© 2018 by Kate Ryan.

The first assault I experienced happened in 2011. 

I was 18 at the time.

 

It was summer time.

I went to a house party with someone I had known in elementary school.

We reconnected over Facebook of all places.

 

I have never really been much of a drinker.

But this time—it was probably one of the first parties I'd ever been to in my life—I said ok.

I did drink quite a bit more than I was used to.

 

Everyone was in the back of the house, and I went inside to use the restroom. 

 

And this stranger was waiting, I think, outside of the door.

And he pushed me back into the bathroom. 

And since I was drunk, I did not fight back. 

I did not try and say no.

And that was where he assaulted me.

 

When he was done he left the bathroom.

 

*

 

This person I had met that night, we were hitting it off.

He saw me when I came back outside, and he's like, “Something's wrong.  What happened?”  And I told him.

 

He brought me back into the house and he made me tell him everything.

He told other people who happened to be in the house at the time what happened and who to look for.

And they found him outside.

 

They brought him back into the house, into the room.

And my friend took out his phone and made a video of himself asking this person,

"Did you know she was drunk?  Did you know what you did?" 

And he said yes both times.

But he didn't speak English very well.

So I don't really know how much he actually understood.

I actually still have that video.

 

*

 

I was in denial.

I refused an ambulance.

I said, “Don't take me anywhere, don't do anything.  Just take me home.”

I didn't tell my parents.

I did have serious flashbacks.

 

I was still eating, but I was really restricting the number of calories.

So I lost a lot of weight.

It took me a really long time to realize what it was, but it was an eating disorder.

 

*

 

That school year I started dating someone.

He was the person who actually convinced me to report it.

He drove me to counseling.

 

This person decided that he also liked my roommate who happened to be my best friend and said "I would like to date you both."

And I hope that the only reason I said yes was that I was in such a state of mind at that time that I went along with it.

It was an emotionally abusive relationship.

 

My friends all hated this person.

I say “this person” because at the time this person was biologically female.

The detective at the SVU asked me when I first went to report (because they came with me) if the assault was why I was dating her.

…If you want to talk about inappropriate questions.

 

When we broke up, she said, “I brought you to counseling. 

I put up with your not sleeping, with your eating disorder, and this is what happens.”

The only person who I opened up to about it made me feel so guilty for sharing and for "putting her through that," so to speak.

 

*

 

I don't remember if the detective asked me if he could interview the other people there and I said no or he didn't ask at all.

I'm hoping that he asked and I said no, because if not that's an awful way to conduct an investigation.

 

Another journalism student I was connected to—

She helped me follow up and ask for what the police call the DD-5's to see what the detective did or didn't do.  

The only thing in the whole DD-5 report was the original report that I received before and a letter, signed by me, saying I would never pursue it again.

I reported it in March of 2012.

The second happened in August of 2012.

 

This was a person that I had worked with.

It was a restaurant.

I was a hostess.

He was a server working towards being promoted to being a manager.

 

He asked me out on a date and I said yes.

So we went to have dinner.

He asked me if I wanted to spend some time at a hotel, and I said ok.

 

*

 

We slept together. 

The second time he was ready, he didn't have another condom, and neither did I. 

So I said, no, I don't want to do it.

He over 6 feet tall and pretty big.

So he did it anyway, without a condom, a second time.

 

*

 

I never went to sleep that night.

I told another person that I work with.

He called the cops for me. 

They took me to a hospital in Queens.

And the nurses there did a rape kit.

 

The nurses asked me what I was doing. 

They said to me, “If he had had protection again, you would have slept with him. 

So what's the problem?”

 

I think from that point I shut down.

I couldn't handle it.

They made me think this isn't really an assault.

 

*

 

When I went to the detective and I told him what happened, and he said, “Do you want him arrested?”

I said, “No.” 

Because i heard his questions in my head. 

I heard the nurses asking these things. 

I'm like, how could I do anything about it? 

Because this is what everyone in authority is saying.

 

I read the complaint report for the second time, and I got the lack of follow-up report.

He quoted me in the second report and said that I said that, “I don't want him locked up.” 

So he didn't do anything else.

And the same letter is signed for that time too.

 

He said the first time,

"We can't find this person. 

There's nothing else we can do.”

So sign this to cover my butt pretty much. 

That I'll never pursue it again and I'll never try and do anything.

 

The second letter says the same thing.

"I don't want this person arrested. 

I don't want to pursue it any further, so I'm going to never go near it again.”

 

I have a very distinct memory of him holding up both of the letters that I had signed

He held both of them up, and he looked at me and he said,

"Katie, you're a beautiful woman.  Make better decisions."

More than flashbacks, I remember thinking that it felt like a movie, that the whole thing was just playing over and over again.

Most of the time it was an out of body experience. 

I think mostly because I couldn't handle being in it. 

 

*

 

While I was in college, when the first assault happened, I started volunteering for a riding program.

It was a lot of spending time with horses.

I was feeling useful. 

I connected really well with the kids. 

I was able to help them. 

It was probably the only thing that kept me sane.

 

A lot of working out and running and just being active.

It made me not so much up in my head.

 

*

 

I do think it's affected my relationships.

I try not to let it, but I do think it does.

 

It affects the way I'm intimate with people, although I think that's lessened.

I've gotten more comfortable and less afraid.

 

I feel confident I guess when I'm dancing.

I may not be that great at it but I love doing it.

 

What I wear.

When I was younger I was such a tomboy.

I've become more willing to experiment and to be a little bolder.

And I enjoy it.

 

*

 

Being part of RAINN was probably one of the best decisions I've made in a long time.

The first event that I went to with RAINN was a play done about sexual assault on campus.

I was part of a panel afterwards.

Which for me was really big.

 

I did another interview recently with another journalist who interviewed sexual assault survivors and the impact of the assault on eating disorders.

I found quite a few similar stories to mine.

Which at the same time is sad, but it was a great community for me.

 

*

 

Now life is pretty good.

I am training for a marathon.

I am going to be an aunt two times over.

I'm graduating in May with my master's degree in rehabilitation counseling.

 

I'm interested in working for a small mental health agency and getting my hours toward my mental health license.

And for rehab counseling, I can become certified as a CRC.

So I would like to have both.

Eventually, I will start my own practice.

 

-Katie