literally be the ones to get me out of bed, tell me to eat, take me to my practices. At this point, I wasn’t even driving myself. During that time, I couldn’t recognize how not okay I was. (Participant #52, Student)


    I was getting in my car after work one day last week and there was a young guy walking towards me with his hand in his pocket. We made eye contact and normally that should be okay, but immediately I look at what’s in his pocket. I’m trying to see. My heart drops. He’s still looking at me. My heart is just racing. I break out in hives. He was literally just getting his keys out of his pocket and we had just made eye contact. That was it. I was like, holy shit. This is my norm now. (Participant #54, Alumnus)



    I definitely feel like there’s this subtle anxiety that I feel all the time. Especially being around men and meeting men for the first time, I feel like I have to be extra cautious for no reason. (Participant #57, Student)


    On Tuesday, I was walking down from the Rec and there was this girl pouring alcohol in the show [on the TV] and my whole body got so scared. I didn’t even know why. That’s just really weird. I freaked out. I was like, maybe it’s because I don’t want to get drunk again. But that’s weird. I’ve gotten drunk and gotten sick and the next morning and been like, whatever. There was a show on later where this girl touched someone’s thigh and my heart started to beat really fast. Why are these things freaking me out? (Participant #59, Student)
           

    I get triggered when people use the term “rape” lightly in joking matters. I clench up. Or when people talk about blacking out and not remembering things because that’s such a common thing for people to do. People are like, “Oh I get blacked every weekend.” The idea of that now…everyone comes in and shares their weekend stories after a night in the dorms and every time someone says, “Oh I got blacked,” hearing that…just small words that people don’t think about breed a lot of anxiety. On the outside, you’re like, oh, but on the inside, you’re panicking. You don’t know. Bad things can happen if you do that. (Participant #59, Student)
           

    Another situation at a different time that was also not super consensual but wasn’t sex resulted in me being really sensitive to anyone grabbing my chest with any kind of force because of a time that my arms were restrained and someone put their hand up my shirt. That entire area just doesn’t have any kind of sexual behavior. (Participant #60, Student)
        

    For me, it was just like, “Oh this is not going to affect me. This is not going to bother me.” But then there would be times where something would happen and I would just want to be by myself or I would just want to cry. I know that that’s totally okay, but for me, it was just like, I can’t be vulnerable right now. I can’t be weak. (Participant #61, Student)
     
        
  13. ADMINISTRATION

       

    My experience with administration/bureaucracy has always been negative, but it was extra negative after that [incident] because I was like, “You guys don’t do shit.” I’ve been very hostile and negative…I don’t feel like they’re on my side at all…I feel like they’re very ‘cover your ass’ [mentality] and they’ll do whatever they need to do to not get sued, but they don’t care about any of their students. (Participant #3, Student)
     

    But the administration, it seemed like an issue they didn’t want to deal with. I know with Title IX issues, they have to report how many are real and what’s not…it felt like they were trying to find any reason to keep the donations from that family [the perpetrator’s family] or just to keep [the Title IX case] under wraps. (Participant #4, Student)

     
    That sort of isolation, those dark dark days where your roommates have to call the police because they’re so afraid of you committing suicide…no dollar amount could ever put a price on stuff like that. I want administration to stop caring about the money for once and start caring about the health of students. (Participant #13, Student)
     

    I think a lot of issues are handled poorly by administration, sexual assault is definitely one of them. There was that one guy who had eight cases against him or some shit and they let him graduate. […] It disgusts me that I go to a school like that. I’m at the point where it’s not worth it for me to transfer and uproot my whole entire life, but if I had the resources and the money to do so, I would. (Participant #15, Student)

     
    The administration does not at all support survivors. The resources and support that they have here is minimal. It barely exists. I think it sucks basically. (Participant #16, Student)

     
    I wrote an 83-paged letter to Keith Humphries. It was titled “Letter of Grievance: University Housing Addressing a Sexual Assault.” I was really upset with what had happened and how the school had handled everything, but I didn’t want it to just be like, this was bad. I wanted it to be like, no, this was really bad and here’s why. It was all my complaints. It had a list of parties involved. A timeline. An explanation of events. Every single piece of email evidence I could find. Everything. I sent that to him. He responded well to it. He replied within two hours and I sent it on a Friday night or something. He was like, “I haven’t read this yet, but we care about you. Here’s your resources.” All that bullshit. He responded two days later and was like, “I read this”...It was addressed to him, but I also sent it to the head of housing, President Armstrong, the dean of students, and Brian [Gnandt's] boss. […] I sent it to all of them and then they were like, “Yeah so we need to actually investigate this.” I was like, wow what a crazy idea. (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    I would say I became a lot more analytical about any emails or any information from Cal Poly, like directly from the administration’s office or UPD, about sexual assaults and rape. I became a lot more like, how are they wording this? How is the victim or survivor being framed? How is the perpetrator being framed? (Participant #24, Alumnus)
     

    I think right now I personally feel like we have an administration that is focused on pleasing everyone, especially the people who are donating money. (Participant #32, Student)
     

    Everyone as a whole just needs to be aware of the issues and the administration needs to be better about holding people accountable. (Participant #39, Alumnus)
     

    Since then even, I’ve gone to a lot of meetings with administrators and things like that, trying to change the policy and [trying] to change things. I’ve been shut down so many times. I’ve had other students with me and it’s just really hard to try to take this experience and make positive change because it just seems like from an administrative level, no one will actually do anything. They don’t want to be biased towards survivors, which is bullshit to me because it’s like, okay, if you’re against sexual violence, then that’s what you should let your students know. (Participant #41, Student)
     

    The fact that I am happy that my incident didn’t happen on campus or in SLO should really say something about how Cal Poly treats sexual assault survivors. It disgusts me beyond belief that there are perpetrators walking around this campus. It makes me feel like my story does not matter, and neither do the stories of other survivors on this campus. I really just want us to be heard. I want the administration to listen and to take action against perpetrators so we can all feel safer on this campus. (Participant #42, Student)
     

    I really hope that my interview can shed some light on the choices of spending that Cal Poly decides to do as an administration because as much as they like to preach, “Oh school counseling! Go to school counseling!” As much as they like to preach in WOW week, it’s not what they advertise. It’s highly impacted. They don’t give students the counseling that they need. (Participant #45, Student)

     
    I never reached out to the resources here because I don’t believe in the resources here. I don’t believe they’re for the students. They’re for the system to keep suppressing students for economic gain. You can look at systematically how people are oppressed and discriminated against through the fucking systems of higher education for years. That’s the thing. I don’t believe all these facts that our schools says or that they’re here for us because there’s so much truth that you aren’t here for. Our administration only speaks to the truths they want to hear and have heard. (Participant #52, Student)
     

    I don’t have personal respect for any of our administration. I think they have an agenda that is not for the students. (Participant #52, Student)
     

    To the administration…You say you may care. You offer your condolences and that you’re sorry. We don’t give a fuck about your words. We want your actions to actually reflect the bullshit you say to keep Cal Poly’s image clean. I want you to say, “Okay we are not supporting with these actions of our campus. We are doing this and this to make our victims feel safe from any type of discrimination or reality they’ve had on our campus.” (Participant #52, Student)
     

    There’s so many solutions that could be had, but I think our administration is afraid to have these conversations of, “We’re not perfect.” They’re so good at finessing and creating an image for Cal Poly and it’s like, why are you feeding these lies to students? You aren’t serving the students. You’re serving yourselves and your income at that point then. Don’t come into higher education if you aren’t here to serve us because otherwise, we’re the ones to tell people not to come to your school and the ones who pay for the institution to run. No one gives a fuck about how you do at Open House or how you do with NSTP [New Student & Transition Program]. If you have students who are willing to speak out, there’s a reason why there was a protest at last Open House to show students that this might not be a place where they want to come and if they do, they are going to have to fight to be heard. (Participant #52, Student)

        
  14. PRESIDENT ARMSTRONG

       

    ​​[We need] a president who is fucking competent and writes emails other than when people die or fucking blackface happens. (Participant #15, Student)
     

    I fucking hate Armstrong. You can put that in there, that’s totally fine with me. He’s so incompetent and just not being there for so much of the student population. I feel like this becomes an issue too with white privilege and gender, but the white men aren’t being oppressed. They don’t have issues. It’s not that they don’t matter, but the people that have issues aren’t being addressed. Even though they make up a smaller bit of the population, they’re the ones that have issues. Not this group [of white men] over here. You got to go aid where it’s needed, not based on who’s mostly here. The system doesn’t really allow for that to happen because all the resources are geared toward white males, and the culture is too, and our president is a white male who’s privileged and grew up in a very rich family (I’ve done research on him). He’s also the highest paid CSU president and he got that because he fucking asked for it and they gave it to him. He didn’t do anything extra. He just asked for it and they were like, "Yeah sure your university brings in a lot of money." It just goes so deep. It expands on so many issues. It starts with sexual assault and goes into gender and privilege and education funding and financial issues. (Participant #15, Student)

     
    I got invited to go to a lunch with President Armstrong. We had lunch with him. There were people from Safer and from RISE. […] There were three of us there who were survivors who spoke about what we’d gone through to President Armstrong. It was a lunch. None of us ate our food. President Armstrong called us out on that afterwards. He’s like, “Yeah I see some of you didn’t touch your food.” I’m like, I wonder why, you fucker. After this, all three of us got handwritten letters from President Armstrong saying, “I’m sorry you were assaulted.” It was two sentences. I don’t remember exactly what the second sentence was. It was an unimpressive letter, but a great piece of evidence in terms of talking to external parties where it’s like, hey my president sent me a handwritten letter saying he’s sorry that I was assaulted, but then the school declined my case. (Participant #21, Alumnus)

     
    The frats the have multiple sexual assault [charges] against them, but President Armstrong won’t do anything? (Participant #31, Student)

     
    There’s people here on Megan’s Law that attend school here. It’s like, how is that even possible when we have a child care center on campus? But it doesn’t really matter because for them, President Armstrong and admissions, just see everyone as diversified or a dollar sign. You’re worth the nine thousand dollar tuition and that’s it. I don’t see you worth anything more than that. It’s like, who cares what you’ve done in the past. We’re going to let you get an education because you’re bettering yourself. That’s where I draw the line. Offer more resources for us then if you’re going to do that…make it known that these people are at Cal Poly. Don’t sugar coat it. Don’t brush it under the rug. (Participant #31, Student)

     
    The whole [instance with the male graduate with seven accusations of assault against him]...Armstrong we fucking have photos of you with [his] dad. We know you don’t care about survivors. Whether you believe survivors or not doesn’t matter. You’re not going to listen to them anyway. You’re not going to let them win. You’re not going to let them smear Cal Poly’s already gross, greasy name anyway. (Participant #33, Alumnus)
     

    I don’t want to blame all the problems on Armstrong because I feel like all the students just look at Armstrong and blame him because he’s the president, but if you look online, every single year, Armstrong gets hundreds of thousands of dollars added to his annual salary. Why can’t you put half of that salary into counseling? What’s so hard about it? I’ve done research on all of this. Why is Armstrong getting so many pay raises every single year to do the bare minimum as a president? He doesn’t even write his own press releases. Why are we giving a president so much more money to be the face of this school and we’re barely even putting in any money for counseling? (Participant #45, Student)

     
    Honestly, pretty much any time I see President Armstrong, I just kind of say under my breath, “Fuck you.” You know? I’ve talked to him personally about our education issues and given solutions by selecting different courses from ES, WGS, and like subjects to help change campus climate. And like he always says, “There’s no funds.” This is also what is said when it comes to Safer funding and survivor support. There has been conversations where we have talked to him about the Safer trainings, like how there might need to be more gender-based trainings to fit the stereotypes of what happens and that people’s names need to be called out so people on campus know who the perpetrators are. Why can’t we release the perpetrators’ names, but we can release the victims’ names? Are you kidding me? That’s automatically enabling the perpetrator. Who are you protecting? The victim or the perpetrator? It just blows my mind. I’m tired of hearing there’s no more funds…there’s no more funds. You know what, Jeffrey Armstrong? You have over $2,000 you get a month towards an automobile allowance. Who the fuck needs more than $2,000 a month [for an automobile], when that could be $2,000 a month going to another Safer advocate or something like that. That would equal their income or some sort of it or I don’t know, an intern. Just something. Get a safe space where only survivors and allies can go to seek comfort and create community. How about create some good Cal Poly culture? Community and culture…two things our president is afraid of. (Participant #52, Student)
     

        
  15. LACK OF EMPATHY




    People don’t believe it until they see it or it happens to them. How can Cal Poly provide that? I wouldn’t say that’s all 100% Cal Poly’s fault, but it’s something they have influence on. (Participant #2, Student)


    I don’t feel like people get it until someone they know says, “Hey I was assaulted,” and I don’t think people really care until they either know the consequences or know someone who was assaulted. (Participant #3, Student)


    Usually it takes someone to know a friend or someone close to them that this has happened to for them to actually understand. Otherwise they can try, but maybe it doesn’t matter as much to them. (Participant #7, Student)


    If you’ve never gone through it, then you can try to understand, but you don’t really know. (Participant #22, Student)


    Even with people my age and students at Cal Poly who are in the same programs I’m in, there are so many occurrences of people putting down others who have been assaulted, have developed mental illness from it, and have been told to get over it. I’m like, no that’s not how it works. (Participant #22, Student)


    People always say, “Just don’t think about it” or “You need to get over it.” Do you think we don’t know that? Do you think I’m ever like, hmm yeah let me drive through Somerville [location of incident] today because I feel like annoying people by getting triggered. I love choosing to be sad, and anxious, and angry, and overwhelmed, when I guess I can just flip a switch and be happy. Why would I ever choose to feel the way that I do? It’s frustrating to get people to understand that. (Participant #22, Student)


    You can talk to people about it, but unless they’ve gone through it, they don’t know how to react. (Participant #26, Student)


    This is a really serious issue and people don’t really understand unless there’s a sad realization [that] one person who’s close to you actually had that happen. That shouldn’t be the case. It should always be something that’s very important. (Participant #27, Student)


    I know that there are people there that do support me. Other than that, I’m just really mad at the people here on campus that don’t really understand. (Participant #27, Student)


    People need to be more empathetic. I’m all about empathy. People just need to be more empathetic and understand that just because something isn’t really going to happen to you or you say that it’s not going to happen to you, doesn’t mean that it’s not a cause worth fighting for or a cause that doesn’t have any importance to you. (Participant #27, Student)


    I told my mom that it happened, but I don’t think she really understands how it affects me in my daily life. She just knows that it happened. (Participant #29, Student)


    Sometimes I tell people, but I don’t think they know how to react to it or how to talk to me. (Participant #29, Student)


    Even when I go into the [Democrat’s Club], I just feel like...like Kavanaugh, I couldn’t really talk about it. I couldn’t talk about how it really hurt me. They’re like, “Oh my god. It sucks. It sucks.” It’s like, I get you’re trying to be empathetic, but we all know it’s more a façade that you’re trying to create. For me, it’s like, you just don’t understand what I went through. Stop playing this victim part when you’ve never experienced being a victim. I think that’s just the culture. (Participant #31, Student)


    I’m just tired of everyone just thinking, you’re so strong. You’re this and that. I don’t think people really understand how it feels when you can’t sleep at 3 a.m. and you’re just thinking what if I never went over? What if I never said this? Would I be in this dilemma? Would I be sleeping at 3 a.m. and not being up at 3 a.m. doing this “what if?” (Participant #31, Student)


    I do think that a lot of men in particular are…it’s not that they don’t care, they just don’t understand truly what it all means. They kind of just think it’s outside their world…that they don’t need to deal with it. (Participant #42, Student)


    I guess for me, I’d like to ask the guys who are committing these crimes: “If that were your daughter, what would you actually do? If the stakes actually really concerned you, what would you choose? Is your fifteen minutes of gratification worth someone’s entire life?” (Participant #44, Student)


    I think with a lot of men, because it’s considered more of a female problem or something that is a distant problem, they don’t really know how to go about helping at all. They just don’t bother because they don’t really know what to do, how they can help. (Participant #47, Alumnus)

    ​​While you can empathize with people who have been assaulted or been through any sort of experience with gender-based violence, you really don’t understand what it’s like until it has happened to you. (Participant #54, Alumnus)
       



  16. SEX EDUCATION




    They [Greek life organizations] give all those presentations [about sexual violence] but honestly, I don’t feel like any of them work or do anything positive. I know that he got that training, but it obviously didn’t mean anything or do anything. (Participant #2)



    The friend that I had who tried to make an advance on me...that was the Safer chair in his fraternity. He’s had more training than the average fraternity brother on that kind of thing and he still doesn’t know or understand. (Participant #2, Student)


    Not Anymore is crap and we should never do it. It’s stupid and just trivializes and mocks sexual assault. The whole video...that was just so bad. Haven was bad. All of it is bad. We should just not have online things. We should split by men, women, and everyone in between and have in person sit-down talks. (Participant #3, Student)



    Very broad statement to make, but I wish students were "forced" to go through some other form of sexual assault "training" than the ultra-cheesy, lengthy, boring programs such as Haven and whatever new thing [Not Anymore] they did this year, which was especially horrible. Those programs read off like a 6th grade health class definition list of what defines sexual assault, and the cheesy videos and such make it a laughing matter rather than something taken seriously. It serves as a reminder that those programs only exist so the administration can cover its ass in the event of a lawsuit. (Participant #5, Student)


    For me, since it happened while I was sober...the whole thing that Smile and Nod [student comedy improvisation group] does with their tea thing [a skit during orientation about consent], that really speaks to that situation [sexual violence without presence of drugs/alcohol]. Maybe there could be more done for situations where alcohol and drugs are involved. (Participant #7, Student)


    I feel like the education about it needs to be better and should start at a younger age because we all worry about sex ed., but when we’re doing sex ed. there’s no [lesson on] “How do you not sexually assault people.” It just sucks because people shouldn’t have to be taught that because it should just be human nature to not hurt someone like that. (Participant #8, Student)


    You know how we have to do Not Anymore at the beginning of the year? I feel like that program was way better than what they had before…the Haven one…because these are real people coming out and talking about their experiences, but if we only did that one time at the beginning of our freshmen year, I feel like it’d be more impactful because then people don’t take it seriously [when they have to repeat it annually]. (Participant #8, Student)


    I was taking the online class about sexual assault [Not Anymore] that we had to do in the summer. For one, it was really intense. I was triggered. Thankfully there was a mute button. […] What scares me is that people are going to use that mute button to not listen. (Participant #11, Student)


    Every time I hear of organizations like Greek life or sports talking about the talks [on sexual violence] they have to go to, they always groan about it. I’m like, what’s so “ugh” about this? Just because it doesn’t affect you, you’re not into it? […] I feel like there’s a type of entitlement when this topic is brought up. Oh it didn’t happen to me so I don’t have to care. (Participant #11, Student)


    Guys need to be told, “Don’t fucking do this.” There’s all these things for girls like cover up, hold your keys, all this stuff. Could we maybe go to the source and tell men to not be rapists? (Participant #15, Student)


    Those videos and things we have to watch every year...the Haven and the Not Anymore...I think that they’re not effective at all. I think as a survivor, I had to watch them all on mute and I didn’t watch them at all. I watched one video and I was immediately triggered and I watched the rest of them on mute because I had to...because I had to finish it, but it wasn’t helpful for me and it wasn’t at all okay. It was actually really bad. They have that pretest and so if you can pass the pretest at least, then you shouldn’t have to watch all of the videos. Also, I haven’t really talked to anyone that found it educational, even if they’re not a survivor or anything, it’s not helpful. It’s hurtful and I think it’s really stupid. I think they should figure out a better way to do that. I don’t know what that is, but there needs to be a better way. Restricting and educating fraternities is really important and they’re not doing that. (Participant #16, Student)


    I think the statistics that we learn in those stupid PowerPoints are so wrong. This cannot be a 1 in 5 because five of my friends...five of five have acknowledged this has happened to them. (Participant #18, Student)


    Instead of teaching women how not to get raped…like oh you got to not walk alone at night and you got to watch your back and carry a knife and pepper spray…yeah that’s all great, but really we should be teaching guys about consent. Obviously, there are people who are going to rape people no matter what, but I feel like we could cut down on a lot of sexual assault if guys just knew more about sexual assault and understanding that if someone’s drunk, it’s not consensual. No matter if they want it or not, even if they want it because they’re not in their right mind. If someone is not responding, silence is not consent. If they’re under-aged, they’re not consenting. They can’t consent because they’re too young. I just think we should really teach that in schools and not in a dumb online thing that we take once a year. It should be taught in our classrooms. (Participant #20, Alumnus)


    During WOW and everything like that, when they had all those presentations on this is what [sexual assault/rape] is, I was sitting there and I was just in disbelief. I was like, oh my gosh, that happened to me. (Participant #23, Student)


    All of these things where you’re just like, haven’t you been educated on all of this? He goes to UCSB and I remember freshman year, he told me about all of these videos and things [about sexual assault/rape] that he had received and he was like, “Wow this is all so amazing and I don’t understand how anybody could do that.” Then there he was. (Participant #23, Student)


    I think that in terms of the WOW trainings and the [New Student and Transition] orientation people do a great job of giving that information to freshmen, whether or not it’s taken seriously by all is a completely different aspect of it. (Participant #23, Student)


    There’s a thing [Not Anymore] that we had to complete before school even though people still didn’t complete it. People make jokes about that. I’m on Reddit all the time and they’re just like, “What are the answers to these?” They don’t really care about this and here I am just really frustrated. (Participant #27, Student)


    Cal Poly definitely educated everyone I’d say during WOW, Open House, etc. on those topics so I was definitely aware of the percentages, the people that have gone through it, and all that. (Participant #28, Student)


