Two Voices

The following are excerpts from first-person accounts submitted last semester for Sociology 116, "Women and the Law," taught by Assistant Professor of Sociology Lenore J. Weitzman.

I was raped freshman year. The assailant was someone in my dorm. I was not in any way romantically involved with him, but I did know him. He just walked into my room...I was alone and asleep...I am a small woman; there are very few adult men I could hope to overpower physically. All I had was my voice, just a "no," and even that was taken from me.

There was no physical evidence--it happened around 4 a.m. one night, and the first thing I could think to do, stunned as I was, was to shower. For over an hour I showered. It wouldn't have helped not to--I had no bruises, nothing...It was a mess. It was the most painful experience of my life.

The most devastating factor of the crime was that I was not believed--both my story of rape and my "no" at the outset...My assailant still walks this campus. I still can't understand how that can be. I feel as if the "official" ruling is that it didn't happen.

It was very difficult for me to sit through the lecture today, because I am one of the victims...and it rekindled my feelings of utter helplessness...I sat there trying to hold back the tears...I wondered about the other women in the class who were victims of rape and assault...if the statistics apply to us, there were 30 or 40 women in our class reliving the agony and trauma...Was it as difficult for them to listen to the lecture as it was for me?

In my case I was admonished for allowing my door to be unlocked. That fact seemed to make it my fault in the eyes of the administration. No action was taken...I felt betrayed and victimized yet again. The message I got was that what happened to me was not important. But how could it have been so unimportant if the reading of a young woman's testimony in class still brings tears to my eyes.