Sexual Assault: No Rape Here-We Are a University

Article excerpt

My first year at a top British university was, as one would expect, hard work, drunken and good fun. Then, one night, just after my exams, I awoke to find a male student in my room at halls. He had undressed himself and was touching me while masturbating himself. I screamed and ordered him out. I eventually mustered up the courage to run down the stairs to a friend's room, where I stayed for the rest of the night.

I was a virgin and now I had been violated by Matthew. Slowly, the reality setin. I had been in a deep sleep, following a few drinks the previous night. Could he have penetrated me? Raped me? How could I know for sure? I had to drag myself to the college doctor, talk to a cold and embarrassed GP, then grit my teeth while the nurse took three or four swabs to test for rape. It took a week for the tests to come back. He hadn't raped me, thank God.

I still felt violated, empty and vulnerable. Friends and fmaily pressed me to complain to the university. I was acutely aware that he did the same course as I did, and had the same friends. How could I continue my degree with him in the same lectures, library and cafes?

Initially, the hall's wardens wanted to ignore the incident. "Didn't you lead him on?" they asked. "Are you sure you weren't drunk and you've forgotten that you invited him back to your room? …