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EDITOR'S NOTE: This story contains details of sexual assault. Reader discretion is advised. 

I never thought that one day I would sit down and write this, but with the recent events that have occurred on EKU’s campus the last two months, I feel that I must. To the girls, the victims of these tragic crimes that were committed by men that you trusted, I am sorry you went through something like that, and I feel for you.  

From the moment that you say no, you are not given any person permission to continue the acts that they are committing. If said person still continues after you say no, they are taking your consent away from you. And the acts that they commit, will stay with you for the rest of your life. I have been there, trust me. It’s not the greatest feeling in the world. 

Two years ago in the fall semester of my sophomore year, I met a guy on Tinder. I know what you’re thinking. Tinder is just a place for hooking up, which  is not entirely false. 

But as a young sophomore who had just broken things off with her boyfriend and was learning to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, I just wanted to see what was out there. That's when I met him, though. We’ll call him John Doe. 

John Doe and I had been talking about a week before we ever hung out. During our conversations on Snapchat, I never got any feeling that something bad was going to happen. He was sweet, and called me pretty, which many men never did, and still don’t do. He made me smile, and whenever I had a bad day, I knew that he would do whatever he could to make it better, and he did. 

Soon enough, we made plans to hangout. Everything was set in stone. We were going to lunch before he worked a shift at Cooper’s, a now closed-down restaurant next to Ollie’s. He was going to pick me up, because at the time, I hadn’t saved up money for a car. 

The night before the date, he texted me and told me to come outside. He was waiting in the parking lot of Walters Hall, my dorm. John Doe had been on his way to work, and wanted to see me in person before our planned date the next day. 

I remember grabbing my keys and mask off the hook that hung next to my door. I was giddy, happy and excited to meet him in person, because you can only learn so much talking through a phone. I was nervous, butterflies were running through my stomach. This was my first time meeting a guy in person that I had met off a dating app. 

When I saw him outside sitting in his truck, I should have stopped and turned around, but I didn't. First impressions mean a lot to me, and the state of his truck should have been the first red flag to me.  Instead though, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. 

The cab of the truck was messy. There were clothes and dirty socks, trash and receipts littering the floor. John Doe opened the passenger door for me to get in, but I didn’t. I stood outside instead. 

John and I talked for an hour in that parking lot until it began to rain. We asked one another basic questions eagerly wanting to learn more. . I was comfortable, and I laughed more than I did since my ex and I had broken up. 

John eventually left and went to work that night. We texted and snapped each other until I was the first person to fall asleep. 

The next morning, I woke up and got ready for our date. I have never put more effort into my appearance than I did that day. . I wanted to look good, to have someone really notice me for me, and he did that. 

I showered that morning, brushed my hair, wore earrings and even a little makeup, which I never did before. I sprayed perfume, and looked at myself over and over in the mirror, trying to convince myself that I actually looked pretty. And I did. 

John Doe then texted me and said he was outside. I ran down the stairs and out the front door as fast as I could where his truck was waiting. I opened the passenger door and got in. The truck's appearance hadn’t changed from the night before. It was still messy and full of trash.

John Doe had the radio on low as we made small talk on our way to Buffalo Wild Wings (B Dubs). He learned that I was from Ohio and that I was studying to be a multimedia journalist. I told him about my family, my interests, that I was a band kid in high school. He knew it all. 

Things were going great, until we got to B Dubs. 

This was a time where most businesses required customers to wear a mask. John Doe didn’t have one. He searched through his car, from the floor, to the dashboard, and even the glove box of his truck. When he opened his glove box, there was a strip of Trojan condoms sitting there as though they had been  freshly placed there that morning. 

I giggled when I saw the condoms. I was nervous, and when I am in awkward situations I giggle to make it less awkward. He did his best to shove the condoms away and close the glovebox quickly, though. 

Still no mask, John Doe got out of his truck, and opened my door for me. The door handle on my side was a little broken, and I wouldn’t have been able to figure it out. At the time, I just thought that he was being a gentleman. 

We went inside and he put on his mask, sitting down  quickly. For a Saturday afternoon, the place was nowhere near full. Our waiter, Ethan, was super sweet and funny. 

When it came time to order, John Doe ordered a Blue Hawaiian, an alcoholic beverage. He was 22 at the time, and I didn’t see such a big issue with it. I was only 19, so I  ordered a Cherry Coke. 