    I was a WOW leader, that was fun, but the training was really triggering and that was bad. For my sorority, we had to go through Safer training. They didn’t tell us that if you don’t want to go for [whatever] reason, that you don’t have to. I went and that was not productive for myself. Even for the training topics and such, they don’t really consider if you’ve been through it...how it could affect you. That’s been my experience with it. (Participant #29, Student)


    I think it made me realize that although Cal Poly is talking the talk, they’re saying that they care, that they want to prevent this…they are not actually taking action against it and they’re not teaching their staff to take it seriously. Even if they are going through the trainings, I think those who are administering the trainings aren’t taking it seriously and so the students and staff immediately see…oh they’re not taking it seriously, I don’t need to either. It made me feel like I’m not supported and I’m not protected and I have to watch out for myself because I don’t think anyone else is going to. (Participant #32, Student)


    There’s so much people don’t understand yet. Somehow there has to be some kind of training on it. It needs to be more extensive. I know Cal Poly made us take [Haven] before every quarter. That was okay, but I feel like it’s just soulless. It feels fake. It doesn’t get the point across. I don’t have all the answers to this, but I just feel like for assault to be taken seriously, it needs to be explained well. It needs to grab the attention of the public. If it’s such a big problem, then it has to appeal to people in some way. (Participant #33, Alumnus)


    There’s certain European countries that start [teaching] the idea of consent starting in kindergarten. I think that’s so needed. (Participant #38, Alumnus)


    I recently did a paper just talking about sex education in this country. Only 13 states require the information presented to be medically accurate. It’s insane. There’s some states in the Midwest that when you talk about homosexuality, you’re supposed to talk about it in a negative light. They don’t talk about masturbation. They don’t teach you what to expect in a relationship or sex or how you should be treated. That needs so much reform. It really blew my mind that you can tell lies to kids and that’s acceptable. I think all of us are feeling the effects of people not learning what consent is and how to be a decent human. (Participant #38, Alumnus)


    I went to a Catholic high school so I was never really taught…there was no sex education, nothing about consent. I was honestly one of those people, where it sounds ridiculous according to my mom, but I didn’t even know you could say “no” or that “no” even counted as anything. (Participant #46, Student)


    No one told me about consent…that I could say “no,” what I could do with my body. I was supposed to stay a virgin until I was married. […] I just wish I had been taught. That’s 100% something I’ll teach my children. (Participant #46, Student)


    Truth be told, I never learned what consent was until my freshman year at Cal Poly during WOW week. (Participant #49, Alumnus)


    From my experiences and those of watching my friends, alcohol is the most common drug to facilitate sexual assault. I felt like my peers were desensitized to the reality of sexual violence. This is a society where sexual violence has been normalized. I’m hopeful that alcohol consumption is taught in a way where people do not have to lose control of themselves. I think this is a larger part of rape culture, where people are comfortable abusing themselves or are not connected to the ways they disconnect from themselves to cope with pains of life that are universal in various degrees. (Participant #49, Alumnus)


    This was not a thing that we talked about from where I’m from. We didn’t talk about dating abuse. We didn’t talk about gender-based violence and getting raped by your boyfriend, you know? (Participant #52, Student)


    Our education system is failing us. Why aren’t we talking about this at a younger age? Why aren’t we talking about this before it happens? Why aren’t we talking about the small, little comments that people make that can lead to these bigger acts? Just a snowball effect, where’s the prevention? (Participant #52, Student)


    I know it sounds so dumb, but after I saw one Safer presentation of one person saying, “This is what happened to me,” and everyone kind of just ignoring that person…I was like, oh my gosh, that was me. And you think, oh we have all these trainings to tell people, “No, listen to the person who’s telling you this story and don’t push it away,” but that’s essentially what happens. (Participant #55, Student)


    It’s just sad that women are still asked, “What were you wearing?” Why do we have to teach women to protect themselves instead of teaching men, how about don’t rape people? Hold men accountable. Don’t victim blame. No one asks to get raped. Just like no one asks to get cancer, no one asks to get raped. It’s just so frustrating. (Participant #56, Student)


    I think Cal Poly’s sexual assault education is only for show. It’s not actually effective. The way that they make all the students do it at the beginning of the school year...it’s so dumb because literally all of my friends are doing other shit or have other people do their Haven education for their friends. They’re obviously not learning. Making a student sit down to learn about an uncomfortable matter on their own while using boring videos and techniques is not helpful at all. If anything, [sex education] should be incorporated throughout the year. Like Smile and Nod [a comedy improvisation group] did a really good one our freshman year. Or just have it be a reminder throughout the year. Have every single WOW leader emphasize these things and explain the consequences. (Participant #57, Student)


    People come from different backgrounds. The way that predators “attack” in different cultures…for example, my culture, Asian culture and American culture are different. Taking cultural differences into consideration and whoever creates the training needs to take that into consideration and be very very open-minded. (Participant #57, Student)


    Re-teaching men how they define consent and masculinity. I don’t think regulations or rules or policies against a certain group and “benefits” for another group will necessarily help accelerate the process. It will help, but I think the best way is just to get everyone comfortable talking about this first. (Participant #57, Student)


    I just feel like people need to be more aware of this issue. Safer Trainings are mandatory for Greek life and I think that they should be mandatory for everyone on this campus because this problem is not just in Greek life. Yeah, we learn about it during WOW, but that’s not enough. I still don’t really know what resources I have and I have looked into it many times. (Participant #58, Student)


    I feel like a lot of people don’t know what sexual assault really is because it can be so many different things. At parties, I’ve had guys grab my butt. That’s sexual assault. They didn’t ask. That’s just not okay in any situation. People just aren’t aware of all the different kinds of sexual assault that there are. It applies to everyone and everyone should know more about it. (Participant #58, Student)


    It shouldn’t be women learning how to not get raped. It should be men learning how to not be fucking rapists. I want to go to a men’s Safer training just because I don’t know what it’s like. […] Sexual assault does happen to men, but let’s be real, usually they’re the perpetrators. (Participant #59, Student)


    People don’t see the need for change because they don’t realize how common it is besides just hearing the statistic of 25% [of undergraduate female students will be assaulted in college], which is so inaccurate because that’s people who reported it. That’s what makes me mad the most. (Participant #59, Student)


    I just am really really aware of the fact that so many guys just have no concept of what consensual sex is. I’ve talked to so many guy friends and just men in general about this and men are shocked when I am as communicative as I am in bed because they’re just not used to that. They’re used to girls not saying anything. They’re used to them not saying, “That feels good. That feels good. Please don’t do that. Do this instead.” Because I don’t know if this is Cal Poly. It’s bigger than that. It was just such a shock for me. It was so surprising for these guys when I was being communicative because they were so not used to that. I was like, “You know when girls aren’t saying anything, they’re probably not having a good time right?” Every guy I’ve told that to is completely taken aback. […] I think a lot of guys just don’t know what good communication looks like and I think that’s a really important thing to teach. Instead of teaching men, “Don’t rape people,” we need to teach men, “This is what consent looks like.” (Participant #60, Student)


    The issue is a lot of men don’t think that what they did is actually wrong. At least with this guy, he thought we were going to be good friends after that. They actually don’t understand that what they did was wrong. That just shows me how naïve they are or how naïve they want to be. A lot of guys don’t understand. I don’t want to say all guys. But a lot of them don’t understand that what they did is actually wrong. That’s just like, are you serious? It’s hard. Also wasting your time educating people, especially if it doesn’t get to their head…it’s also not your job to educate someone. For a guy, it’s not your job to tell them, “This isn’t okay,” because they should know that already. (Participant #61, Student)

       


  17. INVALIDATION AND VICTIM BLAMING



    In the morning, I leave to go back to my place, tell my roommates what happened, they blame me and accuse me. But such is life. In the morning, the girl apologized to me and sent the sorry text. And I showed that to my roommates as well, but low and behold, nothing. After that, I realized I need to break off from my current friend group, went hermit mode, and just moved past it on my own. (Participant #1, Student)


    But I have met people who are super against it and are like, “Well…you went over to his house so you kind of were asking for it.” (Participant #4, Student)


    It was my mom at first, but she’s very old-fashioned and was like, “Well you did drink too much.” She’s trying to be helpful for the future, but it was way too soon to be having that conversation with me…wasn’t helpful at all. I really didn’t talk to her for two weeks. I just couldn’t be around her or anything like that. I felt like she was absolutely blaming me for what happened, which she wasn’t. Later on, she would sit at home and cry because I wouldn’t talk to her and later she said, “I fucked up.” (Participant #6, Student)


    Even if you’re friends with that group of people [a victim having mutual friends with the perpetrator], [those mutual friends] would never…or very few times they would take your side because they’re like, “Oh no that’s my friend…he would never do that to you.” That’s a recurring pattern I’ve seen. (Participant #8, Student)


    Even talking to friends makes me feel sick sometimes. Even if they’re nice and they say something like, “That sucks,” you feel like they don’t care, you feel like they just want you to shut up so they don’t have to face the problem itself. (Participant #9, Student)


    With the serial rapist…he graduated. The fact that none of his victims…they have no justice because he graduated. The turnout for the protest during graduation, I was a part of that and I was so down for it. People didn’t know what it meant so that means this story didn’t go out as big as I thought and as it should’ve. There were some people who just didn’t care. There was this one drunk graduate who was behind me during the ceremony and he was like, “Why do people have these IX’s on them?” and I was like, “It’s for rape survivors.” He’s like, “Oh yeah? Okay, whatever.” I was just like, what the fuck?…okay. (Participant #11, Student)


    Even within my friend group, I was kind of isolated and shamed for having the emotions that followed after the assault. (Participant #13, Student)


    Honestly, I found that a lot of people are judgmental. Even when you try to explain to them what happened, they don’t really want to hear it. They just kind of judge you for it anyways. So after it happened, I lost a lot of my friends and that was really hard. (Participant #14, Student)


    The main thing is I’ve had people judge me and say, “How do you know? How do you know it was sexual assault?” When you know, you know. Even if you didn’t say “no,” if you said “I don’t know,” or you felt uncomfortable, or you were crying […] you know. You know personally. Even if the other people don’t understand, still seek help for that. (Participant #14, Student)


    Honestly, my own father. That sucks a lot. My dad doesn’t know what happened to me, but for him to think, they can’t just not appoint [Brett Kavanaugh] because [Dr. Blasey Ford] said something. I love my dad, but what the fuck? I tell him all the time when we have arguments about things like that, “I forgot that you also have a vagina and that you are somehow impacted by women related issues.” I tell him that all the time. (Participant #19, Student)


    I think every day I have this weird battle with myself like, am I overreacting to something or was it actually not my fault? Is there something I could’ve done? I know the answer to it, it’s not my fault, but I just feel like the world around us is very unforgiving and not understanding. (Participant #22, Student)


    Then I went to my room where two of my roommates were. I just walked in looking dazed and they were like, “What happened to you? Where’s the guy?” I was like, “He left.” They were like, “Why?” I was like, “I think something bad just happened, but I don’t really know what it was.” They were like, “Okay.” I told them and both of them were like, “Oh that’s not that bad. He was just drunk. Don’t worry about it.” They didn’t say it didn’t happen, but they just minimized it. (Participant #24, Alumnus)


    He [the perpetrator] came over and was like, “So I heard you don’t like me?” Gee, I wonder why? I was like, “Oh where’d you hear that?” He was like, “It doesn’t matter. I just want to apologize to you for how I treated you after [the event].” I was like, “Oh okay.” He was like, “I was a dick to you and you didn’t deserve that. I’m really sorry I treated you that way.” I was like, alright, doesn’t make up for it, but okay. You have 3% of a redeemable chance now. You had 0 and now you have 3.  Good for you. I was like, “Alright that actually means a lot to me. Thanks for saying that.” Cool, bye. See you never. He was like, “Oh, how are you? How have you been?” I was like, “Oh you know, I’m just trying to figure out a housing situation and that’s kind of stressful, but other than that, I’m fine,” just trying to leave the conversation…forever. He was like, “Oh really? You can’t find a place to live right now?” I was like, “No my roommates and I are looking, but it’s hard to find one,” you know just stupid housing small talk. He was like, “Oh well I think there’s room in my house.” He literally said that and then he’s like, “Actually, might as well just move into my room or like…my bed.” Those words. Those actual words four seconds after he apologized for doing what he did. He didn’t even apologize for doing what he did. He just apologized for treating me like shit. That’s not equivalent. His apology was wiped off the board. (Participant #24, Alumnus)


    I think the hardest thing after it was I have a boyfriend and he reacted his own way, but he has a twin brother. His parents are divorced. The dad is very Republican I would say. What I found most hurtful was the brother was like, “Oh she totally brought this on herself.” And the dad was like, “Oh yeah, she’s totally faking it.” All that cliché negativity about it being the girl’s fault, they basically just said that about me. That was definitely the most hurtful part about it because I can deal with it on my own. I don’t need their input. (Participant #28, Student)


    Recently over the summer, I moved to San Luis Obispo because I’m a transfer student and my ex, that same ex who has had a girlfriend apparently for the past year, decided to make multiple Snapchats and add me on every Snapchat. I just blocked, blocked, blocked until one day I finally decided, let’s accept you. Why are you adding me? I accepted it, but it took me a while…I wanted to absorb what happened and why [he’s] adding me. I finally messaged him, “Why are you adding me? Do you not remember the last encounter we had? You stuck your fingers in me. You raped me. You penetrated me for years. I don’t know what you want.” He’s like, “Oh I’m sorry. I thought we could rekindle our friendship.” What friendship is there? I don’t get this. (Participant #31, Student)


    Turns out that guy that harassed me, he has multiple assaults and harassments against him as well. Then two months later…that was in May…at our July meeting, I took it up to my liaison and told her what happened. She said, “We’ll do a 20-minute investigation.” Then she said, “Oh, obviously you wanted it. There’s screenshots.” I’m like, “There’s no screenshots of anything.” There was someone that I was hooking up with, but they had pictures of me and sent it to this other person to make it seem like I sent it to [the harasser]. (Participant #31, Student)


    Actually, I opened up to a good friend of mine on campus and I told them about what happened and they’re like, “Well do you think that happens because you’re overly sexual anyways to begin with?” I’m like, “I’m overly sexual to the people I’m having sex with, but not to a random person that I want a vote from or not to my ex-boyfriend that I slept in his bed fully clothed.” What? You can’t bring my past sex history into this and I think at the same time, who can I open to? There are times when I just don’t really want to talk. (Participant #31, Student)


    The fact that when you do tell someone you’re a survivor, sometimes I don’t want sympathy. I don’t want empathy. I just want you to know what happened and I just want you to know why I’m shutting down and why I don’t really want to be open right now and why I can’t focus. I don’t want you to drag me for it. I don’t want you to feel bad for me. I’m not asking for pity. It’s happened, whatever, it is what it is. I’m here. I’ve told a couple people and I’ve told them about school and what not. They’re like, “Oh, well what’s wrong?” And I’m like, “Oh, well I don’t have the energy.” And they’re like, “I know I’m sorry. It sucks, but it won’t get you into law school…these C’s.” It’s like, “You’re right, but at the same time, I don’t have the energy to do it. I just want to be in bed.” It’s frustrating because we’re not really seen as people. (Participant #31, Student)


    People assume for some reason if you’re assaulted, it can only be one time. One instance. One person. You can’t use that card again, otherwise you’re making shit up. (Participant #33, Alumnus)


    So many times I would not want to say anything or I would feel like there’s something wrong with me because some guys in certain groups like KCPR and Mustang News mainly or the rock climbing community….these guys would be super popular and the girls would adore them. Because I wasn’t completely in those groups, those guys would take advantage of me or say really fucked up shit to me when I was by myself or whatever and I feel like I couldn’t tell people because if I did, they’d be like, “What?! He’s so nice. No….no he’s not like that. He has so many girlfriends.” I would just be like, “Okay then…I don’t know.” (Participant #33, Alumnus)


    My mom found [a therapist for me]. I went to see her and she was bad for me because she basically told me my mom was the reason why I’m fucked up for everything…probably to an extent, but my mom is also Asian. She’s from Korea. She’s been through some shit herself. I should’ve been critical of the way this white lady was like, “Oh she’s a helicopter mom.” I listened to that and then I told her about all these guys that take advantage of me and how it hurt or [how] I was raped. I’d talk about that stuff and she would just tell me, “It’s your fault. You love to live in chaos and if you don’t fix your shit, you’re basically going to die in an alley.” She straight up was like, “What’s next? When’s it going to be enough for you? One day, you’re just going to be left alone in an alley raped and murdered.” (Participant #33, Alumnus)


    Well I mean I think the biggest part of Cal Poly culture that was honestly difficult for me was the first people I told essentially said, “Oh everyone does that. You were drinking. It’s fine. It happens.” No one ever asked if I was okay with what happened or if I consented to it, which I clearly remember saying “no.” It really messes with your head because then I started thinking things to myself along the lines of okay well, maybe I shouldn’t have drank that much. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone into the room alone with him. Maybe I shouldn’t have been kissing him. Maybe I gave him the wrong idea. He was really drunk too. It’s not really his fault. I should’ve done more to make it clear that I didn’t consent other than just saying “no.” I think that was the hardest part for it. (Participant #36, Alumnus)


    That’s been the hardest thing of all of this. My mother doesn’t believe a word I say. She doesn’t take either side. She didn’t like him [the most recent perpetrator], but the first one, she’s like, “He kissed the ground you walked on. How would he ever hurt you?” (Participant #37, Student)


    Neither of my parents really believe anything that I said so [my dad] found it funny that I was like, “I never want to see his face again.” He made jokes as we were walking through the mall of: “Oh! I think it’s him.” (Participant #37, Student)


    I was at a friend’s house and this was pretty fresh after, maybe a few months after, and he basically said that if a girl initiates it, it’s her job to take care of him and make sure he doesn’t have blue balls. She’s obligated to do it. I just went off. (Participant #38, Alumnus)


    Women are just discredited so often and not believed, which is just infuriating. (Participant #38, Alumnus)


    [My dad] told me that I needed to call my mom when I get home and tell her because he didn’t want to tell her. He dropped me off and I called my mom to tell her. Basically, the incident was over New Year’s and I had to ask permission to go stay at my friend’s house. My parents were super nervous about it. When I told my mom, the first thing that came out of her mouth was, “I told you you shouldn’t have gone.” I tried to explain to her that I was not planning to get sexually assaulted at my friend’s house. I wanted to go have fun with all of my new friends. It was not my fault. That was so hard to say that to her because I was still trying to figure out how I felt about it. I was still in the process of realizing, this is not okay. (Participant #43, Student)


    This last weekend, I was sexually harassed by another guy who I thought was my friend. I had got us all to be riding back in the same car together. He had been instigating throughout the night, but I kept shutting him down. I felt comfortable enough to handle myself. He asked (because we live in the same apartment building) if I could help him get a ride back. I said, “Let me ask.” Then it was just him and I in the back seat and he tried touching my leg a number of times and tried kissing me a few times to the point where I had to physically defend myself. I tried to get him to get kicked out of the car. He responded with, “Do you think violence is okay?” and that I was asking for it. I was not happy. I did call him and confront him. Basically, he blamed it on drinking too much alcohol and that he would’ve never done that if he were sober. It was just a bunch of excuses. I just said, “It doesn’t matter. It’s not justifiable in any way.” That was that. Those two incidents happened in the last five weeks. (Participant #44, Student)


    I think that the aftermath is very isolating. That was the hardest thing for me, the isolation part of it, because you feel like it’s your fault, but it never is. It absolutely never is. But the shame and the guilt that are attributed to that or what you were wearing or how much you were drinking or any of that, people question you and make you feel like you’re not the victim and I think that that ultimately needs to change. The perspective of the victim needs to change. We need to be empowered. (Participant #44, Student)


    My mom, she didn’t know until a few years later that it happened. I know she’s trying to understand, but she doesn’t understand sexual assault at all. This is her line: “If you don’t want to get burned, don’t walk into a burning building.” It’s super screwed up, but it doesn’t affect me thank god because I’m stronger than that, but if she had someone else as a child who hasn’t healed or processed their trauma or was already blaming themselves a lot, like I know it wasn’t my fault, but if someone didn’t, that could really fuck them up. I’ve tried so hard to explain this to my mom a million times and she just doesn’t get it. (Participant #46, Student)


    I pushed him off me, ran out of the room, and cried all the way home. Once we got home I sat on my dorm floor, rocking back and forth, asking my roommate “Why wouldn’t he just stop?” The next morning, I received a text from my perpetrator’s roommate which read, “Hey I saw you run out crying last night. Just wanted to let you know that he [the perpetrator] would never do anything bad and he’s a good guy. Whatever you think happened, I’m sure is not the case.” I didn’t tell anyone for months after that. (Participant #48, Student)


    I was left with bruises and he even bit me at one point. I managed to get him to go to sleep---I didn’t know what to do or how to get him out of my room. In the morning, I was slut-shamed by a girl on my floor. She made comments about me allowing a guy to sleep over and she saw him when she was leaving for church. (Participant #50, Alumnus)


    I get some stuff from the room and kind of look at my friend, trying to assess…like you don’t have any clothes on. I woke up and we were in the same bed. But now you’re in this bed after I leave? What’s going on here? I tried to talk to him about it and he goes, “Oh nothing happened.” I’m like, “Okay.” So I go home to shower and I take off my shirt and I see literal two hand marks on my boobs with bruises. Literally hand marks. You have to grab someone’s boobs really fucking hard to leave five bruises that perfectly cuffed my boobs. I was like, the fuck? Are you fucking kidding me? I tried to talk to one of my girlfriends that I extremely trusted and she invalidated everything I said. She’s like, “Would that really happen?” She also kind of invalidated me in my previous experience discussed before. I was just like, “Fuck you.” It killed me because she had also been targeted before. I then realized I am the only one who could be there for myself. (Participant #52, Student)


