Second Place Writing – Editorials


Columnist recalls rape in hopes of helping others overcome fears

Originally published in the Kansas State Collegian

My sophomore year at K-State, I was raped.

I just now am able to look people in the eye again. Not flinch away from being touched.

I never reported it.

I just went back to the dorm and turned on the water as hot as it would go. Trying to burn his touch off of me — out of me.

I didn’t leave my room for nearly two weeks.

When I finally did go to Lafene Health Center, I was such a wreck I could barely talk.

I think the worst thing was he kept calling and crying, asking why I wouldn’t see him anymore.

I shut the ringer off so I wouldn’t hear the phone when he called.

When someone throws you down, when he slaps you so hard your ears ring, when you scream and he puts his hand over your mouth and tells you to be quiet or you could get him in trouble, isn’t that rape?

He didn’t seem to think so. He sent me roses.

He was a fairly large guy. More than six-feet-tall. I had to stand on my toes to kiss him.

I did go to his room, I did kiss him. He had made it obvious he wanted more, but I didn’t yet.

If I had gone to the Women’s Center, they could have told me it was rape. That it happens to other people too. It happens here in Manhattan, at K-State.

If I had told Lafene what had happened, the counseling I received might have helped. I might not have ended up at a mental hospital being treated for depression. They could have tested me for STDs and I wouldn’t have worried about what I might have caught from him. I wouldn’t have worried about possibly being pregnant.

If I had contacted the police, I might have prevented him from doing it to someone else. That’s the thing about rape. You think you’re the only one, and you’re probably not. I doubt if I was the first one he did that to, and I probably wasn’t the last. But I’ll never know, because I didn’t tell anyone.

And it has affected my whole life.

I had at least three more breakdowns after I left K-State for the mental hospital.

They had a preacher or priest, or whatever the hell he was who talked to the patients. I suppose he thought he was helping me when he told me God loved me and with his help I wouldn’t want to die anymore.

So where was he while I was being raped? When blood from my split lip was running onto the sheets?


I dropped out of school, came back, dropped out again, came back, beginning a cycle that would last for years.

I still bear the scars on my ankle where I tore at myself. The first tattoo I got acted as a visible scar.

I wish now I had told someone — at Lafene, at the Women’s Center or even the police — before I went through years of hell at my own hand.

Because I caused more damage to myself than he ever did.