We made more small talk as our food arrived. I let him do most of the talking as I picked through my chicken tenders and fries. The small talk was fine, and he asked important questions that one would on a date, until it became more personal. 

John Doe then started asking about my sex life. I am going to be completely honest with you. At this point in my life, I had no sexual experience whatsoever. My parents always taught me it was better to wait until marriage to have sex. 

I was honest with him and I told him that I was a virgin. He, on the other hand, was not. I didn’t mind that he asked me that, but I became uncomfortable when he started asking me other things that I will not mention. John Doe had only drank half a glass of his Blue Hawaiian, and was already tipsy. 

He kept bringing it up, asking me, and making little jokes that I did not find funny. The more I sat in that booth , the more uncomfortable I became.

Before we decided to leave, John Doe went to the bathroom. At this point, I decided to pull my phone out for the first time, and check my text messages. My friends from back home were invested in my love life, and had been asking questions about him. I remember telling them that I wasn’t feeling it anymore and that I didn’t think it would work out.

John Doe came back from the bathroom, paid for both of our meals, and we left. Back at his truck, he opened my door, and I got in. When he got into the driver seat, he just sat there, and we stared at each other. 

I waited for him to start the truck, so we could leave. He on the other hand had other plans. Instead of turning the ignition, he cupped both of my cheeks with his hands. The next thing I knew, his lips were on mine, and I definitely didn’t want that. 

Frozen and unable to move, I closed my eyes, and somehow found the courage to pull away. I never saw the look in his eyes, but from his body language, I knew he was disappointed. 

John Doe eventually started the truck and we made our way back to campus. 

During the long drive on the Eastern Bypass, the ride was silent. I didn’t look at him. Instead, I stared straight ahead of me, praying that nothing else would take place. I was wrong again. 

John Doe placed his hand on my thigh, caressing it as he drove. I didn’t move, didn’t act. I should have acted faster, though. Instead, he made the inappropriate jokes again, pointed in a place that he had no right to, and repeated the thigh caressing, getting closer and closer to my hip and other body parts. 

I managed out the words “please stop,” but he didn’t. He kept his hand on my thigh, continuing the motion. I told him two more times to stop, but he didn’t. Not until I pushed him away. 

I remember him asking me towards the end of the ride back to my dorm, “Are you having fun?” I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t. I was shaking in my seat, hoping to get as far away from him as I could. 

When he pulled onto University Drive on campus, I made him stop the truck in front of the Daniel Boone statue. I fumbled with the door, fighting to get it open, but I couldn't because it was broken. He reached over me, hit the handle and I got out of the truck. 

I never ran faster than I did that day. I ran to my friend who was waiting for me, and inside her dorm room  I cried, because I couldn’t wrap my head around what had just happened. 

After that day, I blocked John Doe on every social media platform. My plan was to never see him again. 

Plans change, though. 

For two weeks after that date, John Doe followed me around campus. One night, he caught me coming out of Wallace after my night class while he was driving through campus. I knew he saw me, because he turned back around and drove the opposite direction on the same street. I, on the other hand, ran up the stairs behind the Whalin Building , so that he couldn’t see me. 

There were other times where he would sit, watch, and stare at me. 

Eventually he stopped, and I was grateful. 

I wish I had reported that incident, but I didn’t.  I was scared to report what he did because even though he didn’t rape me, he still sexually assaulted me. 

If you’ve made it through this much of my story, there’s one thing that I want you to take from this. One. Never let anyone make you feel the way that he made me feel. Speak up for yourself. Say  “no.” Say “stop.” If they don’t listen, do your best to get away. Make as much noise as possible, so that someone else can help you. And please, if you ever experience this, make sure that you tell someone, and report it. That’s the only way that you will ever feel safe. 

When you are sexually active with a partner, make sure both parties consent. Consent isn’t always a simple “yes” or “no.” Having sex with your partner while they are drunk, or blacked out is not consent. Holding them in their room, and not leaving after they’ve told you multiple times to leave is not consent. Even when they say yes, and change their mind halfway through,  if you still continue, that is not consent. 

Learn the signs and never be afraid to ask your partner if they are okay with what is taking place. 

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, harassment, or rape, please report it to someone. 

If you ever feel like you need to talk to someone, especially someone on campus, please feel free to reach out to the Counseling Center by calling (859) 622-1303. 

For more information on consent or sexual assault go to https://www.wlsnsw.org.au/resources/sexual-assault/what-is-sexual-assault/

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