    When I was invalidated by some of my best friends and when I saw my friends dating those people, living with those people, it made me realize that I literally can’t count on anyone but myself right now because I don’t have anyone who can support or understand me like I can right now. (Participant #52, Student)


    A lot of people, if they hear my story (many people don’t know about it), they’re like, “Oh well couldn’t you have just slept somewhere else that night.” That really sucks to hear and I definitely don’t want that to be the first thought that comes to mind after hearing my story. I shouldn’t even have to be concerned about getting sexually assaulted when I make that choices like that. Victim blaming is a widespread problem that’s not just at Cal Poly, but I think that’s one of the bigger issues that needs to be addressed. (Participant #53, Alumnus)


    He ended up leaving and I told my roommate that night and she also said, “Well you definitely led him on. Why were you hanging out with him in your room?” I was like, “Um…” That made me the most upset because I had just gone through something that wasn’t okay and she didn’t support me in that and she didn’t help me or believe me. I didn’t tell anyone after that. (Participant #58, Student)

    ​​I feel like a lot of people here don’t think that sexual assault is a big issue on this campus, when in reality, it is and so many people have gone through stuff like this. I think that’s what makes me upset and makes me feel like I can’t talk about it because people will either blame me or blame the situation. That’s why I don’t go out as much anymore. I stopped going out after the first assault, but that didn’t even prevent the second assault. (Participant #58, Student)
       ​


  18. FREEZE RESPONSE

    ​​

    I was trying to text people, “Hey are you guys awake?” and no one was really awake…it was like two in the morning. So then I went back in the room and was like, “You know I think I got to go home,” and I remember him grabbing my hand and throwing me back on the bed. At that point, I just kind of froze and didn’t know what else to do. I just remember staring at the time and it was just the longest experience ever. There was hitting. I couldn’t breathe a lot of the time. I would say “ow” and he just did not care. He would force me to call him certain names and it just got to a certain point. (Participant #4, Student)



    He just kept taking all of my clothes off and there was this panic of needing to figure out how to move. I don’t know what to do. I started trying to move my fingers. Nothing. I can’t move. I’m basically naked at this point. He finally asked me, “Should I pull out a condom?” I thought it’s now or never. I remember just being able to make a weird grunting nose and he’s like, “What is that? Yes or no?,” and I was able to tilt my head maybe kind of sideways. (Participant #6, Student)



    Then I remember him taking everything except my underwear off. I was more in shock of what was happening than anything. I didn’t want anything to go past fully-clothed cuddling, I had made that clear, verbally, multiple times before I invited him into my room. Then he said, “Can I put my hand in your pants?” and I panicked and said, “No it’s okay, I haven’t shaved.” I had shaved, but I didn’t want to be like, “No don’t,” because he didn’t stop asking for it when I told him I didn’t want to kiss him. He didn’t listen to me before so why would he listen now, I just wanted him off me but I was frozen. (Participant #9, Student)


    The perpetrator helped me up at the time, but as he was helping me up, he insisted on carrying me. Basically in that time period, he put his hands all over my crotch. I remember feeling super uncomfortable, but not able to get the words out. (Participant #13, Student)



    At that point in my life, I didn’t fight or kick back. I was just verbally saying “no” because I was in a house full of frat brothers. I wasn’t going to pick a fight or struggle or freak out because I was just paralyzed with fear. (Participant #17, Alumnus)



    My mouth would move and say “no,” but physically, I was very paralyzed in a lot of situations because I was just so scared. I started distancing myself a lot. (Participant #17, Alumnus)



    I feel like I’ve heard so many people say, oh he didn’t physically hold me down or restrain me in any way. But it’s like, you don’t have to be physically restrained in order to be assaulted. Also, people ask, "Oh well did you say 'no?' Did you tell him to stop?" When you’re in that situation, you just shut down because you know that’s how you’re going to survive and get through it. That’s how I felt. If I fought back…he’s a 200 pound guy who’s all muscle…and I knew if I fought back, there’s no winning. And I couldn’t fight back. He was choking me. I just shut down. I couldn’t move my body. I tried saying “no,” but I couldn’t even get the words out. It was very obvious to him that it was not consensual because I was crying. Typically when people are crying, that means they’re not enjoying having sex. It’s no longer sex. It’s rape at that point.  Three months later, I messaged him saying, “You know that was rape, right?” And he said, “Yes I’m so sorry.” So he admitted to it. He knew what he was doing. That was the end of that. (Participant #20, Alumnus)



    We were sitting on my bed just talking. We finished the tub of ice cream and then we kissed a little bit, but it was just relaxed and chill. I was getting really tired so I was like, “I’m going to go to bed.” He was like, “Okay, I’m going to use the restroom.” I was like, “Okay, for sure.” I’m a very trusting person. It’s just in my nature. I always give people the benefit of the doubt. He went to the bathroom and I heard the bathroom door and I just assumed it was the front door. I fell asleep because I just fall asleep really fast. He came back in my room and I was asleep. I woke up and there was someone on top of me. I didn’t really know what to do. I just kind of shut my eyes and pretended it didn’t happen. I didn’t know what to do. (Participant #26, Student)



    I fall asleep. I’d say a couple hours later, I’m still really drunk, but I started waking up feeling a touch on me. I was on his bed and he was sleeping next to me, against me. Then I started feeling his hands creep up. His hands started creeping up to my breasts. I would feel his fingers start to go underneath my bra. I’m just frozen. I’m still like, oh I’m dreaming. I started feeling his hands reach into the waist of my jeans. Him reaching in and then he started touching me down there and inserting his finger. I was frozen the entire time. (Participant #27, Student)



    I was just hanging out at the party with my friends and he was there. Since we met before, we were kind of just talking as friends. The next part that I actually remember is him pushing me against the wall and kissing me and putting his hand inside me. I couldn’t move because I was so afraid. (Participant #29, Student)



    I wanted to study with him because we had mutual friends. I genuinely wanted to study with him. We went to his dorm and I thought his roommates would be there, but they weren’t. I was like, “Alright, let’s study,” and he was like, “Oh no, let’s watch this movie.” I was like, “Okay, whatever.” We were watching this movie and then he made some joke about if he was right about something, then he would get to kiss me on the cheek. I was like, oh no he wants something more than to study. I didn’t want to embarrass him or myself so I just kind of got around what he was saying. This was two years ago. I don’t remember exactly what happened. I blocked parts of it out of my memory, you know? Basically, he would just constantly ask me to do things for him sexually and I’d be like, “No, not today…no…no no no.” Finally, I didn’t say, “Okay,” I just stopped saying “no” pretty much. He raped me. I remember looking at his wall and just trying to focus on the wall and being like, “What?” There’s fight or flight response, but there’s also freeze. I totally just froze and I was just like, I don’t want to make it worse. I just froze. (Participant #30, Student)


    I’ve had guy friends watch a movie with me and then press their boners into me or put their hand up my shirt…just ambush me with a kiss and shove their tongue in my mouth. I would just freeze. I wouldn’t do anything. I would just kind of [say], “Uh…I have to go…sorry.” (Participant #33, Alumnus)



    When I’m at work as a hostess, that’s the job I have now, these old guys will say weird shit to me. They’ll grab me at the bar. I’ll just freeze. I don’t do anything. I’ll call people out for other things, but when I’m being assaulted, I’m just like, I deserve this somehow. It’s my fault. I wasn’t careful enough. (Participant #33, Alumnus)



    We were laying on the couch and making out. Clothes started coming off. I wanted to keep my pants on, but he was pretty insistent. I finally gave in and let him take my pants off. Then he asked me, “Do you wanna fuck?” I clearly remember thinking that that was the craziest thing I had ever heard and saying “no.” He put on a condom and then started trying to have sex with me. I was so confused and trying to figure out what to do. My brain was not working and I was frozen. I tried to give him a blowjob to distract him. It did not work. I tried just moving every time he tried to enter my vagina, but then he just tried to enter my asshole. It was somewhat painful because he did not have any lube. I finally gave up and decided if I just laid there and played dead, he would eventually get bored and give up. This eventually worked. He finally was done and fell asleep on the couch. (Participant #35, Student)



    I could have just gotten up and gone into the other room when he started assaulting me. I could have called out to my friends in the other room who were definitely within earshot. I could have done something. Anything. But I didn’t. (Participant #35, Student)
    The next [incident] I had was during an internship at a small company the summer between my first and second year at Cal Poly. It was just me and a machinist working in the secluded machine shop. The machinist was maybe 55. He had kids who were older than me. When I first started, I was slightly uncomfortable with the backgrounds on the three different computers in the room, as they were all different pictures of models with sultry looks. I ignored this. Then one day, he started making lewd comments about my body. I would sometimes sit backwards on a chair. He told me that I should always sit like that because it made my butt look good. I stopped sitting like that because I did not like the idea of him checking out my butt. A week later, he asked why I did not sit like that anymore and said I should sit like that again. I still did not sit backwards on the chair anymore, but he let the issue go. Later he got even creepier. He plucked some of my leg and eyebrow hairs with a pair of tweezers and kept them in a bag. I was frozen when this happened. I wished I could have done something. Even just getting up and going to the bathroom. But I didn’t. It was just like last time where there are so many things I could have done. But I didn’t. Again. Luckily, I was done with the internship two weeks later. But those two weeks were stressful. I was terrified he was going to do something else to me. (Participant #35, Student)



    I had said, “I don’t want to have sex with you,” very clearly and openly and yet he still did it. For a while after all of this happened, I wondered why didn’t I do something? But he was a lot stronger than me and I think I was just terrified. (Participant #42, Student)
    Then at that point, he was like, “We’re going to do anal.” I was like, “Um no we’re not. I’m not doing that.” I honestly sometimes convince myself that I didn’t say “no,” but I know I said “no” and my body language [said] “no.” He’s a bigger guy so he literally picked me up and flipped me around and basically anally raped me. At that point, I did freeze. I was like, why did I not say anything? Why did I not run? I literally just sat there. I feel like I was out of it. And then he kept asking me to do other things. At that point, I just kept going through the motions. Then I heard a laughter and I was like, “What?” There was somebody in the back of the car…his friend, who was also my cousin’s ex-boyfriend. I was even more panicked now. I was really freaked out that they had been video-taping it or something. He said he didn’t video-tape it and I literally continued having sex with him even though I knew someone was in the car now too. I didn’t know what to do. I literally just froze. As soon as they were done, I literally just grabbed my clothes and got out of the car and they drove away. (Participant #46, Student)



    For him to go inside of me, was very shocking and it doesn’t seem like it’s that big of a deal, but I was already uncomfortable to begin with and so I pretty much froze. (Participant #47, Alumnus)



    Then during that time, I think he was pulling down my pants and starting to finger me and everything. I was like, I don’t know what to do. I honestly was mentally preparing myself that I was going to be raped that night. I don’t know. I felt like I couldn’t do anything. I felt so frozen in my own body, but I got out of it. He got up and then he started to take off his pants. He was really intentionally going to have sex and I was like, oh no, I need to run. I need to do something right now. I rolled out of his bed and I just literally ran out the door. (Participant #51, Student)



    ​All the study abroad kids were there. There was drinking alcohol and all of that stuff involved. I decided to spend the night at my friend’s house on the couch because I wasn’t feeling safe in my current living situation. I had just moved there and one of the guys in my house had made me feel uncomfortable so I felt like that was the safest space for me. I was sleeping on his couch and I got woken up out of my sleep probably around 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning…with this really weird feeling. I wasn’t really sure what it was at first. I think my body was trying to ignore what was happening. Basically I woke up and this guy that was in the program with me was inside of me. I was totally asleep and he had pulled my pants down when I was passed out and started having sex with me. I did what my therapist described as fawning, where I just kind of freaked out and tensed up and just let it all happen. I wasn’t really sure if I should say something…if it was going to aggravate him…or if I said something, maybe that would stop it. I just wasn’t sure so I let it all happen. (Participant #53, Alumnus)



    That one was harder to deal with just because I mean it’s not like sexual battery...obviously it’s still very serious and everything like that...but actually being raped was different for me just because I knew it had happened. I was blacked out. All I remember is him climbing on top of me and all of that. I don’t know if it was a combination of just being super crossed and not being in control of my body whatsoever, but I was just paralyzed at that point. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t do anything. (Participant #54, Alumnus)    



  19. COERCION

    ​​

    So I sit down with her and she starts telling me, “Hey, bad shit is happening in my life right now, can you just stay [because] I need a person to talk to?” So I sit there, comfort her, talk to her, I’m hugging her and cuddling her. She tries to make out with me and I say, “Nah I’m not feeling that right now.” She tries to grope me and I say, “No not right now.” But even after I say “no,” she stops for 30 seconds and comes back over and over again. I have to shut it down. Eventually, I’m starting to feel super pressured and coerced so I just say, “Fuck it. Yes, why not? Let’s get this over with so I can just move past it.” The whole time I’m telling her, “Hey I don’t really want to do this.” (Participant #1, Student)


    Then it’s three in the morning and he starts trying to rub his dick on the outside of my vagina. I’m like “no” and then he stops and then he does it again and I’m like, “What are you doing?,” and then he stops and then he does it again. I can only say "no" for so many times before I run out of energy, especially at three in the morning. I didn’t say “fine” or anything…I just stopped asking what he was doing/telling him to stop. (Participant #3, Student)
     

    Coercion…asking over and over again is not “yes.” If someone said “no” once, don’t try it again within the same hour. Stupid. (Participant #3, Student)
     

    One night he was having trouble getting off while I was doing [oral] to him. I didn't really want to be doing it then in the first place, so I suggested we just stop and try again another day. He insisted we keep going so even though I was uncomfortable with it, I really wanted him to just leave my dorm already so I decided the easiest way to get him to do that was to make him cum as soon as possible. (Participant #5, Student)
     

    That was the point when I was like, oh…I don’t really have any say in this. I was like, you know what, I just need to kiss him because he’ll stop trying to kiss me. I didn’t want to, but I thought he would get what he wanted and leave me alone. I kissed him and I was like, okay, whatever, it’s going to stop now. (Participant #9, Student)
     

    Then, I had a boyfriend for a year and a half in high school and he would guilt me into doing sexual things. I technically lost my virginity to him, but it was never really something I wanted to do. It was always something like, “Well if you love me, you should do this.” I was put in a lot of really uncomfortable positions. I also think that is sexual assault. (Participant #16, Student)
     

    On our fifth or sixth date, I remember he came over and we were just going to watch a movie on the couch. At the time, I didn’t think too much into it. He was like, “No…I want to be down in your room. Your couch is going to hurt my back.” He sort of forced me into my room. We watched the movie. Then the movie ended and I didn’t realize that he had taken his pants off. At the time I was like, whatever it’s fine. It doesn’t mean anything. We started making out. Then he kept trying to take my pants off and I said “no.” It just kept happening. He would reach his hand in, I would pull it out. He was on top of me and out of the Air Force and just a lot bigger. At one point, he just stuck his dick in my mouth. I figured, okay maybe if I just do this, nothing worse will happen. (Participant #18, Student)
     

    We had hung out before at night and it wasn’t an issue before. We went to his room and his bed and his couch were in an L-shape where the corners touch. He laid down on his bed and I was sitting on his couch and we were just talking. Everything was fine and then he tried to kiss me. I was like, “Uh…no what are you doing?” I pulled away and I was just like, “no.” Then we kept talking and then he tried to do it again. I did the same thing. Pulled away and said, “no.” That happened five more times and then for a total of seven times. When we were on the couch, I was kind of sitting/laying and he grabbed my arm and pulled me into his bed. It wasn’t violent/forceful, but I wasn’t even in a position to push back. I did not have a choice. He pulled me into his bed and then he immediately upon doing so, was touching me. His hands were on me. All of this. At one point, he was like, “Can I touch your butt?” and his hand was already on my butt. I was like, “Uh…sure?” What is this choice? Once I’m in his bed, he’s still trying to kiss me and I’m like “no.” When I was on the couch, I was just like “no”…just said the word “no,” moved away. But once I’m in his bed, I was like, okay this isn’t getting across. (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    I was like, “Um okay. Well, do you have condoms?” and he was like, “Um why would we need condoms?” I was like, “Uh because why wouldn’t we?” During training, there was a group of us women in a training session who were talking about birth control. This was back in September before school started. He just happened to be there and overhear this. He found out that I have an IUD so then he was like, “Well you have an IUD. Why would we need to use condoms?” Because you don’t just use condoms just for birth control, like hello? He got super angry at me, pushed me down into the bed, all this stuff, and was like, “You have to leave right now,” and was just so angry and violent about this thing. A week later, he was like, “Let’s have sex,” and did not use a condom. I consider that instance to be rape. I did not agree to that. I laid there and cried. (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    There’s been multiple. There were four occurrences in high school and then I’ve had one experience of rape and that was when I was in college. It was the summer going into my junior year of college. There have been two other sexual assaults after that experience as well. There have been many. A lot of them…all of them were all kind of like, I would say “no” and my “no” was disregarded and not taken seriously and then was pushed with coercion and persuasion and all of the above to get me to say “yes” essentially. (Participant #23, Student)
     

    Specifically with my case of rape, it was an ex-boyfriend. […] Basically, we were hanging out and just kind of talking and catching up on life. He had kissed me and I kissed him back. I was like, okay whatever. That was fine. We were holding hands, talking about stuff. He was like, “Do you want to have sex?” I was like, “No, no I don’t.” He asked me why. First of all, you don’t need a response, but I was just like, “No, it’s just too intimate for me right now and it’s not what I’m here for. I don’t want to.” He just kept pestering me like, “Why not? Why not? But we’ve had sex before.” (Participant #23, Student)
     

    He was the first person I ever had sex with too so there was also a lot of history. He felt entitled I think. Basically to get him off my back, I was like, “I’ll give you head, but I don’t want to have sex with you,” just to make you stop bugging me. That in itself is just sad. I’ll just get it over with. He stopped me in the middle of giving him head and he goes, “What’s the difference between this and you having sex with me?” I was like, “Um…sex is way more intimate.” He pulled me up by my shirt and was like, “Do you still love me?” I just kind of stopped and was just like, whoa what? What is going on here? I was like, “No…no I don’t.” He was really shocked by that, which I find funny. Before I had answered, he’s like, “How’s that for intimate?” I was like, “I’m sorry what?” I was already feeling very caught off guard, very uncomfortable. I was not a fan of the situation. I just remember sitting there and just being like, I really want this to stop. I just want to go home. I was just like, “I’m kind of done with this.” He was like, “But why?” He just kept pestering and it wasn’t a situation that I could leave necessarily. Anyway, I kind of just gave up. It’s hard because I kind of blamed myself for that for a long time too, but I shouldn’t have had to be defending myself that much to say “no.” I said “no” probably twenty times. How many times do I have to say “no” to be convincing enough for you to take me seriously? Even talking about it, I’m just nauseous thinking about the experience. He ended up having sex with me. By that I mean, I was literally sitting there like, nope. Personally for me, sex is only enjoyable if the other person is also enjoying it and I was completely no expression, no nothing. I was like, just get it over with, whatever. Very dehumanizing. (Participant #23, Student)
     

    He came in the kitchen after me and I was near the sink, pouring water into glasses like a normal human. He came over and bent me over the sink. He pushed me over, not hard, but enough and reached under my dress and started to pull my underwear down. I was like, “Um excuse me? What are you doing?” He was like, “C’mon c’mon.” I was like, “No, my roommates are home. Also, I said ‘no,’ stop.” I moved him away. (Participant #24, Alumnus)


    They were both very strong and both of them had been drinking both times. I remember laying there thinking, okay I’m home alone, what’s the best strategy for me? Both times, my conclusion was this sucks really bad, but since I’m home alone, this is just what I have to do. (Participant #25, Alumnus)
     

    It’s just frustrating because I worked for a non-profit before as well and I was sexually harassed. It was like, you vote for me and I’ll vote for you, but you need to sleep with me for your vote, kind of thing. It was for the chancellor’s office for California community colleges. (Participant #31, Student)
     

    I don’t even think my consideration for sex at all was taken into account because it was just an assumed, she wants this, I’m making her do this. If she doesn’t, I’m going to punch a wall. I’m going to scream at her. It was the classic abuse story. (Participant #33, Alumnus)
     

    Sexually, there was a point where I could tell that he was getting upset with how the relationship was going and that he could sense that it was ending. To appease him, I was like, “Hey, what if we start kind of messing around and not going all the way to sex?” When you’re the one that brings it up, you struggle with the idea that it’s your fault because you brought it up. I remember getting to the day that we had planned. It was planned and I was like oh, this was a bad idea. I was sitting on the couch and he was like, “How about you try going down on me?” I was like, “I don’t want to.” He was like, “No, c’mon, it’ll be fine. Just try it.” So I did and panicked within the first thirty seconds. I’ve had depression and panic disorder since I was nine. It was like, cool this is going to happen. He’s like, “No you’re fine. Just keep going.” I remember it vividly. Then after everything, he got his fun out of it and I was sitting there crying. He was like, “I’ll never make you do that again.” (Participant #37, Student)
     

    There was a point in time where I would tell him that I didn’t want to that day…that I didn’t want to have sex or do any of that. Unless I just flat out said the word “no,” he decided that it would be fun to try and convince me, which was basically the last six months of that relationship. Just him trying to convince me 1) to stay and 2) to do what he wanted. (Participant #37, Student)
     

    I had told him I wasn’t really ready to do anything with him. He pretty much begged me to give him a try and kiss him. I started kissing him and then he was pretty much feeling me up and then went straight underneath my underwear and started fingering me. At that point, he had already said that he had liked me and I had told him I don’t really feel comfortable with kissing you. This and that. So he basically coerced me into making out with him because he had to ask me three times in order for me to do it. (Participant #47, Alumnus)
     

    When you hear about sexual assault, you mostly hear about rape or people being violently attacked. He didn’t violently attack me. He really liked me and if you were to talk to him, he’d be like, “I wouldn’t have done that if she had any idea she didn’t want it.” It’s one of those gray areas. I just wish that he had listened to me to begin with, that I didn’t want to kiss him. That I wasn’t even there yet. […] It was a lot of coercion and just not listening to me, not looking at my body language. He had a very clear agenda and he was just working his way through it. (Participant #47, Alumnus)
     

    I was seated on one of the beds with my perpetrator, who I had liked at the time, but had only ever talked to over text. We started making out, which I was fine with. Unfortunately, while that was happening his roommates filtered everyone out of the room and turned the lights off. Once I realized we were alone, I started getting anxious. He grabbed my wrist and tried putting my hand down his pants. I said “No, I don’t want to, we just met” and he responded “Come on its college, its fine just do it please.” This type of back and forth conversation went on for a little, and then he got tired of it, pinning me down to the bed by my wrists. He laid on top of me, kissing my neck and putting one hand down my pants. My phone happened to be in my hand that he wasn’t pinning down, so I was able to text my roommate who was still in the building. I texted her “HELP” and she came running into the room. (Participant #48, Student)
     

    I met my assaulter at a frat party...I was there with female friends. I talked to him at the party. When my friends and I left, he followed us back to our dorm. He insisted on coming into my dorm room. I was a little hesitant, but honestly thought it would be harmless. He got into my bed and we did kiss for a while. He attempted to have sex with me. I pushed him away and said “no.” He repeatedly tried and eventfully I was able to prevent him. (Participant #50, Alumnus)
     

    I was sick one day in my room and I told him. He called me and was like, “I’m outside your door. I have tea for you.” I was sick so I let him in because what are you supposed to do if some guy (your friend) is there with tea?  I didn’t think anything of it so I let him in and drank some of his tea. I thought we were going to study. I kept trying to study. He climbed into my bed. I was like, “What are you doing in my bed? Why are you up there?” He’s like, “Come up here.” I brought my binder and went up there and tried to study. He made out with me and was trying to do stuff and I didn’t want to do it. I obviously wasn’t in the mood. I thought I made that pretty clear, by turning my face away and reminding him that we needed to study. I felt almost guilty because I let him in and I felt like I had led him on and I needed to at least hook up with him for a little to make him feel better, which sounds really bad. It escalated and I remember…he didn’t ask…but he stuck his penis in me. At first, I didn’t know what it was. I thought maybe it was his finger. I was like, “What are you doing?!” and I freaked out. He was like, “This is what you want, isn’t it?” kind of being misleading almost and controlling, thinking that’s what I wanted from him. I straight up yelled at him, “No I don’t want that. I never said ‘yes’ to this. You have to ask.” He kept fighting me saying, “Why are you acting like this? I know this is what you’ve been wanting for weeks.” I was like, “no.” I got up. I got down from my bed and literally left my room. (Participant #58, Student)
     

    I went into a separate room with the intentions to just go to sleep but he followed. I remember saying that I wanted to go to sleep and he just seemed to have ignored it because he kept touching me and sliding his hand up my thigh even though I repeatedly pushed it away. Before I knew it, he got more aggressive so I went with the flow because I was scared how he would respond to my rejection. He never really asked for consent, but I never really said “no,” not that it justifies the situation. I think I was just in a place of shock and fear that I was too scared to say “no.” So I did things that I wasn’t really comfortable with even though I said “Slow down” or “Stop.” It didn’t get across through his head. We didn’t have sex even though he kept pushing for it, which is why we did do other things that I didn’t want to do. (Participant #61, Student)


    I hope with this project, everyone understands that coercion is not consent. (Participant #61, Student)
     
        

  20. SAFER

    ​​​   

    So I went to the police and that was shitty. Then I went to Safer and that was kind of pointless. (Participant #3, Student)
     

    I feel like Safer is okay and they try. They don’t have enough resources. (Participant #3, Student)
     

    I’ve been able to talk to a few of my professors about it and they’re so much more there for you and they know you want to keep things confidential whereas I would never feel comfortable talking to Safer or the Title IX office or anything like that because of past experiences that people have had. (Participant #8, Student)
     

    Safer was great. I really love Safer. Kara at Safer, my go-to lady, she’s great. I don’t know what I would have done without her. (Participant #9, Student)
     

    I knew multiple people in Safer so after, when I was recovering (which I feel like I still am), I would reach out to one of my friends who was a representative. (Participant #10, Student)
     

    At first, it was all about resources. I did everything that I was told to do. I reached out to Safer. I reached out to my advisor. I went to counseling. […] The resources I went to, a lot of it was just waiting and sympathizing. (Participant #13, Student)
     

    Safer was always there for me. (Participant #13, Student)
     

    We have Safer and that’s great, but they can only do so much. (Participant #15, Student)
     

    Safer gave me this thumb drive of resources and that was the first thing I saw was those sort of changes in sexual behavior. I don’t think I’ve ever needed to read something so much in my life. (Participant #18, Student)
     

    But I remember asking (and I’m a loud person, I’ve got a big voice), I’ve never heard my voice be that small before. When I asked, “Is this where you make an appointment for Safer?” It was just this…wow I didn’t even realize how much this has affected me as a person. (Participant #18, Student)
     

    I navigate it in the way that I found the most helpful resource. When I say fuck Cal Poly, I do not mean Cal Poly counseling services. I love them. Them and Safer, I love them. Using the actual helpful resources like Cal Poly counseling and Safer. (Participant #19, Student)
     

    I went to Safer the year that I was assaulted about five months after because I really hadn’t processed anything. I hadn’t told anyone and I went to Safer and they told me that unless I wanted to report it to Title IX and go through that whole process, that they really couldn’t do anything for me other than telling me to go to therapy. It kind of hurt. I didn’t want to go back to Safer because of how they treated me. They just kind of told me, sorry we can’t do anything unless you want to go through the process of Title IX and I didn’t. (Participant #20, Alumnus)
     

    I was like, “I tried to go to Safer today, but I’m going to go tomorrow. I’m getting help.” He was like, “Okay we’ll talk tomorrow again.” I was like, “Okay sure, whatever.” The next day, Tuesday, I go to Safer. I get to their doorway and he’s fucking sitting on their couch. I freaked the fuck out and immediately walk away. I literally just walked outside into the UU and was just like, “What the fuck? What the fuck? What the fuck?” That’s all I could say. […]  I was like, “Well I didn’t get to go to Safer today, but I’m sure you know because I’m sure you saw me in the doorway.” He’s like, “Okay we have to go talk in a public place.” So we go to outside the UU above Yo-Cray [Yogurt Creations]. He’s like, “I did nothing wrong and I’m here to defend myself now.” A complete 180 from the day before and I just bawl by eyes out. He’s like, “I talked to all these people and they said that I did nothing wrong.” (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    I’m very proud of and happy about Safer existing on campus. (Participant #23, Student)
     

    She was like, “Go to Safer, go to Safer.” She wanted me to report and I felt super pressured. I was like, “Mom, calm the f*** down, go away.” I was like, “I need you to stop.” She was like, “What if he does this to someone else and you could’ve stopped him by reporting it?” It’s a fair point and it might’ve just been a scare tactic she was trying to use to get me to do what she thought was right about the situation. She’s my mom and she has the best intentions, but I still was like, oh my god calm down. I finally went to Safer just to shut her up. I did not want to go, but I was like, fine. I went a week or two after it happened. It was a while afterwards because I was procrastinating it so much. I was like, “Fine I’ll go.” It was at that Safer meeting that someone was like, “Yeah so this was sexual assault. That’s what this was.”  I was like, “No it wasn’t.” She was like, “Yeah it was. Actually, yeah.” I literally remember the exact moment she told me it was [sexual assault] because I was like, I’m that 1 in 5. That’s me. God damnit. The label on it made me so upset. Getting that label, it’s almost like it happened again. (Participant #24, Alumnus)
     

    I also went to Safer and they were really good. (Participant #26, Student)
     

    I tried getting involved in Safer and it wasn’t an unpleasant experience. I tried to make myself an appointment, but I could never bring myself to actually go to them. (Participant #29, Student)
     

    I tried to find healing by being a Safer volunteer. I haven’t really been as involved in that just because I don’t really know how beneficial it is. (Participant #29, Student)
     

    I went to Safer. I went to Title IX. I talked to them. I couldn’t go through with all of the repeating what happened. They took forever and so I just wanted to get it over with, but it wasn’t like that. (Participant #30, Student)
     

    When I went into Safer, I stood outside their door, trying to get the nerve to go in. By the time I went in, I was sobbing. There were people on the couch staring at me. The person behind the desk was like, “Oh, can I help you?” I was like, “I don’t know,”…do what you’re supposed to do. I went to see someone for a different day and then the counselor at Safer was like, “Oh you should go see a counselor off campus.” I was like, “Great thanks.” That’s it. (Participant #30, Student)
     

    Mainly, I’m not feeling supported through my school. I especially feel resentment towards Safer. All of these people, your WOW leaders, will tell you to go to Safer if you need to and then you go…or at least I went (I went actually twice) [because] I went through another incident and they told me the same thing: “Oh, go see a counselor off campus. You can’t repeatedly go see this counselor [on campus].” You can see them a couple times and then you’re done. I just have so much resentment towards Safer and the people saying that it’s a good resource must not need to go there because they don’t know that it’s not. (Participant #30, Student)
     

    I remember one time I went to Safer and I was like, “Hey this U.P.D. guy sexually harassed me in front of my friend,” which is another thing that happened. She’s like, “Yeah that’s not the first time we’ve heard that about that officer.” (Participant #33, Alumnus)
     

    Safer was actually really great. They didn’t pressure at all to go through with an investigation. It was great that they provided options to us and said, “You guys can choose whatever you want to do as long as you’re okay with what you’re doing.” (Participant #39, Alumnus)
     

    I think that working at Safer really helps me because I have a great support system built in. (Participant #41, Student)
     

    I’d say now being in the area of working at Safer, I have so many people around me to support me and it’s a lot easier to navigate because I’m doing a lot of educational outreach to people and actually trying to change the culture, which is frustrating at times. I feel like working at a service, advocacy [center], that’s probably how I navigate it. I don’t think I’d be at Cal Poly if it wasn’t for Safer. (Participant #41, Student)
     

    I think Safer was an incredible resource for me. I used our advocate, Kara. She’s now our director. She doesn’t do as much advocacy anymore. We have a full-time advocate, Shelby, who’s also amazing. Kara was there for me at every step of the way. Now that I work there and I know our protocol, I’m like, oh my god. She did way more for me than she should have. She does that with everyone. She’s just amazing. I think Safer was the best service I used. (Participant #41, Student)
     

    I also found help through Safer and RISE. Safer was the first resource that I went to so they’ve been an advocate for me since the beginning. They came to all of my meetings with Title IX. They were in the room when I told my story and have helped me process emails from the Title IX coordinator and really helped me take my next steps in the case. (Participant #43, Student)
     

    I know a lot of survivors who did get support from RISE or Safer or a non-profit or a healing center, but for me, I started working at Safer before I knew what happened to me. Once you work there, it’s weird to turn to them and be like, “Hey, I need therapy for X, Y, and Z,” because you’re working there. (Participant #46, Student)
     

    I didn’t really do any resources, but right after I was like, you know what, I’m going to do the Safer advocacy training because even if I can’t really change what happened to me, I can still get some good out of it by being knowledgeable about how to help other people. (Participant #47, Alumnus)
     

    After the incident, about a year later, I went into Safer asking what my options were. Unfortunately because I didn’t have “evidence,” I was told that reporting would be a lot of emotional stress for me, and probably would not result in expulsion or a suspension. (Participant #48, Student)
     

    I did try to go to Safer though to talk. I didn’t feel welcomed honestly. I didn’t have a welcoming experience. I kind of got the impression that they prioritize other people’s experiences more than mine just because I wasn’t sure of what exactly happened. (Participant #52, Student)
     

    I signed up for Safer Advocacy Training and that’s when I got involved with Safer. I did that and then started working there the next fall. I did RISE training that fall. For me, it was just like, I’m not going to sit here and [feel] shitty. I’m going to do something about it. That was when I started getting really involved and then I just started living and breathing gender-based violence prevention work. (Participant #54, Alumnus)
     

    Being a survivor at Cal Poly…yes, I know that I’m not alone and yes, we have Safer. We have all these resources, but to what extent did that really help me at the time when I needed it? (Participant #55, Student)
     

    Safer is there, but there’s only so much Safer can do and I’m sure with the budget that Safer has, they can’t do shit. (Participant #57, Student)
     
        
  21. COUNSELING SERVICES




    I wish we had so much more funding for mental health on campus...we have a couple therapists and we mostly put people in group therapy. If you miss group therapy (if you miss two),  they’ll kick you out. (Participant #3, Student)



    There’s a survivors group on campus. The survivors group at the health center is full of people who support me. (Participant #9, Student)



    I think group [therapy] has been number one in feeling like a safe place for me because it’s really just made up people who understand being a survivor, and are there to talk about it. It also doesn’t feel like you’re burdening anyone because everyone is benefitting equally. (Participant #9, Student)



    I went to Counseling Services to get the Plan B with her. It was weird when I walked in. I was willing to tell them what happened, but when I walked up, they were questioning why I was there. I was like, “Oh can I just pick up Plan B for a friend?” They were like, “Okay yeah let me show you to the back.” They brought me around the back. The lady was like, “Oh it’s really nice of you to get it.” I didn’t want it to be a whole ordeal. They weren’t counselors at the front desk. I would’ve talked to someone if they led me to that, but that wasn’t really available. They were kind of confused. (Participant #10, Student)



    At first, it was all about resources. I did everything that I was told to do. I reached out to Safer. I reached out to my advisor. I went to counseling. […] The resources I went to, a lot of it was just waiting and sympathizing. (Participant #13, Student)



    I’ve been in the counseling services and they’ve helped me a lot and directed me towards other counselors outside of school that can be helpful to me. (Participant #14, Student)



    When I first decided that what was happening to me wasn’t okay, with physically seeing all the bruises, I went to Cal Poly counseling and got a counselor and I utilized that as long as I could. [...] She was wonderful. She helped me identify that I actually have PTSD, which is why I would react so terribly to certain things that don’t make sense at all to a normal person. She helped me as long as she could. I maxed out all of my allotted counseling for a student. (Participant #17, Alumnus)



    I navigate it in the way that I found the most helpful resource. When I say fuck Cal Poly, I do not mean Cal Poly counseling services. I love them. Them and Safer, I love them. Using the actual helpful resources like Cal Poly counseling and Safer. (Participant #19, Student)



    I decided to go to group therapy, which was the only thing at Cal Poly that was a positive thing in terms of rape culture for me. (Participant #20, Alumnus)



    Group therapy at Cal Poly was the biggest support system not only while I was at Cal Poly, but after I graduated. I’m hosting a peer-led support group for people who are at Cal Poly and graduates because sometimes it just doesn’t work for people’s schedules to go to the group therapy at Cal Poly or they graduated and they don’t have support. (Participant #20, Alumnus)



    I see a therapist at Cal Poly counseling and he’s definitely helped me process a lot of this. I’m looking into survivors’ group. I think that will be helpful. (Participant #23, Student)



    I used counseling services once and I really appreciate it, but it’s like, you only get five a quarter. That’s bullshit. I’m paying how much in tuition and you’re going to spend 86,000 dollars on Milo [Yiannopoulos] to come, but you’re not going to give us more services? For me, I’ve seen a therapist since third grade off and on, but when I do go, it’s every week. So if I want to utilize my on campus ones, you guys need to hire more counselors. You guys need to give us more than five times, especially if we need to see them once a week. At least ten, get us through the quarter and that’s fine. (Participant #31, Student)



    I’ve sought help here on campus through the counseling center. That has probably been the biggest help…that place. […] It was the first time where I felt like I was in a safe place where I could open up without worrying that people were going to judge, that someone was going to hear and take it back to someone I didn’t want knowing about it. (Participant #32, Student)



    My mom found a private therapist because god knows the health center can’t do fucking shit. You have to be like, “I’m going to kill myself after this fucking class,” or they don’t do shit. (Participant #33, Alumnus)



    [My WOW leader] was really wonderful and he didn’t force me, he basically walked me to the counseling center and was like, “You need to talk to someone. If you’re not ready, you don’t have to go, but I really think that you should talk to someone.” I didn’t have an appointment so we walked in and there was a crisis counselor. The one thing about that is I did have to say…I don’t know if I was really at risk for committing suicide, but I felt some of that and in order to have access to that crisis counselor, I had to basically admit that. Saying “yes” to the question “Are you endangering yourself or others?” is one of the criteria that will get you into a crisis counselor. There are certain things that you have to be experiencing. That was a little weird for me. (Participant #34, Alumnus)



    Then they referred me to come to the counseling center and I went for regular sessions, which I don’t know if that’s typical for Cal Poly counseling. I got to see...she’s not there anymore, but she was amazing. She was this really sweet lady with a bob and she was truly an amazing counselor and I saw her for a whole year, once a week or every other week. I’m under the impression that I was really lucky because they don’t typically offer sustained counseling on an individual basis, but I am so lucky that I got to work with her because she really was the stepping stone to the next thing that I did need. (Participant #34, Alumnus)



    It helps going to individual counseling just to have a place to talk about everything that has happened and going to the survivors’ group to have a community of people who can understand and empathize and know exactly what it feels like. Even though their experiences are different, it’s really validating having that because it makes it better than dealing with people who don’t understand. (Participant #35, Student)



    Also, the amount of time I spend going to counseling, whether it’s individual or group, that takes three hours out of my week. That also doesn’t include the time after that I kind of need to decompress from that, which sometimes I don’t get. (Participant #35, Student)



    Group [therapy] has just been so amazing. I’ve become really good friends with a lot of the girls in group from last quarter and a lot of those same girls are in my group this quarter. It’s just really nice. I haven’t utilized Safer or anything, I just go to group every week. (Participant #42, Student)



    Finding group therapy for survivors was really good. It was really nice for me to have friends outside of marching band who didn’t know about my perpetrator or the situation from gossip and rumors. I’ve met a lot of really strong and amazing people through that. It just feels like we’re all on this journey of healing together. Group provided me a space where I didn’t have to elaborate on the ten different ways that I’m feeling. People just get it. (Participant #43, Student)



    For all the other survivors, I know school counseling and stuff like that is very helpful, but I do really want to recommend to investing in an outside counselor. It is expensive, but the amount of healing that you do without any medication, with a psychologist (not a psychiatrist, but with a psychologist), the amount of cognitive healing that you can do is so much more than a school counselor that’s impacted, that has a lot more clients, that can barely see you once every week. I see it all the time, especially with Cal Poly. A woman tries to go and see a counselor. You can’t see a counselor right away unless you’re suicidal. They don’t have enough counselors. They only have one Black counselor. They don’t have any colored counselors to help minority women. When you try to make an appointment, the counselor tries to sway you into going to group therapy, which group therapy is fine too, but it’s like, you need that one-on-one cognitive support. The help that I got that made me heal is something that someone would really have to be able to afford. I’m so blessed that my father really sacrificed everything he had to let me go to that therapist. (Participant #45, Student)



    Cal Poly is the most expensive state school in the state. Okay, so we look at this and we say, okay what are we paying for? The school counseling service that they preach at WOW week, that they advertise at WOW week, the school counseling service that they keep telling you to go see, it’s not what they advertise it as. It’s highly impacted. They don’t have enough counselors that are working there. If you’re a survivor, you really have to make a serious case for the counselor to say, “Okay, we’ll be willing to see you once a week since your situation is special.” It shouldn’t be that way. If you’re paying so much for school tuition, why should I have to wait two weeks to see a counselor? Why do I not have a colored counselor? Why is the one Black counselor only there part-time? I’m paying [roughly] $3,300 every quarter. Why can they not have a counseling service that is there for not only women, but for every other person? I’m not just saying this for survivors, but for a school that preaches so much about school counseling, their school counseling system is so broken. (Participant #45, Student)



    Why am I paying $11,000 and I can’t even see a counselor once a week unless I seriously make a case for it? (Participant #45, Student)



    I’m not trying to degrade any counselors at the school, but they have so many students to think about that I don’t even think that they can…how can you do your job effectively when you get thrown so many cases? If you’re a survivor and you just got raped, how is seeing a counselor once every two weeks even helpful? How is that going to help you? (Participant #45, Student)



    From there, I tried to go to counseling at Cal Poly and I got told I couldn’t be seen for three months. So I said, “Fuck you.” I literally looked at them and said, “Fuck you. You don’t know what I’m going through.” (Participant #52, Student)



    I thought about going to counseling, but I previously had been to the counseling resources at Cal Poly about a year prior to the incident and they did a really bad job addressing my needs at that time so I didn’t feel safe going to the on campus resources again. (Participant #53, Alumnus)



    This was in contrast to when I went to Cal Poly counseling services in the past. The Cal Poly counseling center made me do an initial interview on camera, which was really uncomfortable, but they said my session had to be recorded. I explained my situation to them, and they told me that I would have to go to group therapy before they could evaluate if I was eligible to talk to a counselor privately. For me, it’s important for me still to be able to talk to someone in a safe environment and Cal Poly didn’t allow me to do that. That’s why I didn’t even try to go to the counseling center when I decided I was ready to find support. (Participant #53, Alumnus)



