© 2018 by Kate Ryan.

It was February. 

The night of the Super Bowl my freshman year. 

My roommate and I had gone upstairs to a party. 

Everyone was drinking. 

 

Someone that I had been in a class with the past semester had asked me, "Hey, can I come hang out with you?" 

We'd kind of hung out before. 

Just talked outside of class in an outdoor setting.

He was like, "Can I meet you at your room?" 

I was like, “That's fine.”

He doesn't know the people I'm with.  

I'll get him, and we'll go back up there.

 

I didn't think of bringing anyone. 

I was sitting in my room waiting for him when he knocked on the door. 

I said, "You can come in." 

And that's where everything went wrong. 

 

I had an empty wine bottle in my hand.

I went to put it down on my desk right next to my bed.

That's when he came over, and he pushed me down onto my bed. 

 

It's hard for me to remember unless something triggers it. 

I developed PTSD from it. 

I can see him now anywhere, can spot him anywhere. 

Back of the head, side, anything.

I know it's him. 

It's the worst feeling in the world.

 

Hs last words to me were, "I hope you're on birth control."

And [he] walked right out of my room.

 

*

 

I immediately texted my roommate and was like, “You need to come here.  I need help.” 

I couldn't move. 

I was crying. 

She didn't know what happened, but she was already crying.

The room we were upstairs in was a guy that she liked. 

I guess the guy had invited someone else over that he liked and was hugging her and kissing her. 

She came down and sat next to me on the floor and was like, "I can't believe how bad this night went." 

I was like, "Me either." 

 

And I just lost it and ran out of my room. 

There's a little corner stairwell that twists up. 

I went to the very bottom and sat down. 

I called this boy that I had been talking to. 

“I need you to come here.  Something happened.” 

 

I was shaking. 

I was throwing up. 

I couldn’t control anything. 

And he didn't know what to do either. 

 

He called one of his friends who I think was a resident assistant. 

I don't really remember anything that people were saying to me then. 

The one thing I remember is she took off her coat. 

She had a puffy jacket on.

She wrapped it around me and held me. 

And it was the safest I've ever felt. 

 

She had called public safety. 

And that's when I couldn't handle any more of the night. 

Too many people were coming up to me.

"What happened?” 

And I just started screaming. 

I was telling people, “I just want to take a shower.  Just leave me alone.” 

 

That's when one of my other RA's had come over. 

She brought out a coloring book and some crayons.

“Allie, you like to draw.  Let's just do something else for a little bit. 

You can talk to anyone else tomorrow, the next day, when you feel comfortable.” 

So I colored for a little while. 

And then I went to bed.

{Allie said no one asked if she wanted to go to the hospital or police because of how frantic she was in the moment.}

 

The following days I'd gotten calls from the women's center, public safety officers saying, "What do you want to do?" 

In that moment I didn't know what I wanted to do.

It's been a couple of years since, and I still don't know what I want to do. 

 

I was told everything I'd have to go through in order to prosecute this person.

He would also have to be in there. 

I can't even stand to see him 20, 30, 40, 50, 100 feet away. 

My post-traumatic stress disorder kicks right back in. 

 

I've been in our dining hall, sitting, eating. 

And I immediately froze.

I dropped my fork.   

I looked over to my left and he was right there, yelling for one of his friends that there was an empty table. 

I couldn't move. 

Tears started falling down, and my arms started shaking. 

My friend's boyfriend and my boyfriend both had to pick me up and carry me out.

 

So I don't think, at least for me, I'm able to go through that. 

Maybe later this year. 

Maybe next year. 

I know I can take as long as I want while I'm at college. 

But right now? 

No.

 

*

 

That Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday I did not leave my bed. 

I barely ate besides what my roommate was bringing to me.

She would bring me some bagels, some fruit. 

 

The first time I got out of bed was because I called my father, who I'm not particularly close with. 

I lived with my mom, and he was further away. 

I felt weird calling my mom. 

I felt like it was harder to tell her. 

And I wanted to tell someone in my family. 

He told my stepmother right away who then called my mom. 

 

As soon as my mom found out she started freaking out. 

"Did he ejaculate in you?" 

