Content Warning: This article describes sexual assault in detail.
According to the Whitman Security Report, there have been zero instances of rape on campus since 2018. That is a blatant lie; I was raped inside of a Jewett room on Dec. 14, 2019. I woke up next to a clothed stranger. His arms were trapping my body. When I lifted the sheet, I shuddered to see my body completely naked, freckled with bruises and hickeys. My vagina hurt—the pain radiated through my entire body. Once I escaped, he snapchatted me, “sorry for crossing any boundaries.” He knew what he did.
I was beyond terrified to report the incident to the College. All I’d heard about reporting sexual assault to Whitman was that it would never go in my favor, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to say something. I reported him to administration and requested to launch a formal Title IX investigation.
When the process started, I was assured that the administration cared about me. The Title IX director told me “It will be a short and timely investigation, it will only take 60-90 days.” It took over 150. They interviewed me multiple times. They interviewed three witnesses, whose testimonies aligned with mine. When they interviewed him, he said point-blank that he penetrated my vagina.
I am aware this is a lot of information to take in at once. But isn’t it clear? I was raped. I reported the rape. He didn’t deny the rape. So, Whitman, I ask you, why doesn’t this constitute a “1” under rapes in the year 2019? Is my pain not enough?
The investigation report states, “Complainant’s allegation that she could not consent to engage in sexual activity with the Respondent, is supported by the preponderance of the evidence,” and later: “Respondent is found in violation of the following provisions of the Sexual Harassment policy.”
He was found responsible for raping me. He took me to his room, locked the door, and forced himself inside me. Is that clear enough for you, Whitman? So I beg you to enlighten me, why doesn’t this constitute a “1”?
Whitman didn’t remove my offender from the College. I was told I would need to respect a no-contact order. I was furious. It isn’t fair that I was expected to avoid him. I reached out to attorneys in Seattle to ask for advice. Both attorneys told me I should prepare for the worst, because in their experience, Whitman does not handle rape cases with any sort of moral compass.
I went to the Walla Walla Courthouse and testified to be granted a restraining order. After hearing the extent of what I have been through, the judge restricted him from being able to step foot on Whitman’s campus or within 500 feet of me. On multiple occasions, three police officers went to his residence (a frat house) and served him. Doesn’t that seem noteworthy? A student living in a fraternity was served a restraining order from entering campus by police officers because he raped me. Doesn’t that seem like something that should constitute a “1”?
I met with Whitman administration to discuss the restraining order and was told it still wasn’t enough to remove him from school. A restraining order, from a judge, that bans him from being on Whitman’s campus, still isn’t enough? Why was Whitman going so far out of their way to make sure this rapist, who they found responsible, could stay on campus. What about me?
I did everything I was supposed to do and Whitman still fails to acknowledge that rape happens on our campus. The zeros on the report were not by accident. The discrepancies were not a mistake. When I reported my rape, I was overwhelmed by the lack of support. Administration canceled my meetings, ignored my parent’s calls, and is now pretending my trauma didn’t happen.
Kathy Murray’s apology email said, “I have been assured that these mistakes were human error and were unintentional.” Why haven’t the numbers been fixed then? This was not unintentional. This is how Whitman treats its students.
I will never forget Dec. 14, 2019 as long as I live. I worked for months to remove my offender from the College. Not being counted in the security report is more than a slap in the face. It is a clear indication that Whitman does not care about its students. I am sure I am not the only person since 2018 to report a rape. Whitman, who else are you silencing?