    Lastly, I think Cal Poly should open up their resources and not be so stringent on who can receive therapy and who can’t. I don’t think one interview with a person can really tell you much about how much a person is going through. Everyone is different and will open up a different amount during their first session and you should leave it up to them to tell you whether they think they need extra help or not. After working up the courage to seek out help, the worst thing that can happen is to get turned away in a time of need. (Participant #53, Alumnus)

    When I needed to go to counseling, they were like, “Oh no, sorry. We have to put you on a waitlist.” I was on a waitlist for so long. I couldn’t afford to go see a therapist outside. I was honestly just dealing with it alone. (Participant #55, Student)
       

  22. LACK OF CONSEQUENCES FOR PERPETRATORS

     

    He went here and he graduated since then. I went and talked to Safer and then we talked to one of the deans. They asked, “What do you want to have happen?,” and I said, “I want him to take a consent class or something. I don’t know if he did this on purpose, but he needs to learn what consent is.” They said, “Okay,” and I didn’t hear anything since and he’s still here and he still graduated. (Participant #3, Student)


    There were seven other girls that had reported about him. Not a lot of the guys here are rapists, but it’s crazy to think about how the ones that are [rapists] do it over and over again...and how quiet it is. (Participant #4, Student)
     

    Even in our government right now, the whole Kavanaugh situation, this is why people don’t talk about it...because nothing really happens to the perpetrators. The same goes for this school. If we can’t even fix the issue at such a low key level of our society, then how do we expect things to change at higher levels like in the government? (Participant #8, Student)
     

    Shit isn’t being done toward these people [perpetrators] so they have that to reinforce them to keep continuing the bullshit or continuing to do some form of something like it (Participant #11, Student)
     

    I personally have decided that I don’t want to take it to any kind of legal [action]. Not because I don’t think he deserves it, because he does, I don’t have any problem with that. I don’t think it would actually happen. (Participant #15, Student)
     

    I hope that one day, if I do have kids and god forbid they go through this, that their world will not feel like this. That they’ll feel like, I can press charges and shit will get done because that’s how it should be. Rape should be as unthinkable as murder. It should be on that level and it’s not and I don’t get it. It’s deep systematic oppression of women that has been around for years and how are we supposed to change that? (Participant #15, Student)
     

    I’m like, “There’s something else, but I can’t tell you because you’re mandated reporters. I can’t tell you, but I’m going to Safer for it.” I was like, “I have an actual appointment at Safer tomorrow.” My boss’s boss [the learning community coordinator] was like, I’m going to go ahead and schedule this follow-up meeting with you for before you even go to Safer. The next day (Friday), I go to her office and I was like, “Hey I feel like this is all coming forward because my perpetrator retaliated against me.” I didn’t call him my perpetrator, but I explained the situation to her. I was like, “This is why this is coming forward and this is not fair at all.” She was like, “Well this meeting is about you.” She proceeds to talk and was like, “Oh but by the way, you told me enough that I have to send this to Title IX now.” I was like, “You’re kidding me.” She proceeds to tell me how my job doesn’t matter, how I’m an aerospace major and it doesn’t apply to me, how this will be such a small thing in five years. The worst thing was that she said, “And think about what you’re fighting for. Are you fighting for a situation that you wouldn’t even be comfortable in?” and laughed, referring to my perpetrator. She didn’t say his name, but what else does that mean? I was like, wow lovely. The whole point of the meeting was resign or be fired. Meanwhile, nothing is happening to him. (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    He [the perpetrator] had been a Yosemite R.A. the year before and was like, “I want to go back to Yosemite. I’m going to ask Hunter to move me back. I don’t want to be here.” Guess where he got moved. Yosemite. He literally got what he wanted. The rest of the year was horrible. (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    I still don’t know his name because I just don’t want to know his name. Then my friend reached out to him after a while and said, “Hey, that was not consensual,” and the guy was like, “I’m really sorry. If there’s anything I can do, please let me know.” At that point, I was pretty traumatized. I didn’t really want anything to do with him. (Participant #25, Alumnus)
     

    It’s just this stigma that we keep letting these men do it and do it. (Participant #31, Student)
     

    What hurts me more is the whole [harassment incident]. Even though he never did anything physical, it was all verbal…it’s just the fact that this organization that sees 2.3 million community college students and is a figure-head didn’t do anything about it because he [the harasser] is a man and I am a woman. (Participant #31, Student)
     

    It’s that we allow these people to continue doing what they’re doing and we don’t hold them accountable. (Participant #31, Student)
     

    My perpetrator was well liked by others, academically driven and involved. Someone who did not seem capable of doing what they did to me. When I learned about Title IX I felt empowered by my rights as a student. I knew that what happened to me was wrong, and unfortunately happens to many people in college. I wanted to report not only to find healing in what had happened to me, but also to make sure that there was a record of my perpetrator. Nothing terrified me more than ignoring it, and having this seemingly nice individual deceive and violate someone else in one of the worst ways possible. I went to Cal Poly to get an amazing education, not to have panic attacks on campus every day. After a horrible reporting process, I finally felt relief after 413 days of having a Title IX case inducing uncertainty in my academic and personal life. My perpetrator was expelled. The system "worked." I would finally have an education where my rights to freedom from violence and fear were protected and upheld. Having to push back my graduation by a year, it is difficult to look at my friends graduate. Sometimes I still feel like I’m losing because of that. Never did I think that what happened last Wednesday would be possible. After a year of being free from my perpetrator, I was notified that my case was remanded and that he will be coming back to Cal Poly. (Participant #41, Student)
     

    There’s not enough support to actually go make a claim because it seems like you don’t want to put this person in jail necessarily and ruin someone’s life so then you just kind of take it on the cheek or the shoulder and just pick yourself up and move forward. There’s no justice for survivors. There’s no academic probation or anything that would give consequences to people who are behaving in a way that’s not good for anyone…traumatizing and [causing a detriment to] other people’s academic careers. I think that there’s a lack of responsibility and it’s hard to see a culture that’s so based on partying and expectation and them not seeing the consequences of their actions or at least being accountable for what happens. (Participant #44, Student)
     

    The male culture is probably the thing that needs adjusting. I would like to just see that if there’s no reason to not do it for them, if they’re not going to get in trouble for it, then what’s stopping them? (Participant #44, Student)
     

    The one that I could’ve reported was the one that happened in my senior year of high school in the car, but again, my high school failed me. My family failed me. No one told me about consent…that I could say “no,” what I could do with my body. I was supposed to stay a virgin until I was married. Had I had that conversation with my mom, not even the school, just my mom, like “If you’re not comfortable doing something, you can say ‘no’ and then you can go to the police,” and had that happened [prior] to that night, I would’ve been like, “Mom, this just happened. We need to go to the police.” From there, I could’ve gotten a S.A.R.T. [Sexual Assault Response Team] exam. I could’ve gotten physical evidence. He could’ve gotten in trouble and had consequences, but I didn’t so therefore he’s now walking free. He allegedly got kicked out of his college the year after that for sexually assaulting another girl, but still has no consequences. He’s super rich, wealthy, now plays baseball at another school. I wish I could’ve done something. (Participant #46, Student)
     

    I was told the worst punishment he would get was writing a paper or taking a class on consent. I decided not to report. (Participant #48, Student)

     
    The perpetrators always get away with everything. Just knowing with what my freshman year roommate went through and how her perpetrator got away with it, I know that it’s not going to happen here. (Participant #51, Student)

     
    I think it’s really sad that students have been fighting for years to be heard and that literally for me, seeing the voices of students not being listened to is showing me that you’re enabling all the perpetrators on this campus with any acts of discrimination and gender-based violence. (Participant #52, Student)

     
    There’s that and then also the fact that abusers, rapists, people that sexually assault others, it still feels like they’re still allowed to get away with it because I feel like for every story you hear about someone coming forward, there’s so many who don’t and there’s so many who still get away with it. It’s so upsetting that they’re allowed to be in power and I think a lot of it is definitely because often times, they’re white males. (Participant #56, Student)


    At Cal Poly especially, with all the bullshit that goes on here and the rapists who get off scot-free because their daddies are friends with President Armstrong, that makes women want to talk about it less. (Participant #60, Student)

     
        
  23. LAW ENFORCEMENT

       

    He [the perpetrator] admitted to it and apologized to her [the SLOPD detective], but since it wasn’t penetrative, they weren’t going to go any further with it. But he admitted to it and she’s like, “Well he apologized,” and I was like, “Well he didn’t apologize to me...” (Participant #3, Student)
     

    Last fall, when the police chief had made that comment about the girl being too drunk and intoxicated, that’s her fault for getting raped [Mustang News: “SLOPD Sgt. Chad Pfarr under review for comments about sexual assault”]. First of all, that was triggering because that was essentially the reason why my case and my roommate’s case were dismissed. Our stories were deemed not credible because we were incapacitated, but at the same time, that’s the definition of consent. If you’re too incapacitated, you cannot give consent. To me, that made my blood boil to hear the police chief say that. This is a police chief. This is someone who’s supposed to look out for the safety of everyone. It’s clear that he’s just a misogynistic apologist. (Participant #13, Student)
     

    She was able to be around me for all that time and so she assaulted me for three years. I recently tried to report it to SLOPD and it’s been a year-long battle of the detective getting fired or leaving or whatever and him not doing a very good job. They decide not to take my case because they told me that they had higher profile cases going on than mine…even though my nanny is currently living with two little girls that could be in the same situation that I was in. I tried getting a restraining order against her and I couldn’t even get a restraining order against her. I tried and the justice system really let me down and just re-traumatized me. (Participant #20, Alumnus)
     

    Comparatively [to Title IX], reporting to SLOPD is much better. Still an awful experience and it was a year-long slow drawn out thing. But at Cal Poly, I knew that it was not a safe thing for me to do. (Participant #20, Alumnus)
     

    I also went to the cops, SLOPD, and when I went to RISE, I got my rape kit done and they found DNA on my chest. Nothing came from that. (Participant #33, Alumus)

     
    The detective I had at SLOPD started off saying, “I’m going to get this guy. Trust me. I’m really good at my job.” Trying to flex on me or something. Months later, he’s like, “Who are you again?” We did a cold call phone interview with the guy and the stuff he said was pretty damning. He was like, “Well you know what, I called my mom immediately the next day and she told me I can’t talk to anyone about this.” It was weird. They had so much information they were sitting on. I was expecting them to go into the car and check for DNA or anything. “Are you guys searching for the stuff I talked about when I was high?” They didn’t. They had no warrant. Months past. One day, my mom just called them and was like, “What’s going on with my daughter’s case?” They’re like, “Oh it was dropped.” My mom was like, “What?! Why didn’t you guys tell us?” She also asked, “Did you guys find anything in the rape kit?” and they’re like, “Yeah we found saliva.” Why did no one tell us anything? The ball was dropped. (Participant #33, Alumnus)
     

    I was really afraid that if I reported to Title IX or law enforcement or anything like that, that it would come back to the club and that someone higher up would get in some kind of trouble. (Participant #34, Alumnus)
     

    All I remember is his first name. I don’t remember anything else. I remember kind of what he looks like, but again, I would’ve never even thought about going to the police because I’d have no information. It was worthless. (Participant #38, Alumnus)
     

    A few weeks ago, over winter break, I officially reported my incident to the police. It’s a lot of mixed feelings now as I wait to hear back from the detective. It’s pretty terrifying to know that they are going to directly reach out to my perpetrator but I think after over a year, it’s finally time to move forward with pressing charges. Every day since I’ve reported I’ve been waiting for a call from the police to hear an update on my case. So, it’s definitely affecting me every day. (Participant #42, Student)
     

    I didn’t want to go to UPD because they are a part of our system at Cal Poly. The only thing my parents, especially my dad told me, was, “If you’re going to report, you go to SLOPD because you run the report and it’s yours, don’t claim that you’re a Cal Poly student. No one can manipulate your report.” But then I had a friend who went to SLOPD and had similar issues. The thing that I don’t think people realize is it’s not necessarily what you say, it’s how you say it and how you phrase it. [That’s] how you make someone feel unwelcome and unheard. I had two friends who have went to SLOPD when they’ve had instances and it’s sad that I know two people who have had to go there, you know? It was kind of just like, “Well like we can help you, but...” It’s like, there’s no “but.” The “but” is already enabling the perpetrator. You even questioning that something happened to me is already enabling the perpetrator and so that’s me saying, “Fuck you, you’re not going to help me because you already don’t believe me.” (Participant #52, Student)
     
        

  24. FEAR OF COMING FORWARD




    I never utilized any resources at Cal Poly, or anywhere, even though I was fully aware that they existed, would probably have been helpful, and how to access them. I chose not to ever mention it again, and have never told anyone except my current (wonderful) boyfriend, and now you I guess. (Participant #5, Student)


    I never once thought of it even as sexual assault for a while, and that's probably part of why I never utilized campus resources. I didn't want to think that could, or did, happen to me. (Participant #5, Student)


    I pretended it didn't happen, or that I was just over exaggerating it in my mind. He was the first person I ever got more sexual with, so I thought maybe that’s just how it goes sometimes. (Participant #5, Student)


    I told my friend, “I had this awkward hookup with so and so,” and she looked at me and said, “How do you feel about all that?” I think I was in the middle of a pool and I just got this feeling in my chest…I was like oh none of that was okay. None of that was okay. I remember that my brother texted me right before I told her, “Hey the four of us are hanging out again tonight at this time.” I need to text him right now. I really don’t want to see him [the perpetrator]. That’s when I knew I never want to see him again. The thought of it makes me sick. I knew that something was wrong. I didn’t tell anyone about it except for that friend, but I didn’t even know I was telling her.  (Participant #6)


    I don’t tell any of my close friends. Even though I was a WOW leader and we went through the Awareness Gallery and that would’ve been a proper time to share something that’s happened to me, I just didn’t want to. I haven’t shared it with anyone on WOW team either even though it’s supposed to be a close-knit family. Whenever I participate in the Awareness Gallery and it’s like, “Put in a stone if you know someone who is a sexual assault survivor,” I’m doing it for myself. (Participant #7, Student)



    I didn’t tell anyone about it for the longest time. That was the first time that it happened. (Participant #8, Student)


    I was pushing everyone away because I didn’t even tell my friends about it. How do you bring that up in a conversation? That was rough. (Participant #8, Student)


    I was always scared to tell people around me because I was scared they’d look at me differently or that they’d feel awkward around me or something, but they’ve actually been really cool about it and have made me feel the same as before, but a little more looked after...a little more taken care of. (Participant #8, Student)



    It hurts the people who come forward and think that something’s going to change and then nothing does. That’s why there’s so many unreported ones. People go their whole lives without talking about it. (Participant #8, Student)


    I felt really weird, but I was friends with him, he wasn’t a typical “creepy old man rapist” that grabs you on the street. He wasn’t like, “I’m going to kill you if you don’t do this.” He laid down on my bed and instantly fell into a deep sleep. I remember just sitting there staring at him and just being like, I don’t know what to do. I knew something was off, but I don’t think I could process the reality of what had just happened. (Participant #9, Student)


    I still didn’t call what happened that night “rape,” but I just knew that he made me feel violated. I called a friend a night soon after and was crying and said, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Don’t make me feel embarrassed, but I kind of hooked up with this guy, but I don’t know…he wouldn’t stop when I asked him to.” My friend replied “That’s assault. That doesn’t sound consensual.” I was kind of shocked by it, but I felt kind of relieved. It’s a conversation I go back to now to validate myself. This is when I truly started to process what had gone on that night. (Participant #9, Student)


    Sometimes I wish that I had told people and I think back on that. (Participant #12, Student)


    Also it’s hard because of my family. I’m out of state so none of them know about it. They can tell something is different, but I just felt like I couldn’t talk to them about it. (Participant #14, Student)


    It’s a really weird situation because for a long time after it, I was just like, well I was just sexually assaulted…it wasn’t rape. […] When consent is revoked, then it’s rape and it took me a really long time to be able to say that word as something that happened to me. It’s so much more intense. (Participant #15, Student)


    It was so traumatic, I don’t think I let myself realize what happened until six months afterwards. It’s been almost two years now and I’m just now coming to terms with what actually happened. (Participant #15, Student)


    She would force me to do sexual things. I didn’t understand what was happening at that point. As I got older, I started to realize that it was sexual assault and that that wasn’t okay. I didn’t really realize what it was until I was thirteen and I got my first boyfriend. I couldn’t even kiss people without crying and freaking out because I associated it with something that was out of my control. (Participant #16, Student)


    I don’t feel very comfortable talking to most people about being a survivor. (Participant #16, Student)


    It got to the point where there was no way that I could tell myself it wasn’t abuse or assault or rape. (Participant #17, Alumnus)


    I looked down at my body. The thought that I had was: If my little sister looked like this, I’d be so mad. I was just covered in bruises. That was my moment of, this isn’t okay. This is wrong. That was the moment that I started seeking counseling. (Participant #17, Alumnus)


    I didn’t really turn to my family. Some people have a really good relationship with their family and have that kind of support. I don’t feel that kind of support from my family. I know they love me, but my family wasn’t really an option there. (Participant #17, Alumnus)


    I didn’t label myself as a survivor until about a month or two months ago. (Participant #18, Student)


    When it happened, I think a part of my brain was like, no you actually don’t have time for this so we’re not going to deal with this. You’re just going to keep going to class and keep going to work. (Participant #18, Student)


    My biggest insecurity is I don’t want people to think that this is an attention thing or that I just want them to feel sorry for me. I think it’s awful that any woman should feel that way. You would never say that to somebody who got their car stolen or got stabbed. I don’t understand my own issues with needing to talk about it or my issues with the fact that I feel bad asking for help. (Participant #18, Student)


    I think the hardest part too is I haven’t really addressed it with my parents. I can’t think of anything worse for a parent. (Participant #18, Student)


    I didn’t even really start dealing with it and processing it until a year ago. Other than that, people knew that it happened to me, but it wasn’t something that I talked about. It was in a box somewhere far far away. (Participant #19, Student)


    At this point, I’ve just been starting to process what happened. I didn’t realize it personally until I talked to my boyfriend who I had broken up with. I broke up with him initially and then I was just like, “I’m done. I can’t do this.” Then a week later, I was like, “I cheated on you. I’m terrible.” I talked to him in November and was like, “Hey I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to cheat on you. I didn’t want to cheat on you. I kept saying ‘no.’” He was like, “If you said ‘no,’ that’s not okay.” I was like, “Oh…” and then it took me forever to process it still because that’s not an easy thing to think about and wrap your brain around. (Participant #21, Alumnus)


    I don’t know how far I pushed it down at the moment, but so much so that after he was done, I convinced myself it was normal, and turned around and finished myself. I slept over. Probably about an hour after falling asleep with him I woke up having a panic attack and crying and being like, “I need to get out of here.” But I think I was so scared that I couldn’t even move. I woke up at 6 a.m., not really feeling any feelings, and left to go home. (Participant #22, Student)


    My first sexual assault, I think I was fifteen. I was a freshman in high school. I didn’t really understand that those were sexual assaults until I actually got to college. (Participant #23, Student)


    I just tried to put them [the incidents] aside. I tried to not think about them because I didn’t want it to have to affect me. I was just like, it’s fine, I’m fine. Then realizing that it was sexual assault when I came to college, I was like, whoa. It’s something that I’m still processing now and it’s been years. (Participant #23, Student)


    I tried to just forget about it and/or just let go. Have you ever heard the expression about the rope, the tug of war, and just dropping the rope? I just dropped the rope, but I never actually dealt with a lot of the stuff. Even years later, I’m still dealing with it now. (Participant #23, Student)


    I know this is really sad, but I do not talk about this very much. I talked about it to my best friends around the time it happened. I didn’t even really tell anyone about my chemistry tutor because we were friends and some of my friends knew him. I was like, okay this is just awkward. I just didn’t really feel like I deserved attention for it or anything like that, but I was very emotionally traumatized. I just kept it to myself. (Participant #25, Alumnus)


    When she was that disturbed by that character [from Boy Erased] getting raped in his dorm…I was sitting here like, mom…I know that the love my parents have for me is very strong. They care about me very much, but I have a feeling if they had an inkling of what happened to me while I was at Cal Poly, that they would be traumatized…but then they’d get mad at me because they’d say, “Why were you at a bar anyways?” Either way, it’s a lose-lose. (Participant #25, Alumnus)


    I don’t know why I never sought help. I don’t know why I never did. I think it was because since I wasn’t really overcome by any negative emotion, I figured I was okay. In reality, especially from all of the things I’ve told you, I’m not okay. (Participant #25, Alumnus)


    Well for me, the way I’ve been coping with it is by being really busy all the time so I don’t have to reflect on it. (Participant #29, Student)


    It’s something that I wish that people just already knew rather than [having] to bring up to people that it’s happened to me. (Participant #29, Student)


    I’m kind of still in the process of finding support and healing just because I’ve spent so long avoiding it or just not thinking about it. (Participant #29, Student)


    After, I hung out with him a couple more times because I was super embarrassed and I just didn’t want it to be a big deal. I wanted to pretend like it didn’t happen. (Participant #30, Student)


    I’ve been sexually assaulted by family members, boyfriends, and everything, but I didn’t really see it as anything major because it’s like, I’ve never really been harassed. It never really clicked. (Participant #31, Student)


    [My mom is] also a survivor. There are times where I’ve opened up to her about things that have happened to me and she’s like, “We’ll get you a lawyer. We’ll go to court.” This and that, but at the same time, I don’t want this to be public. As someone who wants to run for Congress, the last thing I need is for this to be public and thrown at me later on in life…like, she’s just doing this for attention. (Participant #31, Student)


    For a long time, I just suppressed it and didn’t feel any emotion about it and then I would randomly feel a lot of emotion about it. I’d go back to not feeling and just the numbness. It ebbs and flows for me. (Participant #36, Alumnus)