And I had said yes. 

And that's when my mom was like, "You've got to take something. 

Or we've got to go to the hospital. 

Because that's not what you want right now." 

And I was like, "You're right.  I just don't know what to do.” 

I'd never had anything like this happen to me. 

My mom made me go out with her to get Plan B.  

We had dinner together, and she talked to me at home, and then I came back here.

 

It's harder to talk to people that are closest to you about the most personal things that happened to you. 

Even though they’re your family. 

They gave me life. 

They know everything. 

But it's just harder. 

 

I don't really talk to anyone about it actually. 

The only couple of times I do is when I see him or when I'm intoxicated. 

This is actually one of the first times I'm talking about it sober. 

 

In the beginning I was definitely turning to alcohol more. 

I just either wanted to be asleep or not sober. 

I took a couple of months the following summer, and I didn't touch alcohol. 

It really helped me slow down a bit.

When I finally came back to school last fall it wasn't like I had to be drunk or anything. 

It was more so going out. 

It would definitely come out more if I saw him recently. 

My friends knew that was trigger. 

If I spotted him, no drinking. 

 

*

 

All my classes were later in in the evening. 

And since it was winter, it was dark out, I did not feel comfortable. 

I had classes with two of my RA's, and both of them would walk me to and back.

One of them specifically—he's a grade above me—he would walk me to my room, would stand in the doorway, would tell me to have a good night and to text if I needed him. 

That made me feel really awesome.

 

There were also days I just couldn't get up and go. 

And that was pretty hard on my grades. 

Towards finals, I was just like, "You have to keep going. 

Just push yourself. 

It will distract you if you go to the library. 

It will distract you if you just ground yourself in these books." 

And that's what I started doing.

So my grades got better.

There's a certain cologne that he was wearing that, to this day, if I smell I freak out. 

I don't know what kind of cologne it is, but when I smell it, that's all I can think of. 

And there's certain noises during sex that if I hear freak me out. 

Because they were noises he was making. 

And being touched in certain places.

Definitely in my neck area, because he was touching me a lot there. 

 

Immediate shaking, my hands my arms my legs if I was sitting. 

I'd start to cry and panic. 

Sometimes I felt like I couldn't breathe. 

It was like a panic attack but worse.

 

I had just met my boyfriend at the time when it happened. 

In the beginning I couldn't touch him. 

He couldn't touch me. 

Sometimes it was ok.

And then other times he'd touch me the wrong way, and I had to leave.

I had to go to bed.

I had to do something away from him. 

And that was hard for a couple of months. 

 

*

 

I used to practice meditation in high school. 

After this happening, I realized that doing deeper breathing and just trying to calm my mind helped me a lot. 

And also arts and crafts. 

 

They actually had a survivor program. 

They had just started it the year that it happened to me. 

There was only me and two other girls. 

We would do crafts together and writing and just talk. 

It was nice. 

They didn't offer it again. 

I'm not sure if it's hard because not that many people go or want to talk about it. 

 

*

 

I'm in a sorority. 

Alpha Omicron Pi. 

We do something in my sorority called "Cross the line." 

Someone will say something personal, and you'll have to cross the line if it happened to you. 

I would have girls coming up to me telling me that they love me, that they think I'm an amazing person, that I'm going to go places, that they're always here for me. 

Their support has helped me through more than anything else. 

They always help me make my light shine even in the darkest times like this. 

I'm studying literary and cultural studies.

I'm actually currently writing a novel on this. 

I have about 6 chapters now. 

It's taken me a while. 

If I was more anxious, I'd go into the anxiety it brought on. 

If I was depressed that day, I'd go into the depression it brought. 

If I happened to be triggered that day, it was easier to talk about the assault itself rather than going to it on a good day and then feeling awful afterwards. 

It was better to run with the emotions when they were happening.

 

I took a class last semester on sexuality and culture. 

The first video that we had to watch was “Hunting Ground.” 

And that's when I started to care more about being at this school.

That's when I started working more on my book. 

I want to be someone that can help other people. 

I want to be an advocate. 

Being here, and showing people that you can take back your life, means a lot to me.

‚Äč

-Allie