    I would never want my parents to know. Not because I’m afraid that they’d be mad or ashamed of me or anything like that. It’s just because I don’t want them to feel sad. (Participant #38, Alumnus)


    I didn’t know who the guy was. I didn’t figure out who he was for a whole year. It also took me a while to realize what had happened wasn’t okay and I went through a lot of struggles with that. (Participant #39, Alumnus)


    There in the waste basket was a used condom which was totally mortifying and humiliating. I asked him about it when I came out of the bathroom and he told me that I initiated everything, that I was totally into it and he would never have stayed if I didn't want him to. I guess because I couldn't remember anything, I took what he was saying as true, even though my gut could not validate what he was saying. I think one of the worst parts about this date rape was that because I believed him, and had sex with him, that I figured I should continue to date him because I must have liked him to initiate sex and sleep with him. We dated for a month maybe before it faded out? I brought up the night of the date rape a few times nonchalantly and would say things like, “You know I was drinking the same amount you were and I'm half your size. Didn't you notice how drunk I was?” and he would deny that I was even drunk and tell me that I knew what I was doing. Since I couldn't remember anything after I dropped the keys, I believed him. This stranger. I believed him. And I was never the same again. (Participant #40, Alumnus)


    Looking back on it, I think I put the blame on myself that I even got into this situation. My parents had always tried to drill into me that I need to learn how to take care of myself, but maybe this philosophy backfired in a way because not only were there a lack of resources on campus and in the community to help me deal with date rape, but I didn't have a support system of friends that I felt like I could tell that would support me, and I absolutely wasn't going to tell my parents or my two sisters that this had happened. So I tried to deal with this situation on my own, or rather not dealing with it by pushing this experience down and keeping it inside me. (Participant #40, Alumnus)


    It’s funny because whenever I’m going to tell my story, I feel like I need to add in all these details of red flags and justifying it so that people know that it wasn’t my fault. Essentially, I was just raped by this guy that I thought I had a lot of friends with, which also made it very hard to come forward. (Participant #41, Student)


    My biggest fear at this point was telling my parents everything and things got to the point that I had to talk to them. I’ll never forget that day. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. On top of telling them I had been assaulted, I had to explain Title IX to them, and explain that I was being investigated for assault in the same scenario. I was like, “Okay, I was assaulted. I’m going through a reporting process.” And then to have to tell them, “Oh and by the way, they reported against me, so I’m actually in two cases.” Then my parents just being like, “What the fuck?” and not really even knowing what to say. (Participant #41, Student)


    A lot of people don’t tell their parents right away, but I’m super close with my parents and I really still didn’t realize what had happened until I had just woken up that next morning feeling really off and weird. Actually during this time, which I didn’t mention before because it gets complicated, but I was actually seeing somebody, a different person other than my perpetrator. The first 24 hours was a lot of me feeling like, oh my god, did I just cheat? What the heck? I’m a terrible person. (Participant #42, Student)


    Because my perpetrator was such a well-known person in the music community, it was really hard when more people found out. The news spread fairly quickly because my perpetrator had three victims filing cases against him. All three of these victims are in band. When people started finding out, it was just really scary because they noticed me more when I was just walking down the hallway and I didn’t know if they would believe me or believe any of us or how they would react to him. Luckily I was really blessed with a lot of people believing us and just so much support. Most people didn’t know what to do or say, but they were like, “No matter what, we’re here. We just want you to be okay because we care about you and support you.” (Participant #43, Student)


    He molested me when I was in first grade…all throughout first grade. My parents really had no idea, but my mom started realizing that I wasn’t really talking as much and she started noticing that I started developing a lot of anxiety before we would go to his house. She started noticing a lot of things were wrong so she sat me down one day and she [put her hand around my genitalia] and she was like, “Hey, remember if anyone touches you like that, it’s not good, okay? Just always remember that.” I was like, “Okay,” but I still wouldn’t tell her. (Participant #45, Student)


    It was to a point where I was on his lap and he would hold me so I couldn’t move and he would just touch me in the way that he wanted. That was when I was in first grade. He never penetrated me. It was all with his hands. He never used his genitalia to penetrate me. Anything he did was with his hands. It did go inside a little bit, but it never went all the way. He made sure he didn’t break my hymen so that if I did tell my parents and they did do an examination, they wouldn’t find anything, if that makes any sense. I feel like he was experienced in what he was doing just because he knew exactly what to do. Now looking back at it, back then, I didn’t really understand what was happening. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know why. (Participant #45, Student)


    Well, I feel like it took me a really long time to be able to talk about it because once my parents found out, they just brushed it under the rug. Although we never went to his house to hang out with him again or anything like that, once they confirmed that I was telling the truth and he was in fact molesting me, they never confronted him. They never filed a police report. They took me to the doctor. The doctor confirmed that there was no assault. (Participant #45, Student)


    I didn’t even know how to explain what had happened because I wouldn’t have called it assault back then. I sat on the curb and was just like, something’s wrong. Something’s wrong. (Participant #46, Student)


    I would say just that I didn’t feel comfortable telling anyone because my parents had always said, “Never be in a guy’s bedroom,” this and that. I never told my family. Also, I felt really uncomfortable sharing it with my roommates because they knew who he was and once again I mentioned before, even though I was very upset with him and the whole situation was very traumatizing and it made me very sick afterwards because of the stress of it, I didn’t feel comfortable sharing with anyone. (Participant #47, Alumnus)


    The hardest part is how long it took me to call it rape. (Participant #49, Alumnus)


    Part of me was so ashamed to admit that I didn’t want to be with those boys, that it would be trouble if I made a big deal about any of it at all. While I could never forget, I pretended it didn’t happen so I could look at my own reflection in the mirror without being horrified. (Participant #49, Alumnus)


    It’s terrifying to share what happened, because I’ve feared how people would react or how their image of me might shift. I feared being judged and blamed for walking into situations where I was assaulted. (Participant #49, Alumnus)


    I was too embarrassed to tell anyone and hid my experience for a long time. (Participant #50, Alumnus)


    After my assault, it took me about six months to tell anyone. I told my mom and her reaction wasn’t what I was expecting. She was mad at my assaulter and her only response was to insist on an AIDS test and then she never discussed the incident again. I waited a long time before telling anyone else. I slowly told people I dated and eventfully told more people I was close to and trusted. (Participant #50, Alumnus)


    For a long time, I wished that I had said something sooner or had opened up to others, especially when some of them may have had similar experiences. I never had the confidence---I was worried it was my fault or not a big enough deal. Sometimes I pretended it just never happened. Sharing experiences is so important. When I saw the article in the Mustang News, I knew I wanted to contribute to this work! Thank you for everything you’re doing. (Participant #50, Alumnus)


    I couldn’t even explain to [my friends] what happened because I don’t think they would understand or believe me. That’s what I thought at the time so I kept it to myself. (Participant #51, Student)


    I kept it to myself for about six months. (Participant #51, Student)


    For the longest time, I blamed myself. I was like, oh I should’ve never went. Then I realized, holy fuck, I got raped by him…my boyfriend that I thought I loved. He cheated on me too. What the fuck? He hit me. He beat the fuck out of me. I had bruises on my body and my parents saw and were like, “Where is that from?” I was like, “I don’t know. I was drinking and I fell.” It took me a couple months to be honest with myself and I still haven’t told my loved ones the complete story. (Participant #52, Student)


    But for me, I have best friends who live with [my perpetrator] and I have a friend who is now dating him. How do you go and tell all of your friends, all of them, ones who live with him and date him and have sex with him, after that? After you’ve been invalidated by one of your best friends that you’ve had since before college…“I think he raped me. He sexually assaulted me. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I know something did happen.” (Participant #52, Student)


    My parents are the most amazing people I have in my life, but they still don’t know completely what happened to me and they don’t know what’s happened to me at Cal Poly. I’m not ashamed of it, but I don’t want my dad to have to look at me or my parents to look at me and think I’m damaged because I’ve been raped. That’s something they’ve never had to experience, which is amazing, but they are my parents and they love me and that will make me have to relive my experience if I have to tell my parents. (Participant #52, Student)


    When I came back from studying abroad, I kind of just suppressed the whole incident. I didn’t talk about it with anyone. (Participant #53, Alumnus)


    I ended up talking to one of my other friends from back home and he had been an R.A. when he was in college and he was like, “Uh…I’m going to call you. Let’s walk through this.” He sent me the link to Safer and RAINN and told me about Title IX and all of that. That was when I realized I had been sexually assaulted because I was like, holy shit. This is what happened. I had no idea that I had even been sexually assaulted. (Participant #54, Alumnus)


    I tried to convince myself that I hadn’t been raped for a really long time. I was just like, nah…no…that’s not what happened. (Participant #54, Alumnus)


    I didn’t also want to tell my family because they go through their stuff. They have their problems and I don’t want to put that on them. And the way that people put it, it’s kind of on you. Yeah, we can help you after reporting it and everything...but what happens after? For me, what happened after wasn’t that great and honestly, it took me an entire year to really figure out who I am and how I can start living again the way I want to. (Participant #55, Student)


    To this day, I don’t think I’ve let myself process it. I’ve never been to a support group. I don’t think I ever let myself heal from it because I try to push it back and pretend it didn’t happen. (Participant #56, Student)


    How do you bring that up to your friends without there being a prior discussion? (Participant #56, Student)


    When it was happening, I don’t know…I felt very conflicted because there was pleasure, but also emotional pain when it happened. I felt shameful the morning after because I woke up at eight in the morning panicking and was just like, I’m going to walk back to my dorm and not think about it. Shower, go back to sleep, not think about it. Because of the way that I had reacted to things, I think it just got suppressed in my memories so I just didn’t really think about it. (Participant #57, Student)


    I didn’t realize how it affected me until after because I try to not think about this and try to move on and other stuff. I didn’t really see how it affected me until way later…years later. (Participant #57, Student)


    Well honestly I tried to block them out of my memory right after they happened, which is why I haven’t talked about them. (Participant #58, Student)


    My friend who I was at the house with came into my room and was like, “So…you got with a guy! Tell me about it!” I was like, “I honestly don’t remember. I just remember we were hooking up and I didn’t really want to have sex and then we did.” My roommate looked at me and she was like, “What…?” I didn’t realize it until I said it out loud. The second that [I said that], my body just froze. (Participant #59, Student)


    I didn’t even remember what happened so I couldn’t tell myself in my head that I was raped. (Participant #59, Student)


    No one really knew and I didn’t want to tell people because that just meant reliving it and putting it out [there] to other people. I was just expected to keep it to [myself] and continue on, but then go to the same places where it’s happening. (Participant #59, Student)


    The next weekend, I was like, there’s no way I can fucking drink. I got so much anxiety out of it. But the culture [makes] you keep doing it because if you question it, then people will be like, “Why?” That would risk me being like, “I don’t feel comfortable because of these reasons,” but because I didn’t want to do any of that, I had to make up all these lies like, oh I don’t feel good. I don’t want to drink. I remember I was making up excuses like, oh I blacked last weekend. But in my mind, looking at [alcohol] was making me nervous. Getting close to other people was making me nervous, but the culture doesn’t let you say it. It’s expected that you just keep going. You just have to go with the flow or else you’re an outcast. (Participant #59, Student)


    I haven’t even been here for eight months and it already happened. Knowing that that happened so quickly to me and most people don’t know. I think there must be so many fucking girls and guys who it happened to, but they aren’t talking about it because they know that’s just going to create controversy or start up something. The fact that that’s limiting them from speaking up is what I think is the most messed up. Because just saying that something fucked up happened to them is going to create such a burden. That shouldn’t be stopping you from having a voice, you know? That’s what makes me the most frustrated is that there are so many societal things that are limiting me from feeling like I can speak up about this topic even though it directly affected me just because I’m afraid of someone judging me or not believing me or thinking, oh it’s not that big of a deal. (Participant #59, Student)


    You don’t want to feel like it changed everything because if you react as though it changed everything, then it will feel like it changed everything. (Participant #60, Student)


    I didn’t realize that I got raped for a year and a half. I was just like, “Oh yeah, the first time we had sex, I cried.” People were like, “Oh…what?” I would be like, “I mean…I guess I didn’t really want to.” And they’d be like, “What?!” And I’d be like, “Oh…there’s a word for that.” (Participant #60, Student)


    When it first happened, I thought it was my fault because I never said “no,” but one of my sisters explained to me the difference between consent and coercion. That’s when I knew what happened was not okay and he should’ve known that too. (Participant #61, Student)

    But I can’t find it in me to report this, especially because the person who did this is a DACA student. A lot of people will be like, “So what? He doesn’t deserve that.” I know he doesn’t. He’s a piece of shit, but I can’t live knowing that I did that. I know all of these people are like, “So? It doesn’t matter. He did that to you. Maybe he did it to other people.” But just knowing for myself and my own mental health, I can’t live with that. But it’s also, every time I see him, I cringe. Or every time I see him with my sisters, I cringe. It’s just this constant conflict. Should I say something? Should I not? But also, they’re not doing anything about. I know how many people I can save if I do and maybe it’s me being selfish,  but I can’t live with that. It’s a constant conflict that I still don’t know what I’m going to do about. (Participant #61, Student)



  25. TITLE IX

      

    ​​But Title IX…they’re so fucked…it’s so terrible. Speedy would be preferable…hire more people to get these things done for everybody...if you can’t think of the women, think of the liability and bad publicity. (Participant #3, Student)
     

    The Title IX process I think is just not what it should be. (Participant #4, Student)



    When I came out and did the Title IX process, actually rethinking it, no one knew for months [except] 3 people. The only reason why I actually told someone was because someone else was trying to report on him. I thought, well I have pictures [of the injuries] so maybe this could help her and they didn’t even believe her. It was crazy. (Participant #4, Student)
     

    Then when I got my private investigator [from Title IX], I know she has to be on both sides, but it seemed like she was trying to find any reason that I should be at fault…like that it didn’t happen or there’s no reason to kick him off campus. (Participant #4, Student)
     

    I think what really hurt the most about Title IX is that they think they could look at how I reacted after the situation and think, oh well she’s fine because she’s hanging out with the same friends [mutual friends between herself and the perpetrator]; she’s obviously okay and it didn’t happen. I think Title IX has a lot of disbelief and I know it’s hard to expel someone and stop that career, but I had to put my life on hold for two years and that’s something that shouldn’t have happened. All of the Title IX processes that I’ve heard [about] don’t go well. (Participant #4, Student)
     

    In terms of reaching out for support, I only really talked about this to a few of my friends and then I did end up trying to report [to Title IX] after a while, but then…I don’t know…the process was really confusing. Not going to lie, kind of annoying. So, I just stopped. I was like, I don’t think this is going anywhere. I don’t feel like doing this. (Participant #7, Student)
     

    I’ve been able to talk to a few of my professors about it and they’re so much more there for you and they know you want to keep things confidential whereas I would never feel comfortable talking to Safer or the Title IX office or anything like that because of past experiences that people have had. (Participant #8, Student)
     

    I confronted my rapist and he gave in and told me that he knew what he did was rape.  I ended up reporting it to Title IX, and it felt good to call it what it was. Despite these multiple text messages of him admitting to raping me, the Title IX office let him off with no consequences and no chance for justice to be served. The 6 months I waited for the Title IX office to make a ruling on my case were the longest of my life and after all that trouble, I had to return to seeing and standing next to my rapist up to 14 hours a week in our marching band class the following fall quarter. (Participant #9, Student)
     

    Obviously with Title IX, I know they don’t care about their students who are survivors so that’s shitty. (Participant #9, Student)
     

    I think that I’m more triggered half the time by Title IX and the school than I am with my own experience and that’s so messed up. I had more of a traumatic experience with how the people who were supposed to be protecting me (Title IX and Cal Poly) treated me versus the actual experience itself. And I think that says a lot about what it’s like to be a survivor on this campus. (Participant #9, Student)
     

    In group therapy, not naming anybody’s names of course, but there were girls in there every single group that had reported to Title IX and I just heard the horror stories and I knew it was not worth it and I was so much better off not reporting my story to Title IX. It would be a detrimental thing to report to Title IX. I was much better off suffering alone than going through that. (Participant #20, Alumnus)
     

    It was super hard in terms of Title IX [being] such a secret enmity. (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    [The investigation] goes into December and Brian [Brian Gnandt, former Title IX coordinator] sends out this early resolution and I’m confused because my perpetrator doesn’t get any consequences. I’m like, “Hey why is this guy who sexually assaulted me not getting any consequences?” He’s like, “Well I didn’t know you were complaining of sexual assault. You came in and said retaliation was your main concern.” Well yeah, retaliation is my main concern because otherwise I lose my job [as an R.A.] and I’m homeless. That’s a pretty big concern. He retaliated against me because he assaulted me. There’s a pretty big connection there. Brian calls me on the phone, stops emailing me. He’s like, “If you don’t sign this and we investigate it, then housing can do their own investigation and they can fire you immediately.” (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    The resolution had four parts. One was that I wouldn’t be fired. Second was that he wouldn’t get in trouble. Three was that we can’t speak with each other, the no contact order. Four was that we could no longer work and live in the same place. It gave three options, which were: housing could just move him, I could voluntarily move, or they could move both of us. Housing’s like, “Yeah so we’re going to move both of you.” I was like, “no.” I was super upset. The executive order says you have to do what least burdens the complaining party. I was quoting that and was like, “You’re not following this.” They were just like, “Nope, we’re going to move you.” I complained and complained. The last thing that happened was Brian [Gnandt] contacted me and was like, “[The director of residential life] tells me that you think we’re not following our executive order and this is getting really complicated so I don’t think I’m comfortable with this resolution anymore.” (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    It was hour and a half sessions each time so three total hours to talk with Title IX. I had to sit there and face Brian [Gnandt]. I was complaining about housing, but through that, obviously I bashed Brian. He wasn’t my main subject of contempt, but he didn’t do a great job. I had to sit there and he had some other woman (one of the other Title IX workers) sitting there typing notes. It was a lot. A couple weeks later, Tiffany [Little] from Title IX replies and is like, “Hi I’m your investigator.” Then a couple weeks later, it’s from Tiffany again, “Hi, this is your investigator,” and it’s some outside person. I’m like, what is going on? It turns out they chose to hire a supervising deputy attorney general for the state of California to investigate my cases. I opened three different cases. Two against my perpetrator (one for sexual assault, one for retaliation). One against my boss from university housing for retaliation for not allowing me to go to meetings and not keeping it private. One for my boss’s boss for retaliation as well. (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    I get an email saying, “We’re extending your cases.” My investigator hasn’t even interviewed anyone yet basically, only me. We get to the end of that extension period and Kara [from Safer] is like, “Oh your case should be resolved soon, huh?” I was like, “I haven’t even had my preliminary findings meeting yet.” She was like, “What? You’re kidding me?” They just go into a second extension, but they don’t inform me. They just let my extension expire. In the executive order, it is a 60 day investigation period and you’re allowed up to one 30 working day extension. They pass that and they just don’t say anything. I call them out. I wait a few extra days because I don’t want to have miscalculated and be calling them out, even though I knew I was right with the day I had. I was like, “Hey what the fuck?” Brian [Gnandt] is just like, “We’re working on it.” This is literally not allowed by the CSU system. This is breaking our rules. He just brushes me off. The second unofficial extension expires, another 30 day period. I call him out again. Nothing. He just dodges it every time. We get on to the third extension period. Just ridiculous. I’m real fed up. (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    My investigator meanwhile has the “preliminary findings meeting” with me. She’s like, “I don’t know what that term is. This is just a review of evidence.” First of all, this is a phone meeting. It’s not written anywhere, but Cal Poly’s practice is that you meet in person. You’re provided written copies of statements, both other people’s and your own so you can argue them, refute them, correct your own. This meeting I had with my investigator was over the phone and I have to ask her to provide me with anything. She provides me with four documents, a total of 56 pages of evidence three hours before our meeting. She was like, “Here you go. Have these reviewed by our meeting.” I have class during this whole three hour period. We got on the phone and we’re in Kara’s office. She just talks for 45 minutes straight. My investigator not once paused to ask and see if I was still there, let me respond, nothing. Just talked for 45 minutes. At the end of it, I’m trying to scribble notes as she’s talking. That’s wrong. I was like, “Yeah so can I respond to what people said?” She said, “That’s not what I’m looking for.” I was like, “Excuse me?” She was like, “Yeah I’m just here to see if you have any additional evidence or witnesses,” which was bullshit because she interviewed one of my witnesses. I gave you an entire list, lady. She didn’t understand. It’s literally in the executive order that I get to respond to these and she wasn’t allowing me to respond. (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    I was like, “This is the executive order. This is what you need to give me.” Brian, excuse me what is your job as Title IX coordinator? You need to be supervising the investigators you hire. I talked to Brian’s boss. I talked to Keith Humphries. They were all basically just like, “We can’t do anything while the investigation is going on.” That was the start of the issues. I demanded written statements. I was like, “You will give these to me.” It took her two months to type statements. Another thing on the phone, she was like, “I don’t have any statements,” but she read off of something for 45 minutes. I was like, excuse me what are you even saying? It was absurd stuff like that. Then I’m just pissed off. As more time goes, I just get more pissed off. I got into a little tiff with Brian. He was just basically like, I’m done with you. Don’t talk to me. He didn’t say that exactly, but he was like, “If you have other concerns, you can talk to the CSU Title IX coordinator.” (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    My investigation started the first week of school. They released the statement or summary about my perpetrator the Thursday before graduation. They’re like, “We’ll release the other one the next week.” It was two weeks later. The housing [statements] then came. They denied all of them. What the investigator wrote, all the evidence and everything, was over 400 pages. They give you ten working days, so two weeks, to write a response. I was like, it’s literally physically impossible to read 400 pages in two weeks of emotionally-charged information and respond to it. That’s basically what my appeal was. I wasn’t even arguing anything else. I was like, this timeline was jank and this is an absurd requirement. They’re [Title IX] allowed a total of 90 working days. They took an additional 87 working days for my case. I was like, this is ridiculous that I have these requirements when they’re not following their own requirements. I wrote the appeal and they denied it a few weeks later. (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    Of all the people I know that have gone through this, I only know one girl who has had her [Title IX] case validated or substantiated in her favor, which is insane. How many people do I know who’ve gone through this and only one? That’s pretty mind-blowing. (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     

    I reached out to a friend that had been sexually assaulted. I wasn’t really planning on doing anything about it legally, but I wanted to talk to her more about it and she told me not to go through Title IX. I don’t know anything about Title IX, but I think she overall told me that it just wasn’t worth going through Title IX. (Participant #25, Alumnus)
     

    Through that, one of my brothers is a super huge advocate for stuff like this. He was like, “You should report. You’re part of an important statistic now. You need to have your voice heard.” That’s when I went to Title IX. I did my intake and then didn’t hear back from them for a month. I then got an email saying I finally received a case person, but the person didn’t even work for Title IX. They were a volunteer. I was like, awesome. I can’t even get the respect of having someone who is trained in this. It’s just a volunteer professor who wants to help. That already pissed me off. I had to redo my intake the week of finals last spring. I literally failed all my finals. She also had the meeting in the library. I was walking out of the library, saw so many people I knew, and I had black [mascara] streaming down my face from crying. It was just a mess. There was literally no support from them. (Participant #26, Student)
     

    [Title IX] didn’t contact me all summer. I was supposed to get my results on September 1st. On September 7th, I get an email saying my case has been postponed. Again in October, I got an email saying it was postponed. Two weeks later, I get an email saying it’s postponed. Finally last week was when I got the email and it just said…I actually have the exact words. It said, “The respondent [perpetrator] was more credible than the complainant [me] and it was mutually escalating sexual activity.” They literally took out any frame of feeling it not being consensual and they replaced it with mutual, which was shitty. Earlier in the conclusion, it stated how I didn’t say something that he did. Because of that, I’m not credible and I left out information in order to strengthen my case. When on the other side, I was looking at it, I didn’t do anything besides drink a little bit that night, that was it. He had done coke and he smoked. He had a lot more in his system and they failed to provide any of that. They only called his witnesses so Title IX wasn’t the most supportive. (Participant #26, Student)
     

    One of the biggest reasons why I didn’t report was because I knew that I would put so much effort, my blood, sweat, and tears, into something that feels very important to me, but nothing’s going to be done. That’s the most saddening part. It’s all in favor of that person. (Participant #27, Student)
     

    I’m more on the side of I don’t regret not reporting just because I personally feel like if I tried to do something, that would’ve really taken a toll on me. This is really really bad. It shouldn’t be this way. It’s a really difficult issue to try to figure out, but as the victim, it’s just really disheartening. (Participant #27, Student)
     

    I went to Safer. I went to Title IX. I talked to them. I couldn’t go through with all of the repeating what happened. They took forever and so I just wanted to get it over with, but it wasn’t like that. (Participant #30, Student)
     

    Title IX…I don’t know what I expected, but that was hard. I heard statistics. A very small number of perpetrators get repercussions for what they do. Why do we even have Title IX if nothing is going to change? (Participant #30, Student)
     


    When I did report that one case with the friend when I was really high, Title IX was so traumatizing that if anything, it made me worse. It made me self-harm even more. (Participant #33, Alumnus)
     

    Can Cal Poly not hire a private firm to investigate their Title IX cases because that’s not transparent at all. That can lead to a fuck ton of corruption. For myself, Liz Paris [Title IX investigator], when she was interviewing me, would pull out Facebook conversations between me and said assailant and was like, “Can you explain why you had a tongue emoji here?” “What is this about?” Dude, I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I don’t even know what this conversation is about because we’ve had so many. “I can’t tell you exactly why at this time months ago, I sent that face...probably because I thought what he said was funny.” She’s like, “Oh…were you flirting?” And I’m like, “No I wasn’t,” and even if I was, it wouldn’t matter because months later, he takes advantage of me. This woman is clearly serving somebody and it’s not me right now. If she’s a fucking lawyer, I’m sure she knows how to distort the law, how to distort the case. She’s not an idiot. I feel like they know what they’re doing and they’re just doing this so survivors just shut the fuck up. Case closed. Sorry. You sent this face to him; therefore, case closed. You were on marijuana. I’m going to ask the local cop what that means. Local cop says, “Yeah you can hallucinate on marijuana. That’s a fact. Case closed.” The way they approach these investigations is so shitty. They’re not real investigations. We don’t know what kind of standards this private firm has. Who the fuck are they? Why are they the ones in charge of sexual assault? Why is Brian [Brian Gnandt, former Title IX coordinator] rarely listening to survivors? How is it that we can say one in how many women are assaulted, but then one in how many cases are actually convicting the assaulter? It doesn’t make sense. Cal Poly needs to look at the facts and those facts need to be circulated. There’s an obvious disparity, which usually means corruption. (Participant #33, Alumnus)
     

    Liz Paris [Title IX investigator] asked me if I did all these things to myself. (Participant #33, Alumnus)
     

    I also went to the cops, SLOPD, and when I went to RISE, I got my rape kit done and they found DNA on my chest. Nothing came from that. Literally nothing came from that. Liz Paris called me because I wanted to submit the results of the rape kit to Title IX to help the investigation because Title IX was just doing this he said/she said. That’s not great. The guy who did it brought up, “[She] has told me her ex-boyfriend raped her. She has a history of claiming people assault her.” He hired some CNN and FOX news lawyer because his mom is a D.A. or something because he’s super rich. He straight up got a celebrity lawyer who was bullying my investigator in the Title IX case. I was like, obviously this is just going to get bought out so I’m going to send the rape kit to Title IX for Liz [Paris] to include. She was like, “Yeah I actually strongly advise against that because you don’t know what the other party could do with that information once they have it. It’s like your personal medical stuff.” She just basically told me not to do it without forcing me not to do it. (Participant #33, Alumnus)
     

    I feel like SLOPD was helping Cal Poly too because in my Title IX case, Liz Paris asked the detective assigned to my case what he thought. He told me in person when I came in that he believed me, that he was going to catch this guy. Then in the Title IX report, she interviewed him and he was like, “Yeah I’ve seen a lot of people make shit up when they’re high. They think they know what happened and it didn’t. You can’t trust people that are on weed because THC levels are so much stronger now than in the 60’s.” Why the fuck was that in the Title IX case? He’s not a chemist. He’s a fucking cop. He has no authority on how marijuana can affect the mind. (Participant #33, Alumnus)
     

    My mom came down to San Luis Obispo to make sure they wouldn’t take advantage of me. Someone from U.P.D., Brian [Gnandt], and a Safer advocate (the Safer advocates are the only good part of this whole thing), but Brian was telling my mom, “Oh yeah, we’re going to get him. He for sure did it. We know what he’s doing.” At the end of the Title IX, he just goes, “Yeah you know, based on Liz Paris’s findings, I agree. I concur. The guy didn’t do it.” They’re like, “Oh if it’s even 51% possible, we believe the victims.” I’m like, what the hell? This was definitely as least 51% possible. You guys are just fucking liars. You said that just because my mom was there and my mom was making a big fuss about pulling me out of the school or going public because she talked to the deans and stuff. They lied to my mom with me there like, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of everything!” and nothing happened. (Participant #33, Alumnus)
     

    I was really afraid that if I reported to Title IX or law enforcement or anything like that, that it would come back to the club and that someone higher up would get in some kind of trouble. (Participant #34, Alumnus)
     

    But Cal Poly in specific…just because I think that’s also what encouraged me not to report it because I didn’t report it. I think a big part is because I saw people who did everything they were supposed to. They did everything by the book. They had DNA evidence even and nothing was done. It made me so angry to see that. I went with a friend to report. She went and reported to Title IX and it didn’t resolve at all. You hear all these stories and it just is like, okay why would I ever want to relive this trauma just to be told by you what everyone else has been telling me, which is that I’m a liar and I asked for it? (Participant #36, Alumnus)
     

    A year later, Greek life was doing some sort of lessons or weekly meetings about trying to end sexual assault. My friend and I went and after one of the meetings, she opened up to me about what happened to her. It was at the same party, the same night. We figured out that it was the same guy. So she heard from someone else who they thought was the guy from everything that she went through. I knew the guy’s name. She didn’t remember what the guy looked like, but I did. She pulled up the guy’s Facebook and as soon as I saw him, I was like, “That’s him.” She’s like, “Well he attacked both of us that night.” That’s when we decided to go into Safer and talk to them. We didn’t go into Safer until May 2017 so it was almost an entire year later. I decided to do the Title IX investigation and then she did it a couple weeks afterwards. They were both happening at the same time. Both of our cases, they found him as not guilty of anything. I don’t remember the exact wording, but it was something along the lines of, “Throwing up and the signs of you being drunk that night weren’t enough for you to not be able to give consent.” I’m like, “Are you fucking kidding me?” Yeah, I was not happy. (Participant #39, Alumnus)
     

    That was another shitty thing that happened with the investigation and with the administration. In the initial statements when I went to Title IX, at the end they asked, “What would you like to see happen as the consequences?” I’m like, “I already know DSP is off campus, but this shit is still happening. This shouldn’t be happening. It’s a culture that’s going on. I want them actually gone.” They were like, “Okay,” and of course, literally nothing happened. They were like, “Well since they’re already kicked off campus, there’s nothing we can do about it.” (Participant #39, Alumnus)
     

    Seeing the words, “This case doesn’t matter. Nothing really bad happened to you,” was horrible. (Participant #39, Alumnus)
     

    After the breakup he became very mean to me over text. He texted me saying all sorts of horrible things about me being a slut and telling me how broken he was. I tried to sweep all of this under the rug while I focused on school and extracurriculars. He would walk by my door multiple times a day and cross paths with me all over campus following the breakup. One time I was studying with a male friend at Starbucks in the University Union and he passed our table seven times in an hour even though he was sitting on the upper level of the building. At this point other people were concerned for me and I went to talk to my RA about the situation. She essentially handed me off to the CSD [Coordinator of Student Development] and then the CSD was like, this is out of my hands now. She reported the incidence of stalking to Title IX and I had to do my first intake without really understanding what I was doing or what was happening to me. The investigator told me that as a woman I needed to be more assertive even though I showed multiple texts clearly stating how uncomfortable I was on top of the in person confrontations I had. (Participant #41, Student)
     

    I really felt so alone, especially when I was going through the Title IX process. I felt like I just had this huge weight to carry and no one to share it with or talk about this with. (Participant #41, Student)
     

    I think that going through the Title IX process was actually worse than being assaulted. I’ve never openly shared this before so I feel like I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity because it’s so fucked up. Essentially what happened to me was I reported two weeks after I was assaulted after going to a bunch of counseling and trying to just figure out what reporting was and what I wanted to do. I reported to Title IX and my case lasted for a really long time. It was supposed to end in 60 working days. On the 59th working day of my case, I got a call that my perpetrator had filed a claim against me. They actually investigated me. My investigative process was two investigations and one of them was me as a respondent. That lasted for 413 days. Once he reported against me, I was suicidal. I was not okay because they have to take everything as true. They wouldn’t dismiss it. They wouldn’t count it as retaliation. I tried to submit a claim saying that it was retaliation. He had a really great attorney and I felt just completely helpless. He actually ended up getting expelled because he lied so many times and his roommates had admitted to what he did. I’m lucky in that regard, but it’s still the whole process that I went through to get to that point was horrible. Literally them turning around and being like, “So yeah, he said you assaulted him.” That’s a tactic that I found out is being used at some other schools as well to try to get people to drop their report. It was a really horrible experience and process. I felt like the Title IX office, they just were treating me like they had no emotion towards what I was going through. I just didn’t understand how that could be allowed, for someone to come back on you in the last day of your case and so clearly be planning this. It was also very hard for me to open up about it because I was like, I already feel like people aren’t going to believe me. Now, there’s this. Additionally, I tried to reach out to legal sources. There’s none for survivors. There’s a ton of Title IX attorneys that’ll support perpetrators, but none that will support survivors. It was a very frustrating process. It was really hard to go through. I have a lot of issues with Title IX. It seriously makes things worse for people in a lot of ways. (Participant #41, Student)
     

    Shortly after this interview was conducted I was notified that due to a recent California court decision my Title IX case, which had been closed for over a year, was being remanded and that the sanctions against my perpetrator were being vacated. I don’t quite know how to explain these changes, their impacts or what my future looks like. I’ve now been in Title IX cases for more time in college than in college without an open case. I feel so broken some days it’s hard to do anything. (Participant #41, Student)
     

    After a horrible reporting process, I finally felt relief after 413 days of having a Title IX case inducing uncertainty in my academic and personal life. My perpetrator was expelled. The system "worked." I would finally have an education where my rights to freedom from violence and fear were protected and upheld. Having to push back my graduation by a year, it is difficult to look at my friends graduate. Sometimes I still feel like I’m losing because of that. Never did I think that what happened last Wednesday would be possible. After a year of being free from my perpetrator, I was notified that my case was remanded and that he will be coming back to Cal Poly. I cannot explain to you the mental health and safety issues I have been dealing with since that notification. I have never felt more powerless and broken than this point. How does someone come back if they are found guilty of raping someone else? How do people keep getting away with this? Why is it that almost every female friend I have has been sexually assaulted? Why is everyone I know disappointed with the way victims are handled and these cases are treated? (Participant #41, Student)
     

    Even though I don’t have personal experience with Title IX, I know so many stories, even just in my friend circle who I’ve met through group or just who I know outside of group, hearing what they go through makes me […] so glad that mine didn’t happen on campus. I think that would add just a whole other layer of stress, knowing that everybody from higher up doesn’t really have you in their best interest. They just want to keep statistics low and that is really unfortunate. (Participant #42, Student)
     

    In the second quarter of my freshman year, I reported my incident to Title IX. Once the Title IX investigation started, I realized that not many victims found justice in reporting. I knew it was going to be unfair because of past experiences that I had heard about. It’s been over a year and the case is still ongoing. With this investigation, it feels like I’m taking a whole other course load in a way. I’m making speeches, constantly writing down what I went through, and fighting my perpetrator in any way I can. I am having to be my own advocate. (Participant #43, Student)
     

    Title IX is supposed to follow a rule where they have 60 working days to resolve a case. I am in my spring quarter of my second year and my case still hasn’t been resolved. It’s been over a year. In December, they put my case on hold due to litigations because my perpetrator filed a lawsuit against the school after finding out his degrees were placed on hold. In that hold period, that’s when the new rules for Title IX came out. Title IX basically told me that I can either start an early resolution process where I have to make an agreement with my perpetrator on terms for him to get his degrees. He would get his degrees in exchange for him not coming on campus until I’m finished with my education at Cal Poly. The case would officially say “without a finding.” That is all Title IX offered me and I was like, “Hell no.” I met with Safer to see what the cross examination hearing would be like. It sounded awful and re-traumatizing. I wouldn’t be in the same room as my perpetrator, but there would be a Skype call in between our rooms. All of my witnesses would have to be there or call in if they were graduated. He would be able to submit questions for the hearing officer to ask me or my witnesses. I’ve just been so exhausted by this whole process that I really feel like I can’t do that as of right now. I have decided to start the early resolution process and I’ve come up with a bunch of terms in which I think would make it the most fair for him to get his degrees. These are the questions I asked Tiffany Little [the Title IX coordinator]: What the hell does it mean if that case has “no finding?” Is he not guilty or is it inconclusive? For me, “without a finding” is not respectful or accurate because they found a clear violation in his behavior. Will it show on his school record that he was guilty of anything? What sort of disciplinary options do I have? Can I mandate him to go to counseling? Is there any way we can get verification that he did a sexual assault training before he gets his degrees? Can I ban him from campus or can the school ban him from campus? What remedies can be provided to his victims? Who is getting to start the early resolution process? Is it him or me? Those were the questions I had. Tiffany said she would have to discuss with the general council for all of these questions because their rules are so new that the council has more jurisdiction over these points than her. She said she would ask them and let me know. The terms that I would like regarding [my perpetrator’s] treatment in the early resolution are: I don’t want him to participate in any alumni events including alumni band. He cannot come on campus anymore. He is not allowed to come to his girlfriend’s graduation. I want him to write a letter admitting to everything he has done to me and apologizing for it without making any excuses. I want there to be a plan put in place on how he is to seek therapy. I want him to take an education course on sexual misconduct. There has to be proof that he is enrolled in the course or has already taken it. I want the case to not show up as “without a finding” and I want these charges to go on his school record. I told them I am not willing to settle for anything less. I will go to a hearing if all of these terms are not met even though that is not something I feel as though I can handle right now. (Participant #43, Student)
     

    I actually got accommodations through [Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities]. I guess they told Title IX about what happened to me and then I told them, “You know, I don’t think it’s even worth it. I wasn’t raped, but yeah, I was assaulted so I don’t think you guys are going to take it as seriously.” I just knew, even before my assault, the culture is just not survivor-friendly. (Participant #51, Student)
     

    I just felt like [Title IX thought], “Well, there you go. Okay, thanks for reporting…even though we say we’re 51 % vs. 49% (51% on your side),” it really didn’t help me at all with my case. There were several other girls who were also involved with the same perpetrator. Most of those [cases] just all came back that there’s not enough evidence. [They] just [said] “no” basically to me. I went through that whole process and was like, wow thanks Cal Poly. Thanks for supporting me. (Participant #55, Student)
     

    That definitely affects my daily life because I don’t feel comfortable on this campus with them here. Title IX doesn’t really do anything about that. They [perpetrators] don’t get expelled. There’s people on this campus who have raped girls and they’ve gone to Title IX and they’re still on this campus. I think that’s a big deal for survivors because we have to deal with them still being here and the potential of seeing them every day. (Participant #58, Student)
     


    I know where to go, but I wouldn’t go and report them because I don’t feel like it will do any good. I think many other people feel the same way, which is why we don’t hear about it as much due to many people who have been sexually assaulted not coming forward. I definitely think Title IX should fix a lot of their problems so survivors can feel better about reporting their assaults and have a stronger support system, without feeling victim blamed. (Participant #58, Student)


        
  26. CONSENT




    And I was really drunk too so I was like, “Let’s just not,” and I told him, “No, let’s just go to sleep.” I don’t really remember if he started kissing on me or not. All I do remember for sure is that he was having sex with me at some point. I just don’t know, but I wasn’t being responsive in any way and I had to tell him “no.” (Participant #2, Student)


    I was with someone recently and they bit me too hard and I was like, “Stop,” and then they said, “Okay,” and then they did it again and I was like, “Stop,” and then they did it a third time and I was like, “Stop!,” but I almost hit them because I was really pissed about it. (Participant #3, Student)


    I started strongly insisting that we needed to stop. He stopped listening to me. I said I didn't want to. He really wanted to get off I guess so he changed positions and pushed me onto my back on the bed so he was above me. I'd never done this in this position before…I tried to say "no" because it immediately made me feel powerless. (Participant #5, Student)
     


    The very next thing I remember is he had taken off all my clothes and dragged me into the bathroom of my apartment and turned the shower on as cold as it would go and then threw me in there. He thought that giving me a cold shower would make me sober up and make what he was doing to me okay. (Participant #6, Student)
     


    We went inside the house and we ended up in his room. He ended up pushing me on the bed. I was wearing a bathing suit. He took off my clothes and then I was like, “I don’t want to do this,” because I was kind of seeing someone at the time and I also just felt really uncomfortable. And then he was like, “No it’s fine, it’ll be okay,” and I was like, “No I just don’t feel comfortable.” I kept trying to get up and then he pushed me down…and then he raped me. (Participant #8, Student)
     


    After two or three times [of saying “no”], he’d stop for five minutes maybe at most and then he’d try it again. I was like, “No, I don’t want to kiss you, especially not right now. Maybe later.” I’m pretty sure I said “no” to that kiss at least fifteen times. I just remember being under him when he was trying to kiss me. His hands were above my shoulders and I was using all my force to try to push him off. He just kind of smiled. (Participant #9, Student)
     


    His hand made his way to the waistband of my underwear and he said, “Don’t worry, I’ll check if you’re shaved enough for me” and I was like, okay well I don’t have an excuse anymore. His hands are already down my pants. He put his fingers inside me. I remember his face being near mine, and I was trying to push his face away from mine so I wouldn’t have to kiss him, and so I wouldn’t have to look at his eyes. I just didn’t want him to be near me. (Participant #9, Student)
     


    I remember studying with him and he would not stop touching me. I literally had to move myself from the table to the couch to the study room. I would say, “Can you stop touching me?” so many times and he wouldn’t. I just remember trying to take his hands off me and he just wouldn’t stop. “No no no it’s fine, come over here,” he would say. He tried to put his hand down my pants while we were studying. (Participant #9, Student)
     


    He pulled me to him. I was like, “Stop. I don’t want to.” He pulled me on top of him and he’s like, “You always want this. Why don’t you want it now?” (Participant #11, Student)
     


    I think consent and rape culture has become a partisan issue and I think that everyone here at Cal Poly needs to realize that it’s not. If a woman said something happened, then it happened. (Participant #12, Student)
     


    I wanted to hook up with him, but then the sex got extremely violent and aggressive in a way that I was not comfortable with, which I immediately verbally and physically tried to be like, “Okay no. This is not something that I’m interested in.” We can either stop or keep having sex the way that we were and not in this aggressive, violent way. He just didn’t stop so it turned into rape. My consent was revoked and he didn’t respect that. (Participant #15, Student)
     


    When I came to college my freshman year, I knew this guy and we went on a date or something. I didn’t really consent to sex at all, but we had sex and it was really rough and I was not okay after and I was bleeding. It was not good. I was pretty fucked up after that as well. (Participant #16, Student)
     


    There was another guy later that year that I was black out drunk, but I woke up in his bed so I don’t remember anything, but we had sex I guess. (Participant #16, Student)
     


    Me saying “no” didn’t matter. It wasn’t a factor. (Participant #16, Student)
     


    Consent isn’t really something people talk about very much here…or care about. (Participant #16, Student)
     


    For me, one incident was I liked a guy, he liked me, we had mutual friends, we went to parties, we both got drunk, and everything was fine. We fell asleep next to each other. Nothing happened, but then in the morning, he forced himself on me and I said “no,” but he didn’t really care that I was saying “no.” He just went ahead and took off my clothes and had sex with me. (Participant #17, Alumnus)
     


    You can hope that they’re not saying “no” and not pushing you away because they want that, but the truth is everybody should ask. (Particiant #17, Alumnus)
     


    This guy, we’d been flirting the whole night, went back to my apartment. He got really aggressive with me and I definitely was way too drunk for anything to happen. I caught him trying to take his condom off at one point. I yelled at him, but then I figured I’m really drunk and there’s nothing I can do except make him go put a condom on and just let him finished whatever he started. (Participant #18, Student)
     


    I’ve recently come to terms that I haven’t had sober sex since the incident. I’ve had post morning sex, but I haven’t met someone and really developed something with them where I was sober and able to consent. (Participant #18, Student)
     


    At one point, I had asked him if he could at least put a condom on if he had one. It was clear that this was going to happen and he didn’t. Then I was also scared. I wanted it to be over. But once it was over, I was like, oh my god…now what do I do? This is going to be terrible. I told him that I had a boyfriend. He was like, “That’s okay. He doesn’t have to know,” like it was some sort of mutual interaction and it wasn’t. (Participant #19, Student)
     


    When I was seven, my nanny who is a girl assaulted me for three years. Her mom ended up dying and she had no family so my mom invited her into our home and she lived with us. She was able to be around me for all that time and so she assaulted me for three years. (Participant #20, Alumnus)
     


    Earlier on in the night, he asked me, “Oh do you want to be friends with benefits? Do you want to have sex?” I just said “no” repeatedly and I thought he was joking. I’m like, that’s funny no way. I don’t do that. I only have sex with somebody if I’m in a relationship with them and he knew that. I helped him back to his bed and he asked if I could get him some water so I went and got him water. When I came back to give him water, he had all his clothes off and he assaulted me. He choked me and he left bruises on my arms, but he wasn’t punching me or [being] super violent. (Participant #20, Alumnus)
     


    I was kind of providing rationale on why he shouldn’t kiss me. Like no, you have a girlfriend. No, I have a boyfriend. Stuff like that. He then proceeds to get even more on top of me and was pinning me to the bed. He’s doing this super weird…he’s like humping me basically. He would rear up and come down and drag his nose and lips upon my whole body and then just hover over my lips and be like, “I just want to kiss you so bad.” Kept doing that, wouldn’t leave me alone, wouldn’t get off of me. He’s 6’2 and 180 pounds. I’m not a small girl, but there’s no way I could overpower him. (Participant #21, Alumnus)
     


    I drove to his apartment at night and he wanted to have sex. He wanted to do a different position than before and I said, “Okay I’ll try it.” I didn’t like it and I said, “Stop.” I don’t know if sometimes “Stop” is saying just go slower or don’t stop, but eventually I just laid there after saying it again. I buried my head into the pillow and remember just lying there with my eyes clenched closed waiting for him to finish. I don’t think I really realized what had happened until later that night. (Participant #22, Student)
     


    I wish that “no” was enough the first time, without an explanation. In an ideal world, a “no” is enough and it doesn’t need explanation. (Participant #23, Student)
     


    So we’re back at the after party and we start making out. That was fine. I decided ahead of time where my limit was physically for that night. We went into a side room and got to that limit and then I was like, “Okay that’s it. No more.” He was like, “Okay.” I said, “Hey just so you know, just so we’re clear, I’m not sleeping with you tonight. It’s not personal. I just don’t sleep with anybody I’m not dating. That’s just my rule. I would say that to anybody. It’s not you. Don’t beat yourself up about it.” It was very over accommodating. He was like, “Wait…seriously?” I’m like, “Yeah seriously. That’s what’s happening.” He was like, “Okay fine, whatever,” and literally left. He took a lap around the house. He literally handed me the bottle of champagne we were sharing and just took off. (Participant #24, Alumnus)
     


    We’re on the couch and we start fooling around. We got to my same point of limit. This is where I was done, whatever. This is going to get a little graphic. My limit was hand stuff. That is where I was fine with going to and then stopping. The way that we were positioned was kind of a spooning situation where he was behind me, but the back of me was facing the front of him. There were fingers there. That was going on. I suddenly felt something that was not a finger there where it should not have been. I was like, “What are you doing?” He was like, “C’mon,” and tried to put it in. I was like, “What are you doing?!” He tried to put it in again, unsuccessfully. I was like, “Stop it,” and I flipped around so I was laying on my back so he didn’t have an access point anymore. Then he got on top of me and had one hand on either side of my head. Not touching me, but they were just on the side of my head. He was like, “What are you doing? C’mon, it’s not a big deal.” I pushed him off with my arm. (Participant #24, Alumnus)
     


    I was the first person to get dropped off, but my guy friend was my neighbor so we all were standing outside of my apartment and I noticed the guy that I didn’t know wasn’t leaving. I thought that was pretty strange. I told my best friend, “Please don’t leave me. I don’t feel comfortable.” I was home alone so I was like, “I really don’t feel comfortable with this.” He left me alone with this guy. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before…being put in an uncomfortable situation like this. I put the guy on my couch and I was like, “Okay good night. You’re more than welcome to sleep on my couch.” My bedroom door locked so I figured okay, I’m going to put on my pajamas, take out my contacts. I remember I took off my pants and I think he saw me take off my pants, but I put him to bed on the couch. I didn’t even know this guy at all. Then I walked upstairs and I noticed he was in my bed. I was home alone and he was a very large man. I was going to kick him out, but I was like, “You can sleep here, but please don’t touch me. Please please please don’t touch me.” We had sex. It was not consensual. I assumed that me telling him that I didn’t want him to touch me was enough because I had never experienced anything like this before. (Participant #25, Alumnus)
     


    He asked me where I was and he came and found me by himself, which was pretty strange. That was a red flag. I was drunk, but since I had been through sexual assault recently, I was like, okay I see red flags. I know what to do. […] We walked home together so I told him, “Hey I’m assuming you’re going to want to hook up with me, but just to let you know, I don’t want to have sex with you.” I told him that multiple times. I said, “Just to let you know, you can come over and we can watch TV, but I’m not interested in doing that at all with you.” I told him that multiple times because I was like, yeah I’m going to be really straight forward that I don’t want this. I would’ve never dreamed that it would happen again within literally two months. Then we were hanging out and I essentially just tried to fall asleep so he would leave and he wouldn’t leave. I started throwing up and I figured that would make him leave because no one wants to be around a girl who’s throwing up. I don’t know if I was capable of taking care of myself, but I remember he helped me put on my pajamas. I was like, “I told you I don’t want to hook up with you at all.” He didn’t listen. (Participant #25, Alumnus)


    Making sure that things are consensual is the most sexy thing ever. It’s such a good thing. That’s my personal opinion. If the person’s like, “If you are uncomfortable, we can stop.” That’s just like, oh you actually care, that’s really great. That should be normalized. It’s healthy. To me, it’s positive. Those practices should really be more put in place because it’s healthy, you’re being safe, and it’s just good. (Participant #27, Student)
     


    I’m kind of blurry on what exactly happened, but there was basically a kickback across the street and I somehow got there. That’s where it happened. In the moment, I was conscious, but I was not really able to…I was just kind of there. After, he kept trying to follow me. He kept calling me, but I just went back to my dorm and I told the friends I was with what had happened. (Participant #28, Student)
     


    One night, I spent the night fully clothed. There’s a time and a place where I’m not clothed, but when I’m with this person, I don’t see a romantic interest. You know? We stopped talking over a year ago. For some reason, it’s just that manipulation that came back to me. I spent the night and I remember being asleep and waking up to them putting their fingers in me. You just don’t do that. I’m sorry. I just slept and just didn’t want to…because I had been with this person for two years so I knew how they would react…I was just like, just let it go. It’s not as bad as what you’ve been through. I’ve had him put other things in other areas [so I felt like] it’s not that bad. (Participant #31, Student)
     


    They’re like, “Hey, what happened?” It’s like, “You stuck your fingers in me while I’m sleeping. What do you mean what happened?” You just don’t do that. I don’t understand what goes on through your mind to just do that to someone when they’re sleeping. It’s one thing to caress my head like, okay you’re sleeping, you’re comfortable. I’m going to caress you to make sure you’re fine…your head. It’s like, you don’t caress my bodily parts that you don’t have the right to see, especially when they’re clothed. (Participant #31, Student)
     


    It was my first quarter here at Cal Poly. I was dating someone who was originally from my hometown who I had been with for almost four years at the time. He was very violent. He had a lot of problems with alcohol and drug abuse as well as his own mental health. Sometimes he would make me have sex with him when I didn’t want to. One time when I argued with him about it, he just pushed me down on the bed and forced me to. It hurt really bad. It wasn’t in the usual place. That was really scary. He didn’t finish. He just went long enough to hurt me…just to punish me because he was angry. I tried to scream, but he covered my mouth. Afterwards, I had internal bleeding for three days. I never went to the hospital and got it treated. I was scared of what he’d do to me. (Participant #32, Student)
     


    This guy, my ex-boyfriend, would just force me to do things that I was really not ready for. I was fifteen and he awakened my sexuality so early on and I’ve always had a weird relationship with my sexuality where I always felt super ashamed of my sex drive. He just took advantage of that because I had no experience and forced me to do all these degrading things for him. (Participant #33, Alumnus)
     


    I think people just don’t understand what assault is or what it looks like. It’s a nuanced thing, but it’s not hard to understand. People think like, oh she said “yes.” That’s the magic word; therefore, everything’s okay. Well she never said “no.” Literally actually think, does this person want to because they actually want to? Am I forcing them? Am I coercing them? Are they okay? Are they sober? Is this going to be something later along in our relationship where they’re going to be like, “Fuck you, you raped me,”…? I hate how these guys are like, “You can’t even tell anymore. Someone says she’s interested and then she’ll fucking call the police the next day.” It’s like, you really didn’t see any of it coming? Think again. If we really seriously consider the times we actually were in a position to give consent, I think a lot of us would find that we were robbed of that. (Participant #33, Alumnus)
     


    We need to have people understand it’s not this black and white thing. Like oh if you say “no,” then that’s the only way that it counts as an assault. Or if you say “yes,” that automatically makes it not an assault. I don’t think people understand. All the pubic really sees is “no” means “no” [and] “yes” means “yes,” but that’s still going to have people taking advantage of that. (Participant #33, Alumnus)
     


    I was with a group of three or four of my really close friends and we were drinking. At the end of the night, I was just going to stay on the couch. This was in PCV. In the middle of the night, one of my closer friends came out of the room. They were going to the bathroom and then they came over. They started trying to make a move and I clearly said “no.” They continued and I was pretty drunk. […] I don’t talk to that person anymore, but it was a complete rape. No one else was there. They were all in the apartment, but no one was there with me. Nobody came out of their rooms. I don’t know if anyone heard or anything, but that was the worst part. Nobody did anything or said anything. I just left the next day. (Participant #34, Alumnus)
     


    But the fact that I didn’t participate at all, the fact that I was completely ready to go to sleep, and that there was someone else in the room…I’m sure everyone goes back and says, okay well I was drinking. It’s not like he just came in and it was some random stranger that broke into the room or anything like that. I mean there’s definitely some things I could’ve done to help protect myself, but I ultimately know that it wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t a terrible person that was taking advantage of someone that was unconscious. There’s been other guys in the same situation and that never happened so I know it’s possible for that to not happen. (Participant #38, Alumnus)
     


    I repeatedly told him, “I don’t want to have sex with you.” He said, “Of course not.” Once we got upstairs he didn’t turn the lights on, even though I kept asking him to do so. Once on the bed, he got on top of me and kept kissing me, which I was still enjoying and okay with. Then he started to touch me all over and at some point was able to pull down my pants. He kept saying “I know you like it.” I asked him what he was doing, and I just kind of kept going with it, not thinking it would go any further than that. This all happened so quickly that I didn’t even have a chance to react other than repeatedly saying, “I don’t want to have sex with you.” I still thought he was going to respect me and listen. While he was kissing and fingering me he had managed to take off his pants. I’m honestly not really sure how. It’s like he was used to doing this or something, taking advantage of girls I mean. At one point he was fingering me so much that I thought he had put himself inside of me. I freaked out and he assured me it was just his finger, saying I would know if it was his dick. He just kind of laughed it off. A minute or so went by and that’s when he pushed himself inside me. No warning, no asking. He just did it. Shortly after I think I kind of went into fight or flight and I started crying. I tried to be quiet about it but once he heard me he pulled away and asked what was wrong. I tried to come up with some bullshit excuse about why I didn’t want to keep on going. That I was scared to get close to someone and get in a relationship again and that’s why I was crying. I now realize looking back that I just didn’t have the words to tell him how I really felt. It all happened so fast. He was trying to convince me, “I’m a relationship type of guy.”  After I calmed down and stopped crying he told me that my crying had turned him on. That’s when he got back on top of me to finish. (Participant #42, Student)
     


    I was out drinking with friends and then we got separated. I ended up going home with someone who I met outside of where I was drinking. At this point, I was pretty intoxicated. When we got back to his house, basically very shortly [after getting there], we were having sex and I was half there I guess I would say. When all was said and done, he came inside of me and it was disgusting. I remembered that because I had been travelling, my birth control was inactive because of the medication I took to prevent malaria. I was freaking out. There was no consent in whether or not that was going to happen. No questions. Again later that night, I fell asleep a little bit and I remember being woken up and he was on top of me demanding I spread my legs. Then he came inside of me again. (Participant #44, Student)
     


    I don’t know whether I was drugged or not. I’m assuming I was because I usually know how to handle my liquor and I’ve heard that when you’re drugged, it’s a really gross hangover that lasts for many days and that’s exactly how I felt. I just don’t remember long periods of time. Even when I black out, I usually remember parts of it. But basically when I woke up (I was studying abroad in Prague), I was an hour outside of Prague in somebody’s house that I didn’t know and I freaked out and was like, where the fuck am I? I sat up and just threw up everywhere and then I kind of knocked out again. When I came to the next time, I was naked on his couch. I knew he was there, but then I kept going back in and out of consciousness. When I came to again, we were both naked and he was on top of me. I honestly don’t know whether or not we had sex. I know he was doing other things. (Participant #46, Student)
     


    There’s a small third [incident], which was when I lost my virginity. I was sleeping with this guy who I trusted. I went over to his house to have sex with him, but I was super drunk and I would’ve consented with him either way, but his friend was there and I didn’t know that either until I got there. He was like, “Okay, he’ll just wait outside.” I’m like, “Okay.” After we had sex, I went to sleep in his bed and next thing I woke up, his friend was having sex with me too.
     


    At this time, I had never really drank before. I was drinking a lot and smoking weed at the same time so I got crossed. Basically I had my first black out. In the middle of the night, I woke up in [my ex’s] bed in his dorm room. We were at a completely different building before. I had none of my clothes on and I felt weird. I felt violated if that makes sense. I felt like something had been taken away from me that I didn’t even know that I had to be taken away from me. That was my sexuality and my dignity, which I later found out was taken away from me. I woke up in the middle of the night, probably around 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., and I’m like, “Where are my clothes? How did we get back here?” He goes, “Oh I brought you back here. I just figured that you’d want to have sex.” I’m like, “Did you ask me?” He’s like, “You were pretty blacked out, but I just assumed it was fine. We’re dating.” (Participant #52, Student)
     


    I’m going to get picked up in Dublin, get taken home, and I’m going to go get tested and see if maybe I was raped or something. I wanted clarity and help. As I was getting dressed, he gets up and angrily asks, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “I’m leaving. You assaulted me. I don’t know what you did to me, but you did something to me that I was not okay with.” At this time, I didn’t understand what consent was. I didn’t understand what any of this was. I had to learn through my situation. From there, he got really aggressive and he actually started hitting me. He started to push me around his room. From there, he forcibly started trying to take off my clothes and rape me again. With that, I was able to fight [him] off and I was screaming and his roommate came in because he lived in a suite style apartment. He was able to get him off. (Participant #52, Student)
     


    I go and talk to [the perpetrator]. I literally just pull my shirt up and I’m like, “Did you do this to me?” He just looked at me. I’m like, “I thought you said we didn’t do anything.” He goes, “Well like, we made out.” “Well then why did I find blood on my underwear?” He was like, “Well, I can’t explain that. Maybe you started your period?” I’m like, “No I’m on the pill actually and I’m not supposed to start for another two weeks and it hurts.” He’s like, “Honestly I was so blacked last night, I don’t have a lot of recollection.” I’m like, “Just because you’re blacked doesn’t mean it’s consensual. If I’m not okay to give you consent, then you didn’t need to do that.” (Participant #52, Student)
     


    I got up to get something from my room and the next thing I know, he’s pulling me down on top of him and he’s sitting and shoving his hand down my pants. In that moment, I still don’t really know how this happened, but I managed to punch him in the face and get away. I just ran and got [my friend]. (Participant #54, Alumnus)
     


    He ended up picking me up from the dorms and we went to SLODOCO and then went back to his apartment and he made me a drink. Still don’t know what was in it. I had only ever smoked weed once before and he was like, “Do you want to get high or anything?” I was like, “Eh, I’m not really sure.” That combined with drinking…at that point, I didn’t really have a tolerance for alcohol either. I was like, “I don’t really know.” He was like, “Oh here, just try it. It’ll be fine. It’s fun trust me.” I was like, “Alright…,” as he’s shoving a bong in my face. I’m not entirely sure how many times he refilled my glass. I kind of stopped drinking it because I was feeling like, oh god… I also was super high really fast because it was the second time I had ever done it. I was like, alright I feel funny. At that point, I just remember him saying, “I bet you’ve never made out while you’re high.” I was just not responsive at this point. I was just kind of lying there and then I was like, “I just need to lay here.” The next thing I know, he was on top of me and I blacked out. I woke up naked in his bed the next morning. I had no idea where I even was. (Participant #54, Alumnus)
     


    I was totally drunk and out of it. He pushed me on my roommate’s bed and that’s when it happened. The second incident was a couple of months later…same guy. Drinking had been involved again. We were alone in a room together. I was lying on the ground and I could feel his hand on my butt and then it crept to my [vagina]. There was no penetration because I had clothes on that time, but the first time, I didn’t. (Participant #56, Student)
     


    The first one being a family’s friend (an older friend). When my family first came here, my mom didn’t have a car so he would give us rides and he would drive us around sometimes when my mom was at work. One day he was dropping me off and he was really nice to me. I was hugging him towards the end. He started touching me and then he asked me to sit on his lap and he was just groping me. I was like, what the fuck? (Participant #57, Student)
     


    I was so intoxicated to the point where I couldn’t really consent. This person, maybe because their tolerance is different than mine, he asked for consent, but not in a genuine way. I was too high to the point where I couldn’t move. I couldn’t consent. I just let it happen. (Participant #57, Student)
     


    It was a three bedroom dorm with two people so I was going to sleep on the extra bed. He was like, “Oh do you want to sleep on my bed on the top bunk because it’s warmer?” I was like, “Yeah that’s fine.” I thought we were going to swap places. I moved up onto the top bunk. I thought he was going to move down, but he didn’t move down. It was fine with me because I grew up all my life sharing a bed with my mom so it didn’t really occur to me that this person had other intentions, especially for someone who’s religious and had been such a good friend to me all year. I remember being asleep and waking up to this person’s hand in my pants and I was like, “What the fuck?” Literally out of all the people that I have known, this is the last person I would’ve expected to do this kind of thing. (Participant #57, Student)


    We went back to my apartment because my roommate was gone. I kind of thought it was going to be a couch situation, but then he just climbed into my bed, which was the bottom bunk of a bunk bed and there was not a ton of space. It was very squished. There was a laptop on top of both of us and he was like, “We’re going to play a game.” I was like, “Okay…what game?” He was like, “We’ll follow the rules of a drinking game, but every time someone does one of the drinking game rules, we remove an article of clothing.” I was like, “I don’t know if I want to play this game.” He was like, “No, we’re going to play this game.” I was like, “Okay…I guess we’re going to play this game…” because I don’t know…I hadn’t really felt that kind of attention before and I hadn’t been intimate with a guy and I was really fucking stoned and I didn’t know what was going on. I just wanted to watch Harry Potter dude. We started watching and wouldn’t you have it, the drinking game we chose had a lot of moments such as those. The first one happens, he takes off his shirt and I was like, why is this happening…? The second one happens and he was like, “Now you take off your shirt.” I didn’t really want to take off my shirt so he took my shirt off for me. I don’t honestly remember a ton of it now. I just remember that I really wanted to watch the movie, but a couple minutes later, the laptop was on the ground next to the bed and he was on top of me making out with me and I wasn’t wearing anything except underwear. He also wasn’t wearing anything except underwear. I was like, okay, [we’ve only made out] while drunk….we haven’t done this. I had said before we were horizontal, “Just so you know, I still don’t want to have sex with you. I don’t want to have sex with you right now or at all.” We were making out and the next thing I knew, my underwear was pushed aside and his dick was inside me without a condom obviously. (Participant #60